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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

IMG_3489This past weekend I was invited to go on a chocolate tour with Old Town Trolley Tours – they’re now in their 16th season! You’ve probably seen those orange and green trolleys zipping around town. Most people use Old Town trolley as a hop on hop off tour of the city, but on Saturdays, they offer a chocolate tour  that leaves from their shop near the common (Boylston and Charles St.) We’re greeted by Brian, the depot manager, and we receive a great little gift bag that they give out to all chocolate tour participants. Inside, they have a few samples of Taza and Ghirardelli chocolate along with some additional coupons. This was a great way to spend a weekend afternoon – even if you live in Boston, play tourist for the day! Old Town Trolley offers a Hometown Pass where Massachusetts residents ride free when they are accompanied by a full paying guest.

IMG_3490Chocolate tours run from January to April, and leave at 11:30am on Saturdays. The tour will make three stops: Top of the Hub, The Omni Parker House and Cafe Fleuri at the Langham Hotel. Round trip the tour is about 3 hours. We luck out with an unseasonably warm day, one perfect for this kind of expedition.

IMG_3493Meet Jeff, our trolley driver and tour guide. In between stops, he gives us a brief history of chocolate and some fun facts! Jeff was informative and personable – a great mix for this kind of job! See the Favecast here:

IMG_3496First stop is the Top of the Hub. We get dropped off at the Sheraton hotel and meet our guide who will bring us up to the restaurant. We have to walk through the hotel and the Prudential mall to get to the elevator bank that will take us up 52 floors!

IMG_3497There are other chocolate tours happening at the same time – we are all grouped in the back room where we are able to choose our own seats.

IMG_0642On the left, we have Executive Pastry Chef Tak Kuen “Tommy” Choi and on the right, our celebrity chef tour guide. Chef Choi began his career in his native Hong Kong. He started his career in the States at Rialto in 1994. He has been at Top of the Hub since 1995 and has received numerous accolades.

IMG_0643The views from up here never get old.

IMG_0644Top of the Hub is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week and they offer a Jazz brunch on Sundays.

IMG_0645The view from our table.

IMG_0635The dessert offered to the chocolate tour changes weekly. This week there was a chocolate raspberry mousse cake  topped with a raspberry macaron, and on the right, a chocolate mousse pana cotta.

Top of the Hub on Urbanspoon

IMG_3521Stop number 2 on the tour is the Omni Parker Hotel, home of the Boston Cream Pie. Founded by Harvey Parker in 1855, the Omni Parker House is the oldest and longest continuously operating hotel in the United States. For all you ghost enthusiasts, the ghost of Harvey Parker has been known to roam the halls of the 10th floor annex. Or how about in 1949, a man died in room 303, and the scent of whiskey sometimes reappears in the room. There’s even talk of the elevator that is called to the 3rd floor and no one is ever there – some suspect it is the ghost of Charles Dickens who stayed on the third floor in the old Parker House in 1867!

IMG_3512The hotel is steeped in history: Veitnamese leader Ho Chi Minh served as a baker in the bakeshop from 1912 to 1913 and Malcolm X was a busboy in the early 1940’s. Numerous icons have stayed at the hotel: John Wilkes Booth, Bill Clinton, James Dean, JFK, John Kenneth Galbraith, Ulysses S Grant, BB King, Bob Hope, Ben Affleck and many more! In 2008, the hotel went through a $30 million restoration, helping to blend modern day amenities into the hotel without losing its historic charm. See my Favecast here:

IMG_3524JFK has strong ties to this hotel, he announced his candidacy for Congress in the press room in the hotel and he proposed to Jackie at table 40 (shown above).

IMG_3519Did you know that the Boston Cream Pie is the Massachusetts state dessert? It beat out the Toll House cookie, the Fig Newton and Indian Pudding. For those of you not familiar with Boston Cream Pie (which is really a cake, not a pie), it is two layers of sponge cake, filled with custard and topped with chocolate ganache. See the original recipe here.

Parker's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

IMG_3563Our final stop is the Cafe Fleuri in the Lagham Hotel. This year, the chocolate bar is celebrating its 25th anniversary. For this special occasion, Chef Ryan Pike presented us this year with “Decades of Decadence,” a buffet featuring the most popular desserts from the past 25 years.

IMG_3558Chef Pike graduated Newbury College in 2003 and in 2007 accepted the job of assistant pastry chef at Top of the Hub where he worked under chef Tommy Choi. He eventually moved to the Lagham and moved up from assistant pastry chef to head pastry chef in just around 2 years.

IMG_3526An adult chocolate cocktail menu features cocoa infused martinis such as the “chocolate decadence” with raspberry vodka, dark chocolate Godiva liqueur and Frangelico. You can also order a “white Coco” with vanillla vodka, dark chocolate Godiva and white creme de cacao.

IMG_3561The chocolate martini.

IMG_3531Careful consideration was made this year to make the chocolate showpieces over the top.

IMG_3529There’s a deejay spinning music while you’re enjoying the chocolate buffet.

IMG_3559The chocolate bar runs every Saturday from September 7th to June 28th this year. Hours of operation are 11am-3pm. Adults are $42 and children ages 5-12 are $29.

IMG_3528For this event we were greeted at the table with a sampling of their chocolate bars to take home. Customers can purchase them at the hostess stand if they are interested.

IMG_3532Raspberry Lemon panna cotta.

IMG_3538Morello Cherry Mousse with Milk Chocolate Crunch.

IMG_3537As you can see, they offer savory desserts as well as sweet ones!

IMG_3536There are so many choices at the buffet, a nice mix of white, milk and dark chocolate.

IMG_3535They also offer a crepe station and a cold stone ice cream station where you can mix in any number of toppings. See my Favecast here:

IMG_3533There are even non chocolate options here – they have cotton candy among other options.

IMG_3540The items are well stocked throughout the whole time we are there.

IMG_3543What chocolate bar would be complete without a chocolate fountain?

IMG_3544Made to order warm cookies with milk.

IMG_3547This was my favorite dessert of the buffet.

IMG_3546Everything is plated well – you almost don’t want to eat these because they look so pretty.

IMG_3548The offer complimentary tea and coffee. I suggest pacing yourself – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Make sure to drink lots of water!

IMG_3551We walked out feeling full, and in need of a nap!

IMG_3530Beautiful pate choux swan.

Top of the Hub

800 Boylston Street, Boston, MA

Top of the Hub on Urbanspoon


In the Omni Parker Hotel, 60 School St., Boston, MA

See their website and menu here.

Parker's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Cafe Fleuri

In the Langham Hotel, 250 Franklin Street, Boston, MA

See more information here.

Cafe Fleuri on Urbanspoon

For more information about booking a tour, please see Old Town Trolley’s website.

**Disclaimer, I received two tickets to the Boston Chocolate Tour in exchange for writing this post. All opinions are my own.

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