Fresh out of college, Vince Petryk took a job as a dishwasher at an ice cream shop. It was just a temporary gig…or, so he thought. As Petryk climbed through the shop’s ranks—he rose from dishwasher, to scooper, to ice-cream maker, to manager—he was awe-struck by the way ice cream seemed to make people feel happy. From that point on, he knew that he wanted to continue to share that joy with others and that the best way to do it, was to own his own ice cream shop. He perfected his from-scratch ice cream recipe before opening J.P. Licks, named for Jamaica Plain, the neighborhood where he opened his first location. The flavors were immediately a hit and continue to win loyal fans for their intensity and ingenuity––at any given time, guests might find cake batter and chocolate peanut butter ripple on the menu, alongside unusual flavors like tomato basil or beer and pretzels. Since those early days, Vince has also added from-scratch hard and soft frozen yogurts, sherberts, and sorbets. He has even been known to develop flavors to suit the tastes of the area's different ethnic groups, and dairy-free ice creams to provide relief to the area's overworked cows. Beyond serving traditional cones, Petryk and his staff also pack chilly scoops into house-made cakes and pies, blend them into shakes, and transform them into decadent sundaes topped with homemade hot fudge or butterscotch. The icy treats have proved so popular, J.P. Licks now has 10 area stores, leaving them ample wall space for awards: readers of The Phoenix voted it the city’s best ice cream parlor in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.
You can grab a slice of quiche and a glass of wine at Susu Bakery Boutique, but the real specialty here is dessert. Coffee complements flaky croissants, frosting-heaped cupcakes, and decorated butter cookies cut into fun shapes. Lemon tea cakes pair well with the bakery's tea list, and brownies make for delicious follow ups to sandwiches. Bakers will even aim their talents toward custom cakes for parties, And customers wanting to learn how to decorate desserts themselves need only enroll in one of the bakery's cupcake classes.
Over at the boutique, colorful candy buttons and penny candy share shelf space with rock candy. Sea salt glitters atop caramels, and truffles blend chocolate and raspberry flavors. You can even pick up a bag of granola.
Baker Adie Sprague, who made a splash as a participant on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, showcases her meticulous dessert designs at Treat Cupcake Bar. She crafts at least a dozen flavors every day, including seasonal goodies such as candy apple—an apple cake smothered with cinnamon frosting. Adie also whips up separate batches for gluten-free and vegan patrons, such as chocolate cake crowned with mint cookies ‘n' cream frosting.
Rather than hog all the decorating fun for itself, Treat invites guests to make their very own creations at its namesake bar. There, you’ll find four varieties of both cake and frosting, plus more than 20 other toppings, such as Pop Rocks and chocolate-covered pretzels. To refine your decorating skills, sign up for one of Treat’s holiday-themed classes and learn to make seasonal shapes such as turkeys for Thanksgiving and smashed calculators for National Do Long Division by Hand Day.
Joel's at Needham Square proves that “penny candy” isn’t a myth, unlike $0.25 haircuts and dollar automobiles. The quarter-century-old cornucopia of gourmet sweets brims with buckets of bulk gummies, jellybeans, and hard candies that complement a selection of seasonal sweets and fine Vermont chocolates. Joel's latest owners took over the store in 2006 with the goal of upgrading and expanding its selection, resulting in the store’s gourmet candy baskets, as well as a collection of plush dolls, stationery, and kitchenware. Satiated sweet teeth can step aside for Joel's more savory selection of gourmet grilling sauces, fragrant teas, and hand-bottled jams.
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.
Today's deal gets you the gift that can say everything from "Happy Birthday" to "I'm sorry I hugged your uncle, Mr. Tapdance." For $10, you send $20 worth of fine chocolates at Chocolate.com anywhere in the U.S., Canada, or 16 other countries. Along with its wide variety of chocolate, you can apply that $20 toward shipping and the site's Gifts on Sale section. There's a limit of one Groupon per checkout, but there's no limit to how many you can buy.
Chocolate.com is a network of chocolate shops across the USA and Canada, with one in nearly every major city. Start by browsing Chocolate.com's easy-to-navigate website. You can shop according to occasion, price, type of chocolate, and even ingredients if the next person on your list has dietary concerns. If you're seeking something that falls within your Groupon, check out the best-selling Gifts Under $25, such as dark-chocolate brownies ($15.50), premium truffle assortments ($17), and Ghirardelli Galore ($20). Once you've made your selection, Chocolate.com will send the order to the closest local shop—ensuring that your giftee gets fresh, handmade chocolate, and not some inedible brownish brick that's been sitting in a warehouse since the Carter administration decided to only travel on horseback. You can track your order online through every stage of delivery, including pre-natal, pupation, and Dr. Wily's stage in Megaman 2.
Business Week and Boston.com feature Chocolate.com:
- You can get just about any chocolate candies sold nationwide at the chocolate.com website. – Boston.com
- ... an online emporium, complete with boutique sweets, recipes, and articles that run the gamut from the health benefits of dark chocolate to the history of chocolate Santas. – Aaron Pressman, Business Week