by Julie Burba
Ten days into the new year, my favorite gourmet food store began stocking shelves with ribboned boxes of candy intended for Valentine’s Day sales. I wasn’t so surprised that the season had moved on to the next big sales opportunity, since retail stocks for Christmas the day after Labor Day, I was more surprised at the “sameness” of the candy. Beautifully handmade, papered, ribboned, and decorated boxes contained what seemed to be exact replicas of molded and filled confections from chocolatier to chocolatier. Each little bon bon was indistinguishable from Swiss maker to Belgian maker to Vermont maker. My self-imposed mission became finding new and tongue-temptingly delicious chocolates.
After a visit to four other gourmet locations, a drugstore, a coffee shop, and a grocery store, I found two products worth noting. Mind you this is not an exhaustive search into the best chocolate shops in the area, but a commentary on the confections made to sell in retail outlets.
The “pretty darned good chocolate bar” goes to the milk and dark chocolate bars manufactured by Bloomsberry & Co., a designer chocolate business out of New Zealand. I first “discovered” these bars at Pemberton’’s Market in Cambridge a week before Halloween.