It was 1978. A college dropout and a failed medical-school applicant had just brought together their combined life savings to rent an old gas station. Their plan was to resurrect the empty station and open their own restaurant. Their specialty: ice cream. So begins the story of legendary entrepreneurs Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who are better known across the globe as Ben & Jerry. Their small, old-fashioned ice-cream parlor eventually became a Burlington, Vermont favorite, and before long, shops popped up all over the U.S. and in 25 other countries. Their brand easily attracted customers––homemade ice cream churned from wholesome, natural ingredients and blended into creative flavors. Some of their popular scoops include Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, and Coffee Caramel Buzz.
Since infusing their first rich and creamy batches of ice cream with natural chunks of fruit, nuts, candies, and cookies, Ben and Jerry have also operated with a commitment to improve the quality of life locally, nationally, and internationally. They practice sustainable food production and business practices that respect the earth and environment. Ben & Jerry’s cartons are made from FSC-certified paper, which comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife, and waste from Ben & Jerry’s plants generates energy to power farms. The company works tirelessly to reduce its carbon emissions; it strongly encourages customers to eat their ice cream in the darkest dark.
“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.
The Dancing Deer Baking Co. story begins nearly two decades ago, when three Bostonians opened up a small bakery on a busy corner. The trio christened their company after an antique shop run by one of their grandmothers supplied them with a recipe for a dark-gingerbread cake. One afternoon, a food writer from Hollywood stumbled into the shop, hoping to find directions. After tasting one of their cakes, the captivated writer brought the bakery to the attention of the media, and soon their cookies, brownies, and cakes were being lauded by magazines, newspapers, and television programs throughout the country.
Today, Dancing Deer’s boldly colorful packages ship to households across the US and line the shelves of numerous gourmet and specialty retailers. Back at the bakery, chefs continue to whip all-natural, kosher ingredients into decadent cookies, brownies, and cakes. Committed to giving back to their local communities, Dancing Deer owns and operates The Sweet Home Project, which funds direct-action programs to help underprivileged families and the occasional one-legged gingerbread man.
Gregg and Barth, the owners of Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, stand in the large, industrial roasting area, pouring green coffee beans into mammoth roasters. They sniff the beans, which they’ve recently sourced from socially responsible, family-owned farms situated all over the world. Prior to this moment, they and their staff have thoroughly analyzed the beans, making sure that each batch enhances the bean’s body rather than overshadowing its natural flavor. The coffees are then packed up and shipped out, or sent to the company’s own Boston--based coffee shop, which has won shout-outs from a variety of media sources such as Martha Stewart Living and Forbes Magazine.
The rich aromas of coffee flood their coffee shop, a minimal, concrete-floored space. Baristas bustle, artfully crafting perfect cups of single-origin coffee or lattes crowned with foam leaves. The shop also hosts a variety of events, including traditional coffee ceremonies from Ethiopia and tastings of traditionally prepared Turkish coffee.
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.
Even though Lulu’s Sweet Shoppe's owner, Sandy Russo, perfected her baking skills at culinary school, her confectionary education began many years before that. As a child, Sandy's mother taught her the basics of mixing, measuring, and baking treats that had all their neighbors clamoring for more. Later in life, Sandy decided to help others enjoy the same level of giddy indulgence by opening her own sweet shop, where she transforms 24 different flavors of batter into desserts ranging from dainty mini cupcakes to half-sheet cakes that serve 48.
She crafts each treat from scratch, using premium ingredients to create flavors such as s'mores, German chocolate, red velvet cheesecake, Nutella, and lemon curd. To complement her menu of cupcakes, she also stocks the shop with retro candies that jog memories of childhood more effectively than a tattered teddy bear trained in hypnotism.