It can’t get better than this… handmade, mini chocolate ghosts done with a chocolate pumpkin spiced cider ganache enrobed in white chocolate. Or is it the milk chocolate mouse with toasted almond ears and a dark chocolate ganache blended with espresso that takes three days and twelve different steps to create that gets the nod at the new L.A.Burdick Handmade Chocolates shop in the vintage Tree Studios on State Street?
This is literally “eye candy” to the max. Better yet, Burdick’s chocolates taste as good as they look, which is exactly what founder Larry Burdick had in mind when he opened his original chocolate shop in New York City in 1987. He’d spent a lot of time in Paris and Switzerland during his travels through Europe and was especially smitten with the high end cafes specializing in chocolates and pastry. One thing led to another, and Burdick eventually connected with Michael Klug, a pastry chef and alum of several top-tier NYC restaurants, who shared his vision.
Klug was-and still is- convinced that fine chocolate is a niche with lots of room for expansion. The Chicago store is the Walpole, NH-based firm’s fifth location, all of them cozy and charming. Like the shops in NYC, Boston, Cambridge (MA) and Walpole, the Chicago venue is one part chocolate shop and one part café, a lovely spot to enjoy hot chocolate and pastry topped off with a bit of chocolate.
“The European tradition is about quality, rather than quantity,” Klug explains, as I wonder how many chocolate mice I can consume during the course of the interview. When it comes to speed, downing six cappuccinos in ten minutes before getting on an early morning shuttle from my hotel to the Milan airport is my personal best.
For me and my fellow Americans used to consuming chocolate bars in a thrice, it’s hard to wrap our collective mind and tastebuds around the idea that a small amount of really good, all natural, handmade chocolate can quell our chocolate-loving cravings. No details, but, trust me, it can.
L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates, 609 N. State St., Chicago 312.635.8975