Haute Secrets Boston: Kate McCrea of McCrea’s Candies

It’s that sweet time of year where a little extra indulgence goes a long way. Just ask Kate McCrea of McCrea’s Candies, the maker of the melt-in-your-mouth caramels that you can find at specialty shops like Bacco’s Fine Foods in Boston, Formaggio Kitchen as well as Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square.

Kate McCreaPhoto Credit: McCrea’s Candies

We caught up recently with McCrea to find out what she loves most about Boston.

Where were you born: New Haven, CT

How long in Boston: My family moved to Boston when I was two and I grew up here.  I returned to the area in 2001.

Neighborhood: Hyde Park

Occupation: Co-owner, McCrea’s Candies. We make luxe, handcrafted caramel.

Favorite Restaurant: Antonio’s Bacaro.  It’s a new addition to the Hyde Park dining scene with a great bar and patio.

Best Sushi: Genki.  We love all of its locations, including Cambridge and downtown, but have to give a shout-out to the Legacy Place restaurant, which has delivered a number of wonderful sushi platters to the McCrea’s team just when we need them most.

Best Italian: I have to go with Antonio’s Bacaro (again).

Best dessert: McCrea’s Candies’ caramel, of course.  I love them on their own, but if I want to create a dessert plate, I really enjoy our Curried Butternut paired with a sharp New England cheddar and hard cider. Our Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt is sublime with a Gorgonzola Dolce. And you can’t beat sipping a beautiful tawny port while nibbling our Deep Chocolate caramel.

Best place for a romantic date: The Boston Harbor Islands’ Thursday night clam bakes.  You can stroll the beach before dinner, dine on chowder, steamers, lobsters and so much more, then enjoy a beautiful sunset.  Boston at its best.

Best Sunday brunch: The Langham Hotel’s Saturday Chocolate Bar Brunch in Café Fleuri

Best place for a power business meeting: This may be an unconventional answer, but I’m going to say Boston Public Market.  As a small New England maker, these are the people bringing new fresh foods to Boston.

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? We recommend any hotel that puts McCrea’s Candies caramel on its pillows for guests, including Envision, Nine Zero, Hotel Commonwealth and Doubletree Boston.

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Olives & Grace.  This quintessential South Boston shop offers a wonderful selection of carefully curated items from emerging artists, gift producers, and small batch food makers.

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: Shake the Tree in the North End has gorgeous jewelry from small, independent jewelers.

Best Spa: Bella Sante

Favorite Charity Event: McCrea’s participates in the Neponset Valley Watershed’s River Clean Up every year.  It is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  We also support WBUR’s Best Buddies Challenge.

Favorite Cultural Event: I just love attending Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” every year with the family.

Favorite Cultural Institution: Museum of Fine Arts

Best Steakhouse: Grill 23

Best Pizza: Olympic Pizza in Hyde Park is right across the street from our caramel kitchen and they keep us well fed all year, especially during the crazy, busy holiday period.

Best Lunch: Tutto Italiano in Hyde Park.  Italian gourmet specialties and great sandwiches make it perfect for a quick epicurean lunch (yes, those two adjectives can go hand-in-hand).

Best Gym/Athletic Facility: Matt Rutkowski anywhere he teaches.

Best Massage: Jeanette Jones/Norwood Medical Massage Center

Best Limousine/Driving Service: Boston North Limo

Best Museum/Exhibit: I just love the ICA and it’s regularly changing thematic exhibitions.  One that really sticks out for me was Geoffrey Farmer’s sculptural photo collages.  Made from art history books found at book sales, his cutouts are stunning, magical and immersive.

Describe Boston in three words: Rich, colorful, dynamic

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: Bunker Hill Monument paired with Old Iron Sides.  Nothing brings history alive like experiencing these sites and walking through these Boston neighborhoods.

All-around favorite spot in Boston:  Anywhere near the water, especially Legal Harborside.  It is close by the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion.  I love sitting on the deck, watching the lights shimmer on the water and listening to the music waft in.

Best Aspect of Boston: It’s a combination of things: the city’s historic beauty and charm, its kind and warm people (full of grit) and its fantastic art and cultural opportunities.