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I’ve been living in Massachusetts for a few years now, and have done a lot of the touristy things. I’ve gone to Samuel Adams Brewery, I’ve been to the top of the Prudential Center, I’ve hung out in the Common and ice skated at Frog Pond.. but I keep my ear low to the ground for things that the average vacationer might miss and the locals keep quiet about .
So while I was watching the Travel Channel, they had a “best places to eat” episode on, and one of the places they rated fairly high in terms of places to go for a sweet tooth was Cafe Fleuri’s Chocolate Bar. I saw this a few years ago, and I’ve been dying to see if all the hype really matched what I had seen on TV. Interestingly enough, while there are plenty of Yelp reviews about the place (which are mixed and made me at times wonder if the Yelpers where raised in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory due to their snobbery), no one had actually taken the time to really write an article about it or go into detail about the experience which made me wonder even more what this place was like. Stories about a dessert buffet with all you can eat chocolate delights seemed kind of on the crazy side. So I put it in the back of my mind till this last weekend….
I may have stated before, October is my birthday month and so my husband decided that for my birthday he was going to take me to this mystical Mecca of culinary delights. First, let me share with you why this is so incredibly special, besides the ability to stuff your face with exquisitely created pieces of dessert. Cafe Fleuri is part of the Langham hotel which is located in downtown Boston’s financial district. Like some sort of crazy magical carnival that sweeps in at some point and then disappears without a trace, the Chocolate Bar only runs from September of 2013 through June 2014 and then returns the following year. It’s also not an all week thing. The Chocolate Bar is only open on Saturdays for four hours. Every year, the chefs pick a theme to decorate their chocolates to, and this year was the celebration of their 25th anniversary. Because of this, the inspirations were drawn from favorites from the 1980’s, 1990’s, 2010, and hopes for the future. Each featured time had it’s own table of treats which included cakes, bonbons, mousse, puddings, and other assorted delectables. In addition to that, there were several other stations such as a crepe station, an ice cream station which allows you to pick and chose what you would like mixed into your ice cream, a chocolate fountain, and a chocolate soup station featuring dark and milk chocolate soup.
I felt that there were not nearly enough pictures of specific items, so I decided to take pictures of the plates I got and talk about what was actually there to eat (you can find larger pictures on my Pinterest), and I have also included a “game plan” at the bottom of this post that I would suggest to those going to follow in order to maximize the amount of chocolate you can enjoy. Though if you are really looking to pack it away I suggest looking up how to be a Competitive Eater.
For my first plate I followed the advice that I heard on the Travel Channel which is to chose the things you find most interesting first (because you might not have room to later). So for this plate I chose a small cup of milk chocolate soup which interestingly enough did not taste like the cup of hot chocolate I was expecting. It was slightly salty and brought out very savory parts of the chocolate. I have to admit…the first plate I loaded with a few familiar things and then hesitantly with a few new things I’d never seen before. On my actual plate I got the following: The thing in the glass is a Tiramisu inspired by the 1980’s table, The square cake with a raspberry to the right of the Tiramisu is a tiny Boston Creme Pie also inspired by the 1980’s, Then to the left of that is another fluffy thing with what looks like bacon on top…good news…it actually IS BACON! This was a fantastic treat at the 2010 inspiration table called a”Banana Bacon Tart”. Imagine the taste of a toasted marshmallow wrapped around a piece of banana and the banana flavored pudding with the saltiness of freakn’ BACON on top, like a cherry on an ice cream Sundae. It was so good I could have had five of them, but there is a temptation one must resist…it is a trap. Don’t go back for seconds of the same item. It is folly. One does not simply eat a two pieces of the same dessert at the chocolate bar and expect the stomach to be forgiving of this flagrant expression of gluttony. If you have more than one of something it will take up valuable space in the food purse known as your stomach and this is NOT good…Lastly the strange cone thing at the far left of my plate was described as Dark Chocolate and Malted Milk Powder…I was weary of this one to be honest. I had flash backs of times when I hadn’t stirred my Swiss Miss chocolate powder coco mix enough and that first sip usually meant getting blasted in the face by chocolate powder which I’m sure even now coats some small spot of my lungs. But to my very pleasant surprise, the chocolate powder instantly turns into a kind of mousse thus preventing the urge to smuggle it into a bathroom to snort off a toilet seat like the addict one has to be in order to go to a place like this. The only thing I can guess is that the chefs might have possibly removed all liquid from the chocolate, which creates a fine dust, and then as it touches your mouth, it’s rehydrated.
