“I love chocolate, I admit I am addicted,” confesses Paula Barth in her online bio. She doesn’t sugarcoat her habit—in fact, she makes a career out of it. As the owner of Beacon Hill Chocolates, she’s spent the last 15 years curating a unique assortment of artisan truffles and other chocolates, and has traveled all over the world to track down the best handcrafted sweets. Her whimsical truffles won Paula the title of best chocolatier from Boston Magazine in 2012 (the third time she’s received the honor). From a ganache-filled kitty cat, complete with heart-shaped nose and white whiskers, to candied bacon caramels that look as though they’re speckled with stars, the truffle case contains sweets almost too charming to eat. Adorable treats like caramel sushi—a dark-chocolate dipped swirl of caramel and marshmallow––or milk-chocolate covered oreos taste even sweeter when plucked from a keepsake box adorned with an old photo or classic artwork. And Beacon Hill Chocolates can also create wedding favors or business-appropriate keepsakes emblazoned with a company logo or the CEO's baby footprints.
Tours take guests through the Bully Boy Distillers to see how Will and Dave Willis make small batches of white rum, Boston rum, organic vodka, and organic white and wheat whiskey. Visitors might also learn about how the family farm that now houses the distillery was once home to a stash of Prohibition-era spirits, and how the brothers named their enterprise after a much-loved workhorse from that farm—which in turn was named after a term coined by their great-grandfather's college roommate, Teddy Roosevelt.
Opened in 1979, Palma’s Bakery and Cafe maintains a familial culinary tradition of classic italian flavors with a menu of hearty sandwiches piled high atop fresh baked bread and delectable homemade cookies and pastries that glisten in the bakery’s display case. Juicy slices of tomato join fresh mozzarella in a bath of olive oil, basil, and duck-shaped lettuce leaves in the caprese salad ($6.99). Hands can eschew diabolical chinese finger traps in favor of the breaded eggplant sandwich ($4.75) or the calabrese sopresatta sandwich, dressed in a garment of capicola mortadella and sopresatta, with a prosciutto necklace and an olive-oil perfume ($6). Italian cookies, such as raspberry pockets ($6.75/pound) or lemon drops ($6.75/pound) round off Palma’s platoon of bulk baked goods, with turnovers ($1.50 each), cannoli ($2 for a large), and éclairs ($2 for a large) leading the pack of individual palate-pleasing pastries.
At Nadim?s Downtown Mediterranean Grill couples and groups of friends crowd the softly-lit dining room, conversing over traditional Mediterranean appetizers or sharing hookahs on the outdoor patio. The lively scene reflects restaurateur Nadim Kashouh?s passion for celebrating Mediterranean culture and cuisine. Though Nadim spotlights Lebanese standbys such as charbroiled kebabs and heaping bowls of hummus, he also incorporates Western flourishes such as demi-glaze sauces, mashed potatoes, and deep-fried footballs. A selection of Lebanese wines and beers whets palates.
Judy Rosenberg didn’t set out to be an award-winning chef or an NPR-lauded cookbook author. The owner of Rosie’s Bakery found her calling in 1974 after attending art school and gobbling desserts at some of New York’s finest bakeries, becoming inspired to forge her own batch of sweets. When the staff of a local cheesecake shop got hooked on her homemade cookies, she knew she’d found a recipe for success. Since then, she’s expanded her culinary repertoire to include fudge-nut brownies, bavarian-cream fruit tarts, and more than 14 types of muffins and scones.
Each recipe teems with real, old-fashioned ingredients, such as butter, cream, sugar, and edible monocles. Cakes come in circular layers and rectangular sheets, boasting flavors such as carrot and mocha. Filled with snickerdoodles and chocolate-chip rounds, the cookie lineup conjures more childhood memories than a psychiatrist who rides to work in an ice-cream truck.
Horses trot merrily at Silverbrook Farm, towing carts and bushels of fresh, crisp vegetables behind them. Here, agriculturalists eschew tractors and machinery whenever possible, forcing the steeds to whinny their best impressions of diesel engines instead. While refraining from fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides on their crops, the farmers also use all-natural processes when tending to their livestock, resulting in a bounty of free-range eggs and beef from cows fed with grass rather than the typical Funyuns.
Along with fresh food, philanthropy also thrives at the farm. After baking up pillowy loaves onsite, The Pereira Bread Co. sets aside a portion of its proceeds to donate to Citizen Schools of Massachusetts, and Silverbrook hosts regular events such as the Great Pumpkin Festival in October, appearances from Santa in December, and family movie nights under the stars' outdated, black-and-white constellations.