o you think good hot chocolate is made from powder. Think again. Maybe Hershey’s syrup? That’s still not what I’m talking about—I’m talking about an abundant, intense drink that is both sweet and strong. And what could this hot chocolate possibly be made from, you might ask? Try single-sourced shaved chocolate originating from the best cocoa beans in the world, from South America to Madagascar. That’s the basis for the drinking chocolate at L.A. Burdick, making for an incredibly rich, smooth flavor that is more of a luxurious treat than an average hot beverage simply designed to warm you up.
L.A. Burdick works with ecologically sustainable cocoa plantations around the world to ensure its drinking chocolate, bars, pastries, bon bons, and signature mice are of utmost quality. The process of creating the chocolate is mostly kept under wraps, but the most impressive aspect of the entire procedure is the artistry behind each and every piece.
Every chocolate is completely handmade without the use of molds. Unlike other high-end chocolate shops, everything at L.A. Burdick is manufactured at its New Hampshire facility and crafted by hand, meaning it’s an incredibly intricate process.
“The eyes [of the chocolate mice] are made with a little squeeze of chocolate, the ears are made from almond slices,” Robert Wilson, COO of L.A. Burdick and BC ’83, said. “It’s really interesting to watch them make it, and it ships, for the most part, that same day. It’s almost a make-to-order business.”
aster Chocolatier Michael Klug comes from a strong background of working with Three Star Michelin restaurants and hotels, and has worked with L.A. Burdick for almost 20 years. He is the artist behind some of the distinctly charming chocolates adorning the shop’s shelves, such as the mice, elephants, and Halloween ghosts and bats.
Larry Burdick established the business in New York City in 1987 and later moved the business up to Walpole, N.H. where all the chocolate is still being made today. Currently, there are five L.A. Burdick stores—in Walpole, Cambridge, Boston (Copley), Chicago, and New York—and Burdick is getting ready to open the doors to a new Georgetown location in the coming weeks.
“We’re always looking for a location that’s a bit historical and says something about the city it’s in,” Wilson said. “It needs to fit our profile and our look.”
he Copley location is quintessentially charming, located in a former men’s clothing store that was built around 1883. It’s a small house right in the middle of a bustling area, radiating a soft, warm glow from its windows onto the crowded Boston street. Stepping into the shop is like walking into a bakery in Paris—one might feel so inclined to order a pain au chocolat alongside their drinking chocolate. Wilson describes it as a cross between a “European cafe feel and New England charm,” with a large chandelier in the entryway, pastel-colored wallpaper adorned with vintage paintings, and French music playing softly in the background.
“You can sit with your friends and have a cup of coffee,” Wilson said. “It’s very comfortable, you don’t feel rushed.”
L.A. Burdick offers several distinct variations of their classic drinking chocolate besides just the dark, milk, and white blends. Also available on the menu are beverages with single-source chocolate from Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Grenada, Madagascar, Peru, and Venezuela.
With such a solid base for all the products L.A. Burdick offers, the menu is always evolving. One of its most recent successes is the recent addition of walnut chocolate chip cookies, which are decadently rich and perfectly chewy. The shop also began selling raspberry chocolate croissants earlier this year, but is always looking for ways to update its offerings.
.A. Burdick’s gourmet chocolates have not gone unnoticed—big names such as Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg have wandered into the shops. Politicians have been known to frequent the Walpole location during the New Hampshire primary as well—and surely Georgetown will be no stranger to that same population.
L.A. Burdick is always trying to appeal to college students in the area, and with late hours at both the Boston and Camrbidge locations, they see a steady flow of people late into the evening. It’s the perfect spot for dessert or a hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night (and they even make iced drinking chocolate for the warmer months).
If the shop’s decadent chocolate selection isn’t enough to draw you in, stop by for the ambiance. L.A. Burdick’s unwaveringly Parisian aura set in historic New England locations is a treat in and of itself.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Wilson graduated in ’83. It originally stated he graduated in ’87.
Featured Images Courtesy of L.A. Burdick and Emily Himes / Heights Editor