A favorite summer treat: L.A. Burdick’s iced hot chocolate

burdick iced chocolate drinks sign
It pains me to acknowledge it, but summer is eventually going to end. In the not distant future, the air will turn crisp and whisper of autumn. But before the last of the hot, sunny days disappear, I’m determined to fit in as much summer fun as possible.

One of my favorite summer treats is iced hot chocolate. For over a decade now, my go-to iced hot chocolate spot has been the L.A. Burdick cafe in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Burdick uses Valrhona chocolate in their standard chocolate drinks, and more recently has added a line of single source chocolate options. Lately, I’m partial to the Madagascan for drinking; the Burdick menu describes it as “Madagascan: 64% chocolate with a very sharp fruity acidity with hints of citrus and vanilla. Medium body wih a long finish.” Translation: MELTED YUM!

Perhaps the most fun, though, comes in introducing someone to the drink for the first time. Too often my friends and colleagues squeal “Iced hot chocolate?! Who knew? Oh, the deliciousness!” as though their lives have been forever changed by the experience. And I can’t help but chuckle and roll my eyes when I hear the familiar “Iced hot chocolate? Isn’t that an oxymoron?” Poor little rich kids trapped in a literal world…

burdick iced hot chocolate full shot

It’s possible that the literalists are thinking “Isn’t this just… chocolate milk?” In fact, it is so. much. more. Burdick’s prepares the iced hot chocolate by first melting chocolate shavings in steamed or scalded milk, then pouring the hot mixture over ice. They’ll even add whipped cream and a sprinkling of cocoa powder on top, if you fancy. In an epic battle of chocolate milk vs. iced hot chocolate, iced hot chocolate would claim an easy victory. (More on this in a future post.)

I credit the Cambridge L.A. Burdick cafe with introducing me to my first tastes of fine chocolate back when I was just a wee teenage choco fangirl, and for showing me that there was a vast world of flavor to explore. One of my dearest friends worked at the cafe for nearly a decade. Lover of a good story that I am, I relished the opportunity to hear the “backstage” talk at the cafe, from how the chocolates were made to what quirky customers would sometimes say or do. (More on the Burdick company in a future post, too.)

So, if you’re in the Boston area, I highly recommend a trip to Harvard Square to taste this special drink. Good luck resisting the pastries and bonbons while you’re there.

burdick iced hot chocolate close up

L.A. Burdick Chocolate Cafe
52 Brattle St., Harvard Square
Cambridge, MA 02138
phone: 617-491-4340
Sun-Thurs 8am-9pm
Fri-Sat 8am-10pm
(Burdick also has locations in Walpole, NH and New York, NY)

Or, you can make iced hot chocolate on your own with one of these recipes:

L.A. Burdick’s Iced Hot Chocolate

David Lebovitz’s Iced Chocolate (As a New Englander, I would technically dub this a souped up chocolate frappe because of the ice cream… Eh, technicalities. It is awesome.)

Summer, please stay just a little bit longer.
late summer shadows on a sunny porch


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    Bittersweet Notes is an open source research project on chocolate, culture, and the politics of food. I invite you to join me as I explore the story of chocolate and the life stories of those involved with chocolate at its many stages of production and consumption.

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