|A sampling of the architecture on our tour|
Teuscher had been a true feast for the eyes as well as the tongue. Vestiges of its Baroque decor hung about my vision as we trekked past the Boston Public Library and several churches with notable architecture and turned toward the South End. (Diana, our tour guide, was kind enough to share some history of the structures and the areas we were passing by, but I'm sorry to say that THOSE details have grown rather faint while the CHOCOLATE-related information remains quite crisp in my mind....)
Our third stop seemed unlikely. Picco is a PIZZA place!
Located on Tremont Street right next to Boston's Center for the Arts, Picco's patrons include the theatre crowd, as well as those who love pizza...and ice cream.
|Patrons enjoying pizza at Picco|
The interior seems rather streamlined, but a hint of panache hovers near the door: a large blackboard proclaims a healthy selection of ice cream and sorbet flavors. And, of course, DARK CHOCOLATE appeared under each heading!
The waiter, after sizing up both our interest and our appetite, straightaway turned to the freezers lining the wall behind the counter, scooped up samples of both the ice cream and the sorbet, and placed them before us. Four spoons suffused with impossibly rich-looking dark chocolate emanated from the center of a white plate like petals on a flower. The contents looked SO delicious, and discussion of the magic recipe was SO intriguing, that the spoonfuls all but disappeared before I remembered to take a picture!
|Even the fourth spoonful was in danger|
of disappearing before this picture
If I lived anywhere near Boston's South End, Picco would be my undoing. NEVER has ice cream or sorbet tasted so divine. The creamy consistency and rich, full-bodied flavor are equally indescribable. Was I really eating sorbet?
What image would do these justice? How could one imagine the taste? Like a field of chocolate velvet infused with chocolate cream?... No... ... I'm sorry. I've been contemplating descriptions for 25 minutes (well, for a week actually) to no avail. You'll just have to travel there and taste it yourself.
I can, however, offer you a glimpse of the genius behind the magic: part of the recipe was revealed. It calls for the very best chocolate. Until recently, all of Picco's chocolate came from Scharffen Berger, a maker of deluxe chocolates based in San Fransisco. This source has quite a lot to do with the ice cream's and sorbet's incredible quality. According to Scharffen Berger's own website (http://www.scharffenberger.com/history.asp), "SCHARFFEN BERGER Chocolate Maker was founded with one simple goal: to create the richest, most flavorful chocolate by sourcing the best cacao in the world and using artisan chocolate-making methods." If Picco's products are any gauge, Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker has succeeded in its mission.
|One of the special ingredients in Picco's melted fudge|
Happily (especially for local foodies :-), Picco has just recently begun incorporating into its recipe Taza, a top-quality chocolate produced in Somerville, just north of Boston. The founder of Taza travelled to Mexico to learn the stone-grinding technique of making chocolate. Stone-ground chocolate has a rougher texture, and this special quality undoubtedly contributes to the magic of Picco's products. (Diana kindly offered me a Taza roundel to sample at home. It has a gritty texture that is quite unusual to my tongue, as if tiny crystals were scattered throughout the bar.)
At any rate, from what I could determine of the conversation going on while I was distracted by the bliss traveling from spoon to mouth, the liquid unsweetened fudge comprising the chocolate and sorbet recipes is a mixture of 50% [90% butterfat Taza and 90% butterfat Schaffen Berger] + 50% [70% butterfat Taza and 70% Scharffen Berger].
As far as I'm concerned, this liquid unsweetened fudge, which our host also offered on the end of a spoon, could be Picco's newest best-seller. Such amazing chocolate doesn't need the cream.
Note: For those interested in further knowledge of Taza, check Boston Chocolate Walking Tour's website. Diana mentioned that a walking tour of the Taza factory in Somerville is in the works!
Boston Chocolate Walking Tour's website