Colonial Candies – Bolton MA

31 12 2008

The radical swings in weather patterns this month have been amazing. After spending Saturday night wandering around all of Jamaica Plain with temperatures in the fifties, we’ve got another winter storm warning. Severe enough that parking bans were issued a day in advance. I opted for trying to beat the storm out of town, and got a Butter Pecan cone.

Colonial Candies Ice Cream Bolton Mass Hebert's

Colonial Candies is an odd moniker  for me to use. Until recently this was a Hebert’s candy mansion, but in 2004 the Hebert family sold their name and recipes off. Member’s of the family still run individual shoppes under new names, but things are different aside from the Shrewsbury store which maintains the original name. Hebert’s introduced white chocolate to America back in 1955, but this store now uses different suppliers and doesn’t have their amazing white chocolate bars.

For anyone travelling south on 495, this spot is a definite landmark. A mile before the highway exit, there is a clearing that provides a good view of the mansion, and there is an iluminated red sign steering visitors this way. As a result, there are often times when you’ll find a couple of elderly tour buses making a stop along their way, and thus lines winding through the aisles.

With the snow picking up pace on this New Year’s Eve, the store was quiet. Only the ringing of the bell when I walked in alerted the one person on duty for the day. It was easy to tell that she was weather weary – ice storms had knocked the power out for 3 days earlier in the month. She even talked about almost not coming in today after witnessing the aftermath of three accidents on 117 during her commute.

I didn’t feel the need to work my way through samples, and heck I wanted to get to my parent’s house and get off the road before things turned truly gnarly. The ice cream here is supplied by Bliss Dairy, so I had a decent idea what I was in for with my butter pecan. While there was a bit of frost on the outside of the cone, refreeze hadn’t permeated the whole thing, and the cone had a rich buttery consistency with large pieces of pecan that really made the whole thing shine. It didn’t hurt that I was given a complimentary waffle cone for being the only customer (a family did walk in as I was leaving and headed straight for the ice cream).

colonial candies bolton mass ice cream butter pecan hebert's snow

As a candy mansion, the best aspect of Colonial Candies is the toppings bar for sundaes. With short hours, it wasn’t set up on this day, but usually crumbled version of the candies in the store are there for you to assemble. Growing up, I can recall many times when we would ride our bikes to Hebert’s and gorge on sundaes making our toppings overflow onto the paper plates below forming a moat of caramel and strawberry and fudge around a great castle of ice cream.

Cone – small $2.75 medium $3.25 large $4

Sundae – small $3.75 medium $4.75 large $5.50

Frappe $4.95

Colonial Candies

47 Sugar Rd, Bolton, MA

978 779-6586‎

Open year round

Daily 9a-6p

Colonial Candies on Yelp


Wheeler’s – Boston MA

15 12 2008

The proposition of vegan ice cream is daunting. I mean, why not just go the sorbet route and make things easy for everyone. Thankfully some people are still out there battling to provide both a healthy and tasty alternative. Walking from Cambridge on a warm December day, I got a Candy Cane cup.

wheeler's frozen dessert vegan ice cream boston mass

Wheeler’s opened up over a year ago near Symphony Hall. Not that anyone except Berklee students noticed it amongst a row of street level shops at the corner of Huntington and Mass Ave. With a goal of attempting to redeem the concept of vegan desserts from the wasteland of cardboard cupcakes and rediscovered cookie recipes lost after the repeal of wartime rationing in the 1940s, owner Wheeler Del Torro set the bar high.

Using almond and cashew milk as well as soy milk for the base of their ice creams is the trick that makes this all work. Gone is the sometime plasticine taste that soy can leave behind. In its place is rich nuttiness that is dairy free and proud of it.

My first taste was the soursop ice cream. In truth I wasn’t sure what soursop even was, and it wasn’t until later that Wikipedia informed me that it’s more often called Guanabana to those that walk down the Mexican aisle of the grocery store. The chocolate pudding was dense and rich, but I’m more apt to defer the chocolate to a sorbet in a place like this.

