The chilly weather sweeping the nation isn’t the only thing causing people to cuddle up for warmth. Love is all around in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, giving hotels, restaurants and spas a reason to sweeten up their offerings. But if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, Boston is your spot. Stop by a few of these fantastic places to satisfy your sugar fix.
The U.K.-based chocolate boutique opened its U.S. flagship store in Boston on trendy Newbury Street in late 2013. Aside from its overwhelmingly sweet scent that wafts through Back Bay, Hotel Chocolat has a cult following, thanks to its Chocolat Cocoa Bar. The 30-seat shop serves everything from chocolate beverages (try the salted caramel drinking chocolate) to raw cacao beans and of course, chocolate desserts. For a little perk on a cold Boston day, order from the café’s Energizing + Stimulating menu, featuring a selection of roasted cacao and espresso drinks.
It’s hard to walk past this Beacon Hill shop and not stop in. The truffle display in the Charles Street window lures you into the chocolate-filled store. Choose from truffles, caramels and candies, and do your best to resist the urge to dig in right away. The secret sauce to this chocolate hideaway is in the packaging. Whether you buy a single piece or a beautiful box, Beacon Hill Chocolates takes great care in wrapping your chocolates, making the presentation just as impressive as the treats.
If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, stop by Brenner’s on Boylston Street. Sure, it’s a chain, but it still has what we’re looking for: lots of chocolate — vats of it — that will sate any craving. One piece of advice: Come with your appetite. The portions are plentiful and the food is nothing short of decadent. Try the milk chocolate-filled bagels, chile- and cocoa-dusted French fries, or beer-battered onion rings with chocolate-ranch dressing. Wash it all down with a cup of dark, milk, caramel or white hot chocolate.
Saturdays are made a little sweeter at the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Langham Boston, thanks to its Chocolate Bar and chocolate-themed brunch at Café Fleuri. It’s a chocolate wonderland wrapped in chocolate goodness. The all-you-can-eat buffet features an array of desserts, from chocolate-filled croissants to chocolate bread pudding and tables of cotton candy and whoopie pies. Brunch takes place on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is $42 for adults, $29 for kids and free for children under the age of four.
If you’d rather learn how to make your own confections, get a crash course at the Boston Chocolate School. The Saturday workshops will teach you everything from chocolate history to the meaning of truffles, and you’ll taste-test along the way. Roll your own truffles, dip your own desserts and package your own carefully crafted chocolates. You’ll even learn the art of chocolate tasting and how to store fine chocolate for future savoring. Register for the workshop ahead of time, then head over to Elephant & Castle Restaurant in Boston’s Financial District for the two-and-a-half-hour class. If you get thirsty, you can always order a chocolate martini from the bar, too.
Photo Courtesy of The Langham Boston