The Boston Phoenix
January 28 - February 4, 1999

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Burdick's Chocolates

Sweet science in Harvard Square

On the Cheap by Rob McKeown

The linzertorte ($2.75) at Burdick's Chocolates says everything one needs to know about Harvard Square's finest confectionery outpost. It is buttery-tender and elegant in its spicing. Compared to the crunchy desserts usually palmed off under the same name, it's a revelation.

So are all the pastries in this pint-size room on Brattle Street. Filled with nuts and honey and dried cherries, a nusstorte ($2.75) is slightly doughy without, sticky and sweet within, like a pastrified calzone. A delicately flaky apple tart ($2.75) seems to evaporate on the plate; the Burdick ($2.75), the house confection, is a wafer-like treat that alternates between the yielding texture of cake, crushed nuts, and coconut and the deep richness of chocolate. Even the tuille (80 cents), now the last word in restaurant dessert garnishes, is shockingly good and complex: an airy weave of almond paste, pumpkin seeds, and chocolate.

And who could forget the chocolate? Chocolate tasting plates cost $3 to $5, chocolate bars are worth a splurge at $4.25, and gift boxes and truffles go up, up, up from there. But I'd simply opt for a lush cup of hot milk chocolate served at one of the burlap-and-brown-bag-covered tables in the small room. As the incredibly knowledgeable staff delivers the drink and the rustic feel of the room sinks in, you'll forget about the slightly high prices and the oh-so-Cantabrigian crowd.

Burdick's Chocolates, located at 52-D Brattle Street, in Cambridge, is open Sunday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Call 491-4340.

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