So, we lost the Max Brenner chocolate emporium, but we gained woman-owned Levain Bakery, the pride of NYC (and now Newbury Street), famous for their wildly delectable chocolate chip walnut cookies. Where else can you find our favorite vice, chocolate, in our favorite city? There are many mouth-watering options, as befitting a city with a long connection to chocolate: The pantry staple now known as Baker’s Chocolate got its start in a saw mill on the Neponset River in Milton in 1765. The company moved across the river to Dorchester a few years later. Now part of Kraft Heinz, Baker’s Chocolate left Dorchester in 1965, but it remains the longest continuously operating chocolate company in the country, according to Earl Taylor of the Dorchester Historical Society.
If you’re trying to cut back on sugar (aren’t we all?), make that dessert count! Skip the so-so treats, and indulge in some of the best chocolate creations in and around Boston. Here are a few crave-worthy stops. Because if loving chocolate is wrong, we don’t want to be right.
gâté comme des filles, Somerville: mousse au chocolat noir en cornet cacao
Pastry chef Alexandra Whisnant has some serious sweet cred, with a resume that includes Ladurée patisserie in Paris and Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Now, she’s operating a tiny shop at Bow Market in Somerville’s Union Square, whipping up decadent desserts and beauteous bonbons. We fell hard for the cocoa waffle cone filled with the best chocolate mousse ever. Made with 63 to 72 percent cocoa, this fluffy mousse is created the French way, with raw eggs, fresh from local farms. Our top pick is the honey walnut version; made with 72 percent cocoa, it is deeply dark, rich, and satisfying. At $15, this treat is a pricey indulgence, but you’ll want to share it with a buddy. Grab two tiny spoons and a seat at the outdoor bistro table and prepare for a dizzying jolt of pure chocolate joy. 345 Somerville Ave., Somerville. 617-764-5872, www.gatecommedesfilles.fr
Levain Bakery, Boston: chocolate chip walnut cookie
You may have noticed the lines waiting to get into this new bakery on Newbury Street. Trust us, the cookies are worth the wait. Back in 1995, bakers Pam Weekes and Connie McDonald concocted chocolate chip and walnut cookies ($4.50 each) to give them energy while training for a triathlon. The cookies hit that textural sweet spot, with a crunchy exterior and a gooey center, and New Yorkers couldn’t get enough. Welcome to Boston, Levain! Now go get in that line, people. 180 Newbury St., Boston. 617-390-7799, www.levainbakery.com
Serenade Chocolatier, Brookline Village: piñata cake
You’ve seen these candy-filled cakes on the baking shows and Instagram. Google “How to make a piñata cake” and you’ll get 9,240,000 results. If you’d rather not DIY but would love one of these trendy creations for your next big birthday or event, consider a customizable cake from Serenade. They offer an elegant version, an edible chocolate (milk or dark) shell, filled with their own artisan chocolates (no tasteless confetti candy, hooray). Available in 6 or 8 inches ($75-$95), each “cake” comes with a wooden mallet. Use it to smash that cake to reveal the goodies inside. These locally-sourced chocolates are vegan-friendly, gluten-free (except for the pretzels), and insanely good. 5 Harvard Square, Brookline. 617-739-0795, www.serenadechocolatier.com
Flour Bakery, Boston: triple chocolate mousse cake
James Beard award-winning baker/cookbook author Joanne Chang and husband Christopher Myers now own and operate nine outposts of Flour Bakery in Boston and Cambridge, proof that dessert-eating is alive and well in the ‘hood. Chocolate lovers know that if one layer of chocolate is good, three is grand — hence, our passion for Flour’s nut-and-gluten-free triple chocolate mousse cake, a triumph of milk-, dark-, and white chocolate mousse, oozing between thin layers of flourless chocolate cake. It is one of Chang’s personal favorites. Available by the slice ($6), or as an entire cake ($36 and up), this dessert is finished with chocolate ganache and garnished with fresh fruit. Call first to confirm availability, or to order. Locations include 1596 Washington St., Boston. 617-267-4300, www.flourbakery.com
Mike’s Pastry, Boston: chocolate-covered cannoli
The long lines! The white-and-blue pastry box, tied with string! Bostonians have been loving Mike’s since 1946. Mike’s Pastry has expanded their cannoli-and-lobster-tail empire to Cambridge and Somerville, but the North End OG still rules. Among the dozen-plus flavors of cannoli available ($5 each), chocoholics swear that nothing beats the chocolate-coated cannoli with its signature chocolate-coated shell. The creamy ends are rolled in chocolate chips, adding extra sweetness and crunch. The chocolate chip version, a bestseller, is fine, too, but that chocolate-drenched shell puts this one over the top. Locations include 300 Hanover St., Boston. 617-742-3050, www.mikespastry.com
FoMu, Jamaica Plain: chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich
Vegans know FoMu — this plant-based ice cream is made from scratch in Watertown, using coconut milk and organic natural sweeteners, churned to a creamy, gelato-like consistency. Yum. What you may not know: They also bake their own plant-based chocolate-chip brownies, magic bars, and cookies. If you’re thinking, “Hey, those cookies would be great with a thick slab of chocolate ice cream in the middle,” ca-ching! The freezer is stocked with ice cream sandwiches ($7.95 each), and they’ll scoop you a fresh one to go. The double chocolate cookie and chocolate ice cream offer a double whammy of deliciousness. Available at all of their shops, these chocolate novelties reimagine a childhood favorite for adult tastes. Locations include 617 Centre St., Jamaica Plain. 617-553-2299, www.fomuicecream.com
Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org