For our second day in boston, my sister joined me early in the morning from Virginia. She flew in and it was great being able to spend time with her since we don't see each other often. The last time I saw her was this past Easter so we got a chance to catch up. For today's activities, we set out to indulge in chocolate with friends...
Fellow food blogger friend, Cara of Cara's Cravings and her friend Vanessa, joined us at Boston's Langham Chocolate Buffet inside the hotel's Cafe Fleuri restaurant. It was an extravagant display of chocolate artwork... so many desserts to try that I created the above slideshow to show the massive amount of sweets to choose from. For a small sampling of what was available, please check out their sample Chocolate Buffet menu.
We had a fabulous time talking about food and fashion and enjoyed all the people watching. Lucky for us, we sat in perfect view of the Chocolate Fountain and that certainly makes for great people watching! I especially loved seeing the joy in all the little kids dipping their goodies in chocolate. After enjoying over 2 hours of chocolate and catching up, my sister and I ventured out to the North End neighborhood of Boston.
The North End neighborhood is rich with Italian culture and food. It's actually the oldest neighborhood in Boston and it's streets are the narrowest around. My sister and I are alike in some respects but when it comes to food, we're very much the opposite. I've had the opportunity to try quite a few different kinds of cuisines from around the world just by living in Chicago... however since my sister lives in Virginia, various cuisines are pretty limited. I took the opportunity of spoiling my sister's taste buds with foods she hasn't ever tried and we started with Gelato.
In Boston's North End, you'll find quite a few Gelaterias or gelato shops. The first one we hit is located right on Hanover St, a major street that cuts through the North End. Here we found an amazing selection of gelatos along with plain and chocolate cannoli shells that could be filled with gelato. She really liked the rich flavors and dense texture of gelato, even more so than ice cream... and I couldn't have agreed with her more.
Next stop, we hit up Polcari's Coffee. Although one may assume this is a coffee shop, it's actually a quaint shop that offers a good assortment of coffee, flours, spices, pastas, and over 50 kinds of extracts. It wasn't as big as I hoped and many of the items seemed a bit dated.
After Polcari's we were craving something savory and happened to see this bakery. Upon entering, we saw some amazing pastries... and stuffed sandwiches and aracini. Oh my, this was some serious sandwiches and the aracini was fantastic!
The sandwiches were filled with an assortment of fillings such as chicken parmigiana, italian sausage, meatballs, proscuitto and cheeses, buffalo chicken, spinach and cheese, etc.
Aracini are giant rice balls that can be stuffed with various fillings too. Essentially they are made by combining cooked rice, cheeses, egg and spices and then filled with other items like pepperoni, sausage, beef, steak, etc. We enjoyed a spinach and cheese filled aracini.
There are so many shops in the North End, such as this one called Monica's. It's not uncommon to see sausages hanging from the ceilings, lots of various cheeses and imported Italian products...
One thing that was unavoidable was the long long lines of the pastry shops. Specifically, Mike's Pastry was so long, it snaked around the corner. We were so curious to check out what the big deal was and fortunately we got in line when it was only a few out the door.
Once we got into the door, we got to see some beautiful marzipan fruit and vegatables!
And once we got to the counter, we ordered 4 kinds of cannoli and a large lobster roll puff pastry. Sadly I don't have pictures of these amazing pastries since we devoured them after such a long wait in line!
One other item we had to check out was Italian limoncello. We stopped in a liquor/wine store and saw a great collection of Limoncello and Sambuca... mmmm!
After our culinary walk through the North End, we met up with Teresa and Ruby for a festive tour. We took a Ghost & Graveyards Tour through the city of Boston, which was a lot of fun! Our tour guide was Maggie Poppins who did a fabulous job spooking us and making us laugh all at the same time. There is so much history in Boston and these tours really make it memorable for us!