Seasonal Chocolate Pop-Up Shop in Harvard Square

By Allison Kao ’20

I found heaven tucked between a Starbucks and pizza parlor.

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Its name? Somerville on the Charles – a charming chocolate pop-up shop that is making its winter home on Harvard Square’s Church Street, keeping the space normally occupied by Lizzy’s Ice Cream cozy during the colder months.

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The shop, which is open 11am to 11pm, seven days a week from December to February, is a collab between Gâté Comme des Filles and Somerville Chocolates, each run separately by chocolatiers Alexandra Whisnant and Eric Parkes.

While the storefront only spans the width of a door and window display, its quaint, unassuming appearance by no means embodies the bold flavors of its chocolates.

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There are two main types of treats – French-style bon bons (provided by Gâté Comme des Filles) and chocolate bars (provided by Somerville Chocolates). Bon bons are creamy ganaches hand-dipped in a thin chocolate coating. With only two ingredients, cacao and sugar, the bean-to-bar chocolate brings sweetness down to its core raw goodness. The shop’s most popular items are the Hawaiian chocolate bar and honey-walnut and vanilla bean bon bons.

Everything is made in small batches, so flavors rotate daily. In addition, ingredients are chosen with great care – in fact, the honey, peppermint, and thyme are all sourced from right here in Cambridge.

Somerville on the Charles also offers to-die-for brownies and a rich, decadent mousse that’s scooped into cones like ice cream (what more could you ask for?!).

And if you’re looking for a holiday gift, check out the 4-piece giftbox or a combination of the Nicaraguan and Hawaiian chocolate bars.

At least for the next three months, I know where I’ll be going to satisfy my sugar fix.

 

 

Nothing Like Ice Cream From Home

by Allison Yan ’19

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What makes some ice cream better than others?

Since arriving at Harvard, I’ve realized that Cantabrigians, and Bostonians at large, sincerely appreciate their ice cream. JP Licks is a staple, a place that locals and college students alike frequent, even when the weather dips. Lizzy’s is a less bustling, more intimate alternative to JP Licks. And then there’s the lovely Toscanini’s, for the rare few who find the time to trek to Central Square.

I’m proud to say that I’ve tried them all by now. But it’s just not the same as ice cream back home.

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Cincinnati, Ohio is home to many things: an average baseball team, a slightly above-average football team, and, most importantly, Oprah Winfrey’s favorite ice cream. You read that right. Cincinnati is home to Graeter’s ice cream. Many of my fondest childhood memories are from post-event treats to Graeter’s, where I would shamelessly indulge in black raspberry chocolate chip ice cream sundaes (those were my mom’s favorite, so they had to be my favorite as well). She was very particular about her sundaes, and so was I: one scoop of black raspberry chocolate chip with whipped cream, nuts, and black raspberry syrup. She always went for a maraschino cherry on top. I never liked the taste of maraschino cherries, but since I always appreciated the aesthetic the cherry added, I would get one as well.

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Of course, my love for Graeter’s went beyond just visits to the ice cream confectionary for those sumptuous sundaes. There were rarely times when we didn’t have pints of black raspberry chocolate chip ice cream in our freezer. Post-dinner desserts always consisted of our trusty ice cream in a Graeter’s waffle cone.

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There is just something unique about Graeter’s ice cream that can’t be beat by the ice cream shops here. The way the ice cream melted in your mouth so you could chew on large chunks of chocolate chips, the heady thickness of the ice cream that would trump soft serve any day, the extra sweet flavor that made it clear that you were partaking in a special indulgence rather than some faux-healthy dessert.

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In my first months here, I felt like I missed Graeter’s almost as much as I missed my family. There’s a lot that goes into good ice cream, really. The richness of the texture, the presence of yummy extras (namely, chocolate), and, of course, the memories associated with the ice cream.

Anyone who wants to contest my claim that Graeter’s is the best should take me to JP Licks to prove otherwise.

Basia’s Scoop (#1: Lizzy’s)

by Basia Rosenbaum ’18

Birthdays, a post-exam treat, summer nights. All perfect occasions for the best dessert there is: ice cream.

Ice cream and I have had a serious relationship since childhood (my mom even has compromising photos of my face smeared in chocolate to prove it). Vacations always include multiple trips to determine the best ice cream. High school was filled with nightly ice cream breaks. So, of course, ice cream was a priority when I came to Harvard. Check Crimson Crave weekly to see some of my favorites.

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You can’t beat the Lizzy’s location. And creative flavors are a plus—bringing out the inner child in all of us with chocolate cookie dough (because isn’t that the problem everywhere else—who wants vanilla cookie dough?) I went full childhood adding rainbow sprinkles on top and it was delicious.

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Lying underneath: half chocolate cookie dough, half Columbian Fudge Avalanche

But Lizzy’s is one of those places where tasting matters. Ask for a sample, ask for two, because there are ways you can go wrong. The Columbian Fudge Avalanche (coffee with fudge and walnuts) was a great ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ kind of flavor. But I could have done without the Charles River Crunch (chocolate with almond toffee).

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In the spirit of Ben and Jerry’s-esque fun and creative flavors, Lizzy’s is a valuable asset to the Harvard Square ice cream scene. Look for the adorable cow mascot and grab a scoop.

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The traditional mint chocolate chip

Note: Basia will be publishing a Best of Boston Ice Cream series – check back for more next week!