At Hearth Wood Fired Bread, 20-year bakery veteran Peter Nyberg employs 18th-century French techniques to craft six varieties of artisan bread from scratch, a practice that earned the store Best of the New 2010 recognition from Boston Globe Magazine. Each loaf embarks upon its picaresque journey to the breadbasket with all-natural ingredients, including the bakery's own levain starter and organic whole grains such as emmer, spelt, and Kamut-brand khorasan wheat. Without adding any chemical preservatives or helium, nimble hands knead each loaf of french country or raisin-pumpernickel rye before tossing it into the custom-built 60-ton Gueulard wood-fired brick oven. Slice up hearty hunks of baker's harvest to build a sound sandwich foundation, or place a loaf of fresh rustic rosemary in your windowsill and let the aromatic scent lure in passing Garfunkels. Since Hearth Wood Fired Bread provides breads to many top restaurants and hotels in Boston, taking home a loaf helps devourers create a fancy home-dining experience or finally bring the dream of napping on a bread pillow to reality.
At first, Cake by Paula was a solution to a personal problem. Paula Surrette wanted to personalize her son's birthday parties with custom cakes but couldn’t find a shop willing to bake truly custom designs. So she took a slew of classes, first to make cakes for her own family, then for her friends, and now for clients across Massachusetts, including Boston Red Sox great David Ortiz. During one-on-one consultations, Paula encourages clients to bring pictures, printouts, and flowers to customize their dream cake, whether it be a chocolate cake in the shape of a guitar or a lemon cake in the shape of a chocolate cake.
The scenery behind the counter at Just Desserts Bakery & Cafe can be a bit overwhelming. That's because its bakers fill the glass display cases with a full array of freshly baked sweets, from fondant-topped cupcakes to crispy cannoli. They churn out options for all hours of the day. Eclairs cater to the early crowd's need for a morning sugar rush, and cups of coffee serve the needs of those trying to stay up all night to be the first in line for those eclairs.
The centerpiece of the bakery, however, has always been its cakes and cupcakes. For special occasions, bakers shape batter and swirl frosting to create themed treats. The flavors are just as unique as the designs, with options such as Junior Mint, banana creme, and lemon. Upon request, they can even craft allergy-friendly cakes that shun the use of sugar, gluten, dairy, or animal products.
Uniting wholesome ingredients and rustic recipes, The Blue Blinds Bakery's chefs forge heirloom loaves fresh from the hearth. Artisan breads, including sourdough, whole wheat, and spelt, boast crusty shells, springy texture, and free-range, vegetarian-fed grains ($3.50–$5). Sugar coat tempestuous tongues with golden rivulets of real Vermont maple syrup, which spills past fresh-fruit floodplains, inundating pancakes, french toast, and waffles ($5.50 each). Among baguette-bracketed sandwiches, the fresh mozzarella caprese punctuates mid-day munchies with mozzarella, fresh basil, arugula, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and extra-virgin olive oil ($6.50), and the all-natural roast beef tucks arugula, tomatoes, horseradish sauce, and extra-virgin olive oil in pecorino cheese parentheses ($7). Built in 1839, the historic building allows patrons to reminisce about the presidency of Martin Van Buren while chortling over a cup of locally brewed coffee.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt's network of self-serve dessert shops treat taste buds without expanding waistlines. Like Willy Wonka's prized collection of gum drops, each cup of creamy frozen yogurt is priced by weight, and comes in an endless assortment of possible flavor and topping combinations. Guests can spoil their dinner without spoiling their diet thanks to Orange Leaf's sensible selection of low-fat treats, some of which clock in at as few as 25 calories per ounce. After diners top their fruit, candy, or chocolate flavored desserts with crumbled graham crackers, peach slices, berries, or granola and they can dig in amid the shops’ bright green-and-orange-color scheme.
In more than 1,112 stores worldwide, Edible Arrangements' Fruit Experts arrange pieces of premium fruit in stunning displays for all occasions. Customers can customize their order to suit any occasion, receiving chocolate-dipped fruit such as pineapples, granny-smith apples, and juicy strawberries that, unlike the sodas found in most mummies' crypts, don't contain any preservatives. Fruit Experts can dip fruit in gourmet semisweet or white chocolate. For birthdays and anniversaries, chocolate wielders can personalize bouquets with gifts such as plush teddy bears and mylar balloons.
The candy kitchen's massive copper kettle predating World War II is certainly an eye catcher, but the nostalgic sights and smells of candy filling rows of white shelves is what overwhelms most people when they step inside Kilwin’s. For more than two generations, the original recipes of founders Don and Katy Kilwin have been used to handcraft more than 75 confections such as chocolates, caramels, and specialty fudge. Aside from some newer equipment, head candy cook Bill Hoffman and his team still abide by Don’s candy-making methods and use original equipment when possible. Inside the old-fashioned candy shop, a burnished copper-kettle-fire mixer fashions each piece of peanut brittle, a cold room solidifies almond-toffee crunch, and a manatee that swallowed a freezer still makes every sea-foam candy. In addition to candy, Kilwin’s has created more than 32 flavors of original-recipe ice cream since 1985 with farm-fresh rBHT-free milk and cream from Michigan farms.