chocolate appreciation opens you to flavours of the world

I often get to Toronto, but generally most of my time is tied up in meetings or structured activities. A highlight of my recreational time is always a visit to SOMA chocolatemakers. Have you visited their new(ish) location at 443 King Street West? The original location is in The Distillery District.

In addition to SOMA’s unique chocolate creations which I’ve previously written about here, what I really love about SOMA is the fact that they carry a small selection of premium chocolate bars from around the world. On a recent visit, I was particularly looking for bars from Ecuador and Peru and I wasn’t disappointed. SOMA had bars from Kallari and Republica Del Cacao of Ecuador as well as bars and chocolate treats of their own made from exquisite Peruvian chocolate.

a selection of chocolate treats from SOMA chocolatemaker in Toronto

A selection of the chocolate treats I purchased at SOMA chocolatemaker in Toronto.

I was ecstatic! All were delicious and unique in their own chocolate profiles. I’ve the South American chocolate flavours in other posts, so I won’t get into them now. I will say that SOMA’s own Twilight Forest Bar made from Peruvian chocolate, Maldon salt, pumpkin seeds and local honey is worth a trip of any length. One of the best chocolate bars I’ve had, and it’s made in Toronto, Canada, and available online for those of you who can’t get to Toronto. Visit SOMA’s online product list here.

chocolate-tourism

The purpose of this post is indeed to encourage you to look for new and different chocolate flavours wherever and whenever you travel. You’d be surprised where you might find them.

We had a lovely Italian dinner at a small bistro at 147 Spadina Avenue called Fusaro’s Kitchen Italian Eatery where I purchased a Perugina chocolate bar made in Perugia, Italy and imported by a company in New Jersey, USA … which somehow ended up in a small Italian eatery and grocery store in Toronto, Canada!

You’ll find new and exotic chocolate in all sorts of places if you keep your eyes open for it. And if you can’t travel, you can still make incredible finds online from chocolate subscription services and clubs like the ones I’ve profiled in this post. You may know of other sites that do enable you to order and try a wide selection of chocolates from the comfort of your own home.

So let chocolate take you on a journey of exploration around the world, whether literally, by way of chocolate travel and events such as chocolate festivals and attractions near and afar. Or via your imagination through tasting and enjoying the many flavours of fine artisanal chocolate right in your own home by way of chocolate subscriptions, clubs, and online shopping.

chocolate-subscriptions

Will you share or keep it all to yourself? Chocolate is meant to be savoured and enjoyed. Let’s share some memorable moments of chocolate discovery. Where have you been when you happened upon a chocolate creation you have not forgotten? Tell us, so that we might experience it for ourselves.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

33 Responses

  1. Rich says:

    Ah chocolate and cigars!
    Rich recently posted…All About Avanti CigarsMy Profile

  2. I am spoiled to now have SOMA within a 10 minute bike ride of my house – must get there very soon!

  3. Doreen says:

    You are indeed very fortunate to have SOMA so close to your home, Virginia. If I lived in Toronto, I’m sure I would be there weekly.

    And Rich, I must say … I can’t even imagine a cigar lover appreciating the nuances of fine chocolate. Chocolate goes with a lot of things, but I can’t for a minute think of it as being compatible with the overwhelming flavours of cigars.

  4. Susan Nicol says:

    On Christmas Eve, I was in a tent in Passau, where the father/son confectioners Simon were demonstrating how to make gingerbread. It takes seven years of education and apprenticeship to become a licensed confectioner in Germany. We later toured their shop laden with treats, including the most delectable chocolate and pralines. (I was told pralines were invented just down the Danube river in Regensburg.) I bought expresso dark chocolate (75% cacao) and a marzipan pig ridden by a chimney sweep and carrying a mushroom, shamrock and gold coin in its mouth (good luck symbols for the New Year.) Of course, the Simons have a website: http://www.simon-passau.de

    • Doreen says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your chocolate/gingerbread memories with us, Susan.

      I will definitely look up the Simons. Thanks for the link.

