Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Burdick Chocolate: the apex of lux

There really is no day so dour that it can't be salvaged with a high octane chocolate mouse with almonds for ears and a pretty ribbon tail. Come to think of it, you can pretty much pick any given chocolate at Burdick and come away with a significant yet legal buzz.

And although chocolates are the kissing cousins of baked goods, I review Burdick here with impunity: this is no longer just a chocolate shop, it is also a killer bakery and coffee shop. They've evolved into a European cafe of the highest water, serving sumptuous round mugs of espresso with homemade caramel, among other wonders. And it's an awesome place to sit for an hour and soak in the warm, glowy ambience, amongst happy patrons who fairly resonate from chocolate/coffee highs.

What used to be a selection of one or two tarts has grown to a full blown dessert case that could hold its head high in the Tuilleries for artisanship and quality. Macaroons, mousse cakes, praline, and of course, chocolate, all carefully made. This is the essence of Burdick: they really, really care about what they make. It's the kind of joint where the guy foaming the coffee and the gal putting together boxes of chocolate are uber foodies that crave chocolate the way vampires crave...well, you get the picture. I'm not saying it's an unholy alliance; on the contrary, you can practically hear the heavenly choirs singing after you've had a few goodies.

On my visit, I was in a particular mood for something more mellow. The lady at the counter suggested the raspberry tart, warmed up with a dollop of whipped cream. I ordered this with a steamed milk and honey. Really, for $7, you can't have any more fun than this.

A flaky under carriage topped with warm, tart raspberries and a cloud of whipped cream. And filigrees of golden honey crisscrossed on a half inch layer of decadent milk foam, followed by a deeply lux cup of honeyed milk. Truly, comfort can be bought, people. Especially on a cold Boston day in Harvard Square.

It can be a little crowded on the weekends, but if you come by around 4 p.m. on a weekday, you're likely to score a seat. My favorite maneuver is to sit for a piece of cake and then on the way out peruse the chocolate counter. There are few joys as potent as dangling one of those chocolate mice by the tail, imaging a few chocolatey squeaks of protest, and then summarily devouring the choco bomb in one fell swoop. Trust me, you will practically levitate down Brattle Street on your way home. 
52 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

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