A while back I got a Groupon for a Boston Chocolate Walking Tour. I finally used it on Friday, July 20th. I had to make a reservation in a few weeks in advance, and then every day leading up to it, I’d watch in glee as the weather forecast for that day looked better and better. It really was a glorious day for walking around the city eating chocolate.
The tour started at Teuscher, on Newbury Street. It’s an awkward place for a crowd to stand and wait, and the tour guide showed up about 20 minutes late. She was having public transportation problems. Some people received an apologetic phone call to explain the situation, but a lot of people didn’t. Apparently I received one, but I had provided my home number, not my cell, so a lot of good it did.
The tour guide, Alissa, was a young, bubbly college student. She was very enthusiastic about her job and about chocolate in general, but a lot of the information she passed along didn’t seem accurate (she said that White chocolate is chocolate, and that chocolate doesn’t contain caffeine) so I had to question the validity of anything she said. She was entertaining and personable, and the information – true or not – led me to investigate more about chocolate on my own, so I guess that’s a positive.
Teuscher, a Swiss chocolatier, was a very fancy, slightly snooty store. They had a lot of really cute products like chocolate Junebugs and authentic Swiss decorations, but unfriendly signs everywhere warned not to touch anything. In Teuscher, we got to sample one truffle. According to the website, we were supposed to get the signature champagne truffle, but demand is down so they aren’t making enough of them to give a bunch away. Instead we had a praline butter crunch truffle. I’m sure I liked that more than I would have liked the champagne. I have cheap taste. Actually, you can’t have cheap taste in Teuscher. They’re chocolates are about $80 per pound!
Next we went to Deluca’s Market. It’s the strangest place for a chocolate tour since essentially it’s just a big convenience store. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve lived in Boston all my life and had never been there before, and they did have a large selection of unusual brands of chocolate bars, so I guess it was an ok stop. We got to sample a square of Wild Ophelia Sweet Cherry Pecan chocolate. I don’t like cherries, but I tried it, and it wasn’t so bad.
Our next stop was completely unnecessary. We went to Pinkberry, also on Newbury Street. I’m convinced that the only reason Pinkberry is a stop on the tour is because they have free restrooms. We sampled a teeny-tiny cup of chocolate frozen yogurt, but anybody who comes in off the street can sample a teeny-tiny cup of frozen yogurt at Pinkberry. You can even try more than one flavor if you want. For free.
Stop number four was a little better. We went to Lindt. It wasn’t super exciting because it’s a place everyone’s been before. (Alissa asked if we had and everyone said yes.) But we did get to sample about five different kinds of chocolate. The store clerk wasn’t expecting us, even though the tours come by at the same time every Friday, so Alissa had to leave us to browse the store for a bit while she chopped up the chocolate samples herself. We tried two different kinds of strawberry chocolate, a white chocolate and a dark. I normally wouldn’t pick a fruity-flavored chocolate for myself, but I agreed with nearly everyone in the group that the dark chocolate strawberry was really, really good.
We had to walk a few blocks to get to the final stop on the tour. It was Gourmet Boutique inside the Copley Mall. I’ve been through the mall dozens of times before and never really noticed this place. If only I had known what I was missing. This was the jackpot. We still didn’t get to try a huge amount of chocolate. We tested two unusual flavors – a tea-infused chocolate and a honeycomb chocolate. But this place had all kinds of unusual products that you can’t get anywhere else. They are the only place in the US that sells chocolate and cookies from Maxim’s in Paris. They sell Vosges and Moderne, and the thing that made me literally ‘OMG’ out loud: they sell Kinder Buenos! That was worth the price of the tour, for me.
That being said, the tour wasn’t really worth the price of the tour. With the Groupon, it wasn’t so bad, but it’s $40 at regular price. We certainly didn’t eat $40 worth of chocolate samples or even come away with $40 worth of knowledge. Next time, I’d just go to a chocolate shop, buy $40 worth of chocolate, and walk around the city eating it!