The Most Indulgent Chocolate Shops in Toronto
It may be a cliche that women are obsessed with chocolate ( as she cleans a Snickers bar out of her teeth), but chocolate is one item I am always on the hunt for. And fortunately, my friend Jen, whom I was visiting, was a chocolatier.
You can listen to her episode here. End of shameless promotion.
She gave me the goods on where to try the best food of the gods in Toronto, and I’m here to share it with you.
A few years back, Jen was working at CXBO and visited me in New York. She brought me a DECADENT 15-piece box of CXBO chocolates. I treasured them. Every time I went for one, it was like opening up a jewelry box, and my face would illuminate with an angelic glow ( or it could have been the light in my refrigerator but who cares). The analogy works because the chocolates look like actual gems.
CXBO was founded by Brandon Olson and artist/filmmaker Sarah Keenlyside. They make colorful and mouth-watering gem-shaped bonbons that have a rich and flavorful ganache filled in a delicate multicolored shell. It puts rock candy to shame. You place it in your mouth, and the outside shell pops and then spreads over your tongue. It’s ecstasy in a bite. ( I finished my last one yesterday. The salt from my tears truly gave it another depth).
They are also known for their ostentatious disco eggs that have been titled “ the most instagrammable dessert of 2017” and when you start getting awarded in Instagram likes and shares, that is a serious honor in the culinary industry ( or eye roll Millennial nonsense). But seeing them in person, they were so freaking cool, and Jen was also on the team that made those eggs!
Their shop is located at Kensington Market, right around the corner from tacos and jerk chicken. They are a perfect little sweet for after a savory meal. My personal favorite was the Raspberry, Rose, and Fennel truffle ( the bar version is award-winning!); Orange Blossom, Honey; the Cinnamon, Brown Butter ( which tastes like my childhood).
If you get them by hand, be sure to eat them quickly because they are easily squashed. *She says as she licks the inside of the plastic bag.
On the other side of town was SOMA chocolate, which Jen begged me to visit. I wasn’t going to argue with her because I had gotten my period a WEEK early.
I have learned over the years that my period enjoys traveling as much as I do, and she joined me the moment I landed in Toronto. But that means two things: I get to rest more and I get to eat more chocolate ( like the good sh*t).
SOMA chocolates have a wide variety of products that go beyond just truffles. But let’s start there. Their truffles come in all shapes, sizes, and unique flavors. They infuse Canadian culture into their chocolates with flavors like Douglas Fire ( tree in a truffle), maple bacon, and dark chocolate cherry bomb. But their truffles truly have a global palate with their mango chili bars, Vietnamese coffee, and blood orange marzipan.
I got a truffle and then went for something more unique. I picked up a bag of Baci D’alassio cookies, which were these cute drops of hazelnut meringue and dark chocolate sandwich cookies ( and they were gluten-free!). After looking through their shop and website, I noticed that hazelnuts popped up in at least 80% of their recipes. They must have been Italian in a past life.
I don’t know how I missed their chocolate birch branch molds filled with hazelnut chocolate butter crunch with a lip-smacking ribbon of sour cherry jelly stripped through the middle. UGH. (If you are in the area and feeling generous my address is....). I must have been distracted by their hot chocolate.
Close to Jen’s house was one last chocolate shop she wanted me to visit ( I mean if I have to- shrugs shoulders).
Soul chocolate is an organic bean to bar fair trade chocolate company. They have good relationships with their farmers and roast everything on site. Their chocolatiers only make specialty bars that lean towards the dark side ( not malicious, just less milk). I loved the 80% Guatemalan dark chocolate. Some find it to be too intense but for me this was nothing. In Peru, Jen and I got to a point where we eat raw cacao nibs by the handful ( and still do).
The store was cozy, enough for six people to stand in but had enough space to get some cafe work done. Behind the cash register was an open window for where I watched the chocolatiers roast the beans and pipe melted chocolate into molds. I resisted the urge to shove the molds over, lean my head on the table, and have them squirt the chocolate right into my gobsmacker.
Back in reality, I saw in the corner a hot chocolate maker slowly spinning around and keeping the ingredients hot and melted. It was the same one that was in the chocolate shop Jen and I worked at in Peru. Nostalgia got the best of me and I ordered a small cup. It was like drinking melted chocolate, it was thick and not too sweet and hit the spot on that rainy afternoon.
These are absolutely the best chocolate places in Toronto and PLEASE let me know if you are going soon- I have a few orders I’d love for you to put in ;)