      Unfortunately, my chocolate exploration has not yet taken me to Germany, but I’m always interested in making new chocolate discoveries and learning of the interesting people behind them.

  5. Doreen — every Christmas my next door neighbor leaves a bag of chocolates from Italy at my door. They are dark chocolate filled with liqueur. They are unable in the U.S. so they order them from Italy. I can tell because package writing is all in Italian. I will try to find out the brand for you. But when you bite into these juicy chocolates they pack a real punch. Very strong — and very delicious!
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…How to Write An Email Using the Best Words in the Subject LineMy Profile

    • Doreen says:

      Right on, Jeanette! This blog is all about sharing the love of good chocolate, and introducing chocolate lovers to the really good stuff and the interesting people who are making it.

      By all means, if you can get the name of the Italian chocolate you are thinking of, I am interested. We ate a ton (quite literally) of great chocolate in 2010 while in Italy, but unfortunately, did not have time to get to Perugia and the Euro-chocolate Fest that is held every October. It’s certainly on my list for the future.

  6. Coretta says:

    Doreen, I have to learn how to savor chocolate instead of devouring it. I mean if I’m going to indulge in chocolates from around the world, I’ll definitely need to learn how to respect the chocolate more. Here’s a link for some artisan chocolates that I received as a Christmas gift…DEE-LISH-US. http://dudesweetchocolate.com/
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Doreen says:

      Thanks for joining the conversation, and for offering the link, Coretta. It looks like Dude Sweet Chocolate has some amazing offerings! I’ve bookmarked them & will have to get in touch.

      The key to appreciating good chocolate is to eat it every slowly and savour the flavour. Never just pop it in your mouth. Take the time to smell it, try to sense the nuances of flavourings as you would with a fine wine. That’s why, with really good chocolate, you only need a tiny piece or two to satisfy. It is intense and satisfies quickly. Thank goodness, or I’d be at least 200 pounds by now!

  7. Bo Kauffmann says:

    LOVE chocolate. In fact when we get some, my wife has to hide it, or else I will eat the whole thing in one sitting……Nice to see you took the plunge to self-hosted WP site….:-)

  8. Doreen says:

    Hi Bo, and thanks for joining the conversation! It’s nice to have a man chime in once in awhile. The subject of chocolate can be too female-centric, despite the fact that more men than women actually make chocolate. But I guess we women like to talk (and fantasize!) about it.

    You sound like my hubby. He, too, has difficulty eating just one piece.

    And yes, I’ve switched both my blogs over to self-hosted sites. It’s nice having the CommentLuv plug-in, and also much easier for site management.

  9. They made a BAR out of http://mostlyaboutchocolate.com/soma-twilight-forest-bark/ for REAL?!?!?! Holy cow! That is so much AWESOMENESS in a bar I think I might faint – I can’t wait to get back there in late May!!

    • Doreen says:

      Yes, it’s a totally awesome bar indeed. A perfect blend of ingredients and amazing chocolate. I’m never disappointed at SOMA.

      How long are you in TO? I will be there from June 5-9 (approx) for the PWAC/MagNet conference. It would be such a shame if we just miss one another.

      Love to do another chocolate & wine tasting session with you!

  10. Liz Palmer says:

    I enjoyed exploring Soma with you during your Toronto visit. I’m waiting for my daughter to return from London next week to indulge. Looking forward to your South American chocolate ventures! Liz

    • Doreen says:

      Wow, have you got willpower, Liz! Good chocolate never lasts that long in my house!

      Yes, I’m looking forward to the trip to South Am, although … I must confess I’m a bit afraid to be travelling without luxury! I think I’m getting too spoiled in my life as a chocolate-loving travel writer. As much as the Amazon jungle will be intriguing and enlightening, I doubt they’ll be the kind of “Heavenly Beds” we’re used from my friends at the Starwood Corp.

  11. I’m no chocolate connieusseur like you, Doreen. It’s a shame, isn’t it? The best I’ve tasted is Lindt.

    • Doreen says:

      Lindt is a very good place to start for commercial grade, readily-available chocolate, Grace.

