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I don’t know about you, but I think about chocolate almost every day. I probably eat it every day, too — maybe I’ll have a glass of low-fat chocolate milk after a run, a little square of chocolate for dessert after dinner, a scoop of chocolate-flavored peanut butter with a piece of fruit for a snack, or a small handful of white chocolate chips straight out of the freezer.
And now that Valentine’s Day is coming up, there’s no doubt there are more people who have chocolate on their minds.
I’m very lucky to live so close to places that sell really good, high-quality chocolates, and I wanted to share my top three chocolate picks with you. These are all local stores in the Boston area, but you can order online and they do ship nationally if you happen to be in a different state.
L.A. Burdick Chocolate
My favorite chocolate store in the entire world is L.A. Burdick Chocolates in Harvard Square. They also have a chocolate shop in Copley Square, but I’ve been going to the Cambridge location for years.
It’s a chocoholic’s dream: the smoothest, creamiest handmade chocolates, plus pastries, cakes, cookies, gift items, and other goodies, in a cozy little restaurant filled with whimsy and warmth. As soon as I step in, I’m immediately enveloped in the magic of chocolate — it seems like every nook and cranny at L.A. Burdick is filled with something delicious.
My favorite thing to order there (and I bet it will be yours too, if you try it) is the hot chocolate. This is, quite literally, liquid chocolate in a cup: it’s shaved chocolate (dark, milk, or white) and cocoa powder whisked into steamed milk and topped with foam. It’s the creamiest, thickest, silkiest cup of hot chocolate. Flawlessly smooth and very intense, it is a luxurious treat for cold, winter days.
I also love EHChocolatier in Somerville, MA. EH Chocolatier is a small independently-owned artisan chocolate and confection company in Somerville, MA. They have a wonderful selection of fresh, locally-made, handcrafted artisan chocolates and bonbons, all of which are available online.
EHChocolatier also started Boston’s first CSC — Community Supported Chocolate. That’s right, just like a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), but instead of produce, you get chocolate. You can bet I signed up for my monthly shares.
Last but not least, I am also slightly obsessed with Taza Chocolate (also in Somerville, MA and in some retail stores and regional farmer’s markets). Taza is stone ground chocolate, made from bean to bar. The Mexican-style chocolates are more rustic with a slightly grainy quality, and bursting with bright, bold flavors.
Taza offers a variety of products, including chocolate bars, cocoa nibs, chocolate covered treats, baking products and even chocolate wares. I recommend buying a molinillo, or a chocolate whisk, if you want to make some frothy Mexican chocolate drinks.
I like buying their chocolate discs to whisk into hot chocolate, which reminds me of Filipino tsokolate, the traditional hot chocolate drink from the Philippines.
During these cold winter months, I like making myself a nice warm cup of hot chocolate at night, as my day is winding down and I’m just relaxing at home. I can’t think of a sweeter ending to a day.
Do you have any favorite chocolate stores in Massachusetts? Any big chocolate-filled plans for Valentine’s Day?
Bianca Garcia is the author of the food blog Confessions of a Chocoholic. Part memoir, part recipe collection, and part restaurant review database, her blog is a chronicle of her culinary adventures — and the laughs, tears, and chocolate that come with it. Bianca works full-time as an advertising professional and is a part-time grad student pursuing her masters in Journalism. She thinks about dessert constantly. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.