On any given night at Gordon's Fine Wines & Liquors, guests might hear staff instructors share their favorite French wines or introduce a Speyside scotch. They might also see guest sommeliers, local brewers, or winemakers discuss the production regions and flavors of their most cherished varietals. For more than 75 years, Gordon’s has been a beacon for such talented flavor enthusiasts, recruiting a team of specialized instructors that has earned the alcohol emporium the title of Massachusetts Beverage Business 2012 Retailer of the Year. These professionals have never tired of spinning out lessons—touching on wine education, beer and spirits, cooking, and wine-and-food pairings, which immerses visitors in how to successfully marry cheeses and wines without their parents getting all bent out of shape.
Yet apart from the knowledge spread therein and the discussions bubbling with poignant enthusiasm behind the shelves, Gordon’s also serves as a supplier. Its shelves abound with hundreds of wines—including kosher wines—from every continent except Antarctica, more than 500 types of craft beer, and 300 single-malt scotches.
Master hummusmith Ahmad Yasin doles out zesty lesson plans along with his family-recipe lamb-stuffed grape leaves. With a culinary philosophy that emphasizes the organic relationship of cook and cuisine, Ahmad guides burgeoning food-foodee relationships from their spicy mohammarah honeymoon to the golden anniversary of moist lemony-walnut cake. Catch a glimpse at a culinary world you might master with Ahmad's catering menu, which includes such edible edifications as baked kibbeh, which packs lean ground lamb, pine nuts, garden-fresh herbs and spices, and homemade yogurt in an envelope of golden cracked wheat or a regally red Royal hummus dip (shammandar) whipped from beets, sesame tahini, chickpeas, garlic, and lemon juice and stirred with a jewel-encrusted scepter.
Combining two romantic gestures doesn't always work—it's hard to write a love letter in chocolate or hug someone while you're kissing their hand. However, Jennifer Dumais consolidates romantic gestures with great success when she bakes up cupcake bouquets that look like flowers in a vase with blooms of icing. She also sculpts and frosts customized cakes for any event, as evidenced by her gallery of edible art. Idiosyncratic cakes that resemble a tool belt or a gathering of jungle animals complement tiered wedding cakes, which can sport spiraling accents and actual flowers.
Jennifer and her staff prep a whole range of homemade confections, from fruit and cream pies to cinnamon chip cookies. Their impressive list of cake flavors covers classic tastes, such as chocolate and old-fashioned lemon, in addition to slices of pumpkin, white chocolate spice, and seasonal passion fruit. All these are available as cupcake flavors as well. Guests can even learn how to bake and decorate their own cupcakes during two-hour parties with optional add-ons such as photographers and goodie bags.
When Valerie Beck was in kindergarten, there was only one way to get her to drink her milk: mixing in chocolate. As she grew up, her passion for the sweet treat only deepened. During a five-year stint living in Europe, she sleuthed out the most delectable chocolate shops and bakeries, eventually bringing friends along with her on trips to chocolate hot spots. After returning to the United States, she broadened her scope to create Boston Chocolate Walking Tours, focusing on the city’s increasing number of premium chocolatiers.
Valerie’s team of tour guides reveals Boston's best chocolate spots to guests on 2.5-hour tours around the Newbury Street neighborhood. They embark from Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland, walking or canoeing across the city's historic chocolate canals. The tour changes daily, hitting five–six spots, such as DeLuca's Market and Emack & Bolio's, though the Lindt shop is always on the list.