Saturday, February 7, 2009

ChocoLee in Boston's South End

I was browsing through the other day and saw their story on Boston's best new restaurants. The very first picture in the slideshow was of ChocoLee chocolates. And in the description it read, "Be sure to sample the main draw, offered only on the weekends: beignets oozing with a ganache of dark chocolate and mascarpone. "

Well, they didn't have to tell me twice! I was all over that, immediately emailing several friends trying to find one who would go with me on Saturday.

I had figured that since ChocoLee was listed as a best "restaurant" and they had beignets, that there would be seating with a small selection of drinks and pastries. But while there was no seating and no menu, it was absolutely worth the trip into Boston's South End.

ChocoLee is located at 83 Pembroke Street, which is right around the corner from Tremont Street. If you drive in, you'll need to park on Tremont Street and have plenty of quarters to feed the meter. If you take the T, the Back Bay orange line station was within walking distance.

I did love the large metal bowls of "chocolate" and monster-sized whisks in the windows.

One can't help but notice the magazines full of praise for Chocolee that are displayed near the above window. There was also one of those Boston's Best signs from the well-known annual poll of Boston residents.

There were two women working behind the counter. They were very friendly and approachable. I mentioned that I had a food blog and asked if I could take pictures, and they didn't hesitate to let me.

They did not know of the Best of the new restaurants story. I mentioned that I had driven in from Worcester County and they asked if I came into town just for their chocolates. I should have just fessed up and said yes, I did. But I made myself look like less of a chocolate freak and I mentioned that I decided to make a day of it and meet friends there for those chocolate beignets and lunch somewhere. Just then, my friends Karen and Jon walked in the door.

They make the beignets to order right there. They were nice and hot when they handed my order to me in a bag and warned me that the liquid ganache inside was very hot and to be careful. My mouth was watering. Not only did I get the beignets, but also a number of their delectable looking chocolates. I like being able to choose which kinds I want instead of being forced to buy a pre-packaged box of the flavors someone chooses to give me.

The chocolates were in a glass display and were fresh. In fact, there were more freshly made chocolates on the counter top behind the display. They make the chocolates right there, daily!

I loved the chocolate pod displayed on the top of the counter next to the chocolate dipped strawberries (the pod was a replica).

For the chocolates I got lavender, toasted sesame, lemon curd, lime curd, ginger, vanilla ganache, cardamom, chile, lemon pistachio, salt caramel, and I think the last one was cherry cordial. I should have written down the exact names, but I wasn't thinking. So those are my approximations of the names of the flavors.

I've had three of my chocolates so far, and each one has been wonderful. I like that they had flavors that weren't chocolate inside and out. The lemon curd was exactly that - lemon curd inside a delicious dark chocolate shell. The lavender was in a white, creamy filling. I loved it as well. The third one I had was what I think was cherry cordial. All of the chocolates were incredibly satisfying and as fresh as could be.

But lets get on to the beignets! As soon as we walked outside the door, we all dug into them. It was hard to take this picture without gorging on this little dough ball filled with chocolaty goodness.

And here's the glorious inside:

OMG! It was pure heaven!!!!! But they must be eaten carefully! If you don't bite into it correctly, the chocolate ganache squirts out. So my advice is to tear off a bit of the dough to expose the chocolate without putting pressure on it! At that point, Jon sucked the chocolate out of the beignet, while Karen and I just put the entire thing in our mouths. It was totally chocogasmic!

I won't hesitate to go into Boston again - just to visit ChocoLee, and for no other reason but pure chocolate indulgence.


kokomama said...

This place (and the beignet) looks incredible! I wish I still lived in MA so I could try it myself. I love your blog - I think I found it on the foodie blogroll. BTW, I grew up in Holden, which is just north of Worcester.

puppymomma said...

Thank you so much kokomama! I live near Holden. I used to teach there at the middle school!

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Hello Meryl. Oooh! Chocolate. You caught my attention. I will have to keep ChocoLee in mind when I go back to visit my brother. He lives in Mystic, CT and we like to drive to Boston. Those beignets look wonderful. Wish I had one now! :)

Foodycat said...

Oh my gosh they look good! What a fabulous treat.

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

What a great recipe. Unfortunately I didn't get last month's issue of Bon Appetit, but I am so glad you made the dish. Looks and sounds quite delicious. Thanks sweetie. I hope all is going well up North.:)

Anonymous said...

That all sounds delicious!! The best chocolate place I have ever been to was in the small town of Hastings, Minnesota in the cute little downtown area. It was called Creative Confectionaire. The truffles there were to die for! I have never been able to find anything as smooth and rich as the chocolate I found there. We also got to see the store owner dipping truffles in the factory in the back of the store! They had a wide variety of fudge, which was my husband's favorite. I don't know when I'll be back in the area but I know for sure that I'll be stopping back there!!