What I wound up with was the candy cane. Since it’s December and Christmas is hurtling toward us during this shortened month (that late Thanksgiving offers less shopping weekends), it seemed a fitting choice. The ice cream itself was very rich, with the nut milk making for a denser cup. The red peppermint was presented as an additive to the cream and together they combined for a taste that would sneak past most dairy purists if they didn’t know what they were having.

candy cane wheelers frozen dessert vegan ice cream boston mass

This was likely one of the last days until spring that it’ll be reasonable to walk across the Charles via the Mass Ave bridge, but with temperatures flirting with the mid 60s, it seemed more preposterous to take the T around and not celebrate the weather while it was here. After watching the ice storms decimate central Mass a few days before, something about walking a couple miles for ice cream was extra special.

Cup – small $3.75 medium $4.75 large $5.75

Sundae – not offered, but toppings added to cup are $1/per

Milkshake Frappe – small $3 medium $4 large $5

Wheeler’s Frozen Desserts

334B Massachusetts Avenue, Boston Massachusetts 02115

617 247-0048

Open year round

Monday-Saturday 11:30a-10p, Sunday 11:30a-9p

Emack & Bolio’s – Cambridge MA

3 12 2008

I witnessed a remarkable feat just now. A girl walked in from Porter Square and asked if she could have some samples. She tried the ‘Deep Purple’ Cow and commented on the bad names for flavors. Then she got both Banana and Chocolate samples at the same time and walked out the door. All the while I just sat observing while eating a Raspberry Truffle cone.

Emack and & Bolio's ice cream shoppe

The banana flavor is actually called Mellow Yellow Banana. The bad flavor names usually have to do with a punnish rock reference being inserted into a more typical moniker. The reason for this is that Bob Rook who started Emack & Bolio’s had a day job as a music lawyer. It’s also why there are some locations connected with Hard Rock Cafe.

This spot is one of the newest Boston area locations, and it is tucked into the front corner of the shopping plaza at Porter Square. The building it is in is mostly filled by a CVS, but there is a glass-encased area that serves as a market for local artisans.  It’s when you get past that shop  where you find this two-tabled scoop shop.

I’d had a less-than-stellar trip when I went to the shop in Brookline this summer, so I decided to try a few samples and make sure that I got something that represented the ice cream well. I tried Raspberry Truffle, Cosmic Crunch, and  Grasshopper Pie. The Cosmic Crunch had become a more Funkadelian Cosmic Slop as the ice cream was dripping and melting everywhere with no need for the ice in its name.

I chose the raspberry trufle and it was a plain ice cream with swirls of raspberry and tiny raspberry-filled chocolate candies. While the candies and swirl did a great job of carrying the flavor, the ice cream was marred by a case of refreeze. The crystals were invasive even in the softened ice cream, and had changed the nature of the cone so much that it was tough to tell if this base was a vanilla or a white chocolate.

raspberry truffle emack and bolio's ice cream cambridge mass

After a couple of disappointing experiences it’s tough to tell what to make of Emack & Bolio’s. They’ve stuck around for thirty years, but it’s the only shoppe that has had refreeze issues really hamper the ice cream, and it has happened both times. While I do expect refreeze crystals as a problem in December when the ice cream has been sitting around longer than in the middle of the summer, it’s never fun to have ice cream be such a challenge to be good when everyone else calls it great.

other review: Emack & Bolio’s in Brookline

Cone – 1scoop $3.48 2scoops $4.35 3scoops $4.70

Sundae – 1scoop $5.25 regular $5.94 ridiculous $6.95

Frappe $5.05 extra thick $5.90 malted $5.40

Emack & Bolio’s‎

23 White St, Cambridge, MA‎

617 492-1907‎

Open year round

Daily noon-11p;  winter hours: Mon-Thurs 1p-10p, Fri 1p-10:30p, Sat noon-10:30p, Sun noon-10p