By the end of the first plate I could feel my body reacting to the sugar. My heart beat wildly in my chest, I’m sure my eyes were probably dilated. The top 40 that the DJ was spinning sounded really good…even the crappy songs that Taylor Swift put out. Everything was almost too perfect, nothing was wrong with the world. The few kids that were behaving nicely while I was normal, now seemed like perfect little angels, the crystal in the chandeliers seemed to be sparkling only for me. IT WAS ALL SO BEAUTIFUL! So now on the beginning of this chocolate high, I decided I’m going to get a bit more adventurous. I decided to go to the much talked about crepe bar! So I get a new plate and go up to this dealer of chocolate and she asks me what I want, so casually…she’s seen so many like me in this crazy position. I’m thinking she knew at this point she could make the crappiest crepe the world has ever seen and I’d still eat it because in my over chocolate pleasured brain, everything tastes good! I decided to get a banana, rum and chocolate thing on a chocolate crepe…It was amazing. I was extremely happy that I had brought my husband with me at this point because there in lies the second rule of thumb. Share the big stuff…Remember stomach room is as rare and needed as a cheap, decently sized apartment overlooking Times Square. You have to have the mindset that only the finest pieces can occupy the free crannies of your gut…There isn’t room any more for the lowly bonbon and a crepe is like an entire family complete with three kids, two cats, a dog and a deranged grandparent all wanting to move into a two bedroom apartment- It’s just not going to happen. Pace yourself and share. Along with my crepe I decided to be “healthy” and get something with fruit on top so I sauntered back to my table with a chocolate mousse topped with fruit which I also split with my man who in turn shared half of his chocolate creme brulee with me. This is one of the many reasons I love him…
At the end of plate two, what I was convinced wouldn’t happen, did…it was the dreaded sugar plateau. It’s like that sudden realization you have before you get really drunk that this is a turning point…You’re happy now, but if you have another drink it could lead to you waking up dressed as a lion, lying on the floor surrounded by glitter, cheetos, and dirty gross people who you hope to God are actually several clones of Ke$ha and not the dirty gross random people they actually are…It’s at this point you discover the purpose for the chips and salted nuts and pretzel sticks that they have at the chocolate dipping fountain…You need something salty. The mere thought of chocolate at this point might even cause the most seasoned dessert fanatics to gag a little, but Cafe Fleuri has anticipated this, and just as chocolate can make you feel better after you’ve come across a Dementor….chips and pretzels can make you feel better after you’ve had too much chocolate.
After getting a second wind from the salty snacks you’re good to go back out into the fray…Now is the time for going for those things you never thought you’d be brave enough to try. My husband suggested that I get Fruit Pearls with Fruit Glaze which came in these cute, one bite sized spoons. The pearls seemed to bounce around your mouth mixing with the light chocolate sauce that was hidden in the bottom it was really good. I also got this Pate Choux Swan with Pastry Cream. The artistic value of this piece alone tempted me to take it home and put it on my mantle above my non-working fireplace…but this, like a rainbow, was to be enjoyed in the moment leaving only the memory of it’s crispy delicate pastry, filled with the best frosting you’ve ever tasted to linger in your mind forever…At this point too, the beer goggle effect started to take place…in the beginning I would have never stooped so low as to munch on something as Carnie-inspired as the pink cotton candy that sat in the corner like the reject of a high school dance….nor would I have glanced at anything from the chocolate fountain…but now, with my mind a little crazy and my stomach starting to ache, it became a test of endurance…it was no longer about the chocolate. It’s now about how much sugar could I pack within myself before falling into a sugar induced coma. So I devoured this third plate.
It’s at this point where you realize that you’ve only tried perhaps half of the things at this buffet and you are completely out of room…This fourth and final trip is about finding the smallest things to pack up that small amount of space you think you might have….but probably don’t. For this I opted for a Pecan Tart with Bourbon…It was delicious… but even this small guy I had to split with my husband. In turn I helped him by eating half of his rice pudding which made me want to rename the Cozy Shack snack puddings I have at home to Crappy Shack. There was some sort of lemon white chocolate thing I had a nibble of which I wasn’t incredibly impressed with, and there…sitting on my plate was the shining example of where my head was at…It was a thick piece of rice crispy and marshmallow treat….It was the big fat thing that I was too wasted on chocolate to care about. Similar to turning over only to find some heinous hambeast is laying in bed next to you, and wondering at what moment you thought it was a good idea to bring them home…this was that moment, and this rice crispy treat was the symbol of my ultimate lack of judgment…I had lost my senses long ago, and now the best course of action was to go home.
But this is another thing you must not do. Do not succumb to the sweet desire to curl up and hold your aching paunch till sleep relieves you of consciousness. It’s best at this point, defeated by chocolate, whipped if you will by the whipped cream, that you drag your sorry self out to the curb like a bum where you can cry in sweet joyful bloated pain and contemplate the events in your life that have lead you to this moment. I suggest you take a stroll through the Common, waddle if you must in hopes that the gentle rocking of each foot fall will perhaps help pack down your sugary mistake, and relieve your stomach ache. You will at this point probably contemplate living as a monk…far from the temptations of chocolate, perhaps rehab….but no…deep in your mind, even while you break out in the sugar sweats as another wave of it flows through your veins, you know you’ll be back. Chocolate is your vice…Your nose will soon be smearing up the glass at the local Godiva…You’ll be eyeing the cheap dirty Hershey bars lining the checkout counters at grocery stores. But you’re also wiser now…The price of $42 dollars to go back to that nirvana of chocolate discourages weekly visits and that’s probably for the best. Perhaps this is why there are no other articles written about Cafe Fleuri’s Chocolate Bar…one would have to admit they have a problem, that might even require several years of counseling and shock therapy.
So go my friends, and as a veteran let me leave you with these words of wisdom:
1.) DO NOT EAT BREAKFAST BEFORE YOU GO!!!!!: Seriously, if you eat breakfast you will have a hard time putting even a little dent in that place.
2.) Check your diet at the door: This is no place to be counting calories…If you insist on counting calories you might find that all you can allow yourself is a bon bon….and you can do better….and you deserve more.
3.) Just like at a dance, go for the good looking pieces first, and work your way down to the wall flowers.
4.) If you experience a chocolate lag, reboot with something salty.
5.) Bring a friend…it doesn’t even have to really be a friend because honestly you’re just using these people so you don’t look like a jerk throwing out amazing food…just make sure it’s someone with a bigger stomach than yourself so you can split with them.
6.) Try not to double up… have two different things instead of two of the same.
7.) Walk it out. Walking might help your tummy settle a little and also help manage the sugar jitters you will inevitably be left with.
8.) Pepto Bismol works miracles.
If you are interested in learning even more about this please visit The Cafe Fleuri Chocolate Bar information page. Also please feel free to check out this awesome Travel Channel video about this amazing place.