Harvard Square just got a little sweeter with the opening of pop-up chocolate shop Somerville on the Charles.
The chocolate store opened earlier this month in the storefront at 29 Church St., which is home to Lizzy’s Ice Cream shop. The pop-up shop is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. through February.
Somerville on the Charles is the brainchild of Somerville chocolate shop owners Alexandra Whisnant, who owns Whisnant’s Gâté Comme des Filles, and Somerville Chocolate’s proprietor Eric Parkes.
Whisnant met the owner of Lizzy’s Ice Cream shop last year after purchasing a refrigerator on Craigslist that was owned by the store. As someone who grew up in Cambridge, Whisnant says she has always “dreamed” of having a shop in the Square.
“We felt that Harvard Square and chocolate went together,” Whisnant said. “Students need chocolate to study.”
Parkes also cited the holiday season as a big influence in the pair’s decision to set up shop.
Before opening its doors, Whisnant and Parkes redesigned the store by moving the front counter so people could walk around the back of the store, which is usually full of ice cream freezers. As a finishing touch, the duo added a mural of Harvard Square based on a map from the 1870s.
“I love it in there so much. I would stay there all day if I didn't need to make the chocolates back at the kitchen,” Whisnant said.
The chocolate store offers two basic chocolate options. One is the “bean-to-bar chocolate” that Somerville Chocolates specializes in, as well as hand dipped ganaches including truffles and bonbons courtesy of Gâté Comme des Filles.
According to Whisnant, her chocolates are made fresh everyday inside Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville and are meant to be eaten within the first week, describing the chocolates as more like a pastry or cake than a traditional chocolate. Parkes says his chocolate-making draws inspiration from around the world.
“I start with whole cacao from places around the world and take it all the way through to completion as craft chocolate bars,” Parkes said.
The pop-up shop has also added chocolate mousse, brownies, and roasted cocoa nibs to their menu.
Harvard Square Business Association’s Executive Denise A. Jillson was “somewhat surprised” to learn of the chocolate shop’s arrival after happening upon an article online on the store’s opening.
“We are delighted that they are here and hope that they become a good community partner while in Harvard Square,” Jillson said.
According to Jillson, the business association plans to visit the space and introduce themselves.
“We look forward to hopefully having them join our big chocolate festival in the middle of January,” Jillson said.
Emily Luu ’19 said she is excited to check out the new store.
“As a chocolate lover, I’m excited to go to somewhere else other than CVS to get my chocolate fix and treat myself,” Luu said.—Staff writer Junina Furigay can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter @junina_furigay.
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