      My favourite Lindt bar is the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt (in the Excellence Series.) It’s really very good, and for us wine lovers, goes extremely well with a deep rich red like Malbec.

      You’re very fortunate to live in Toronto, where you will find a SOMA shop in the Distillery District and also on King St. The next time you’re feeling adventurous, drop in and buy a few of the freshly made truffles. Try eating them very slowly, smelling the chocolate and really taking time to appreciate the flavours. I guarantee that once you try this, you will be able to differentiate between run-of-the-mill commercial grade chocolate and the very best handmade truffles. Indeed, your pocket book will feel the difference, too, but it’s worth it once in awhile. Thanks for dropping by the blog.

  12. Hi Doreen, Hmmm…so many memorable chocolate moments, it’s too difficult to single one out. However, today I take sweet pleasure in enjoying wonderful chocolate with my children. Growing up, I was exposed to the commercial stuff we all know. So, we love exploring what great chocolatiers Montreal has to offer: Chocolats Genevieve Grandbois, Suite 88 Chocolatier, Juliette et Chocolat, and Chocolats de Chloé are just a few of our favourites.

    Next thing I’d love to do with them is take a class in chocolate making!
    Bon appétit!

    Helen

    • Doreen says:

      Thanks for joining the blog, Helen.

      Yes, Montreal has some wonderful chocolate options to explore. Thanks for sharing yours.

      Good luck with your chocolate making! I’ll leave that to the experts and just enjoy eating their wares.

  13. Kathe Lieber says:

    There are so many wonderful things about chocolate, and travel, and of course combining the two. My travels will be taking me to Toronto and then to Paris over the next couple of months, and you’ll never guess what I’ll be taking home for souvenirs. I’ve had people say that’s strange as it wouldn’t last in their house, but I’m a savourer. I keep chocolate in my wine fridge (as recommended by one of the chocolatiers we met, Doreen – can’t remember which one) and take a little of the good stuff, along with wine, whenever I’m invited out to dinner.

    Next stop, Soma!

  14. Doreen says:

    Hi Kathe, and thanks for joining the conversation.

    Yes, travel and chocolate make such a wonderful pair. I feel so blessed to have found a way to combine my passion for both.

    Like you, I’m a savourer. If it’s good chocolate, I am quite content with one wonderful piece. Although usually, the really good stuff is so $$ that one can only afford a small box — which doesn’t last that long!

    Lucky you to be returning to Paris. There are so many wonderful chocolatiers there that you and I didn’t have time to visit in 2009. Let me know if you’d like me to send you a list of them. Cheers!

  15. A.K.Andrew says:

    I think any type of food makes the measure of the place, and this is particularly true of Italy. So what a fantastic way to combine a trip. Thirteen years ago I had to give up chocolate completely because my stomach just said no, which was v. hard to start with, but I got used to it. Then this Christmas I decided to give it a another try – wickedly for me I found it’s ok if I just have a small amount. It was the most wonderful dark Belgian chocolate sold by ‘Hotel du Chocolat’. It came from one of their shops in Brighton, but they have stores in other cities in the UK.
    Another great Chocolate store is in San Francisco – Teuscher of Switzerland. Here is their website:www.teuscher.com.
    Enjoy your trip Doreen & thanks so much for the article.

    • Doreen says:

      Thanks for visiting the blog, AK, and for joining the conversation.

      I can’t imagine a day without chocolate. It has become such a major part of my life, and I expect that will continue long after the books are completed. It provides such an endless world of discovery!

      Yes, I know Hotel Chocolat. I was at their shop in Borough Market last June and had the privilege to meet co-owner, Angus Thirlwell. You will see I wrote about it in this post: ?p=614. I am thrilled to advise that I will be a guest of THE Hotel Chocolat in St. Lucia in December, at which time I’ll have the opportunity to tour this cacao plantation, Rabot Estate and taste more of their delicious cacao-based menu. I am SO thrilled to be having this opportunity to look forward to.

      And yes, I’ve been to a Teuscher chocolate shop in Zurich. I’m afraid I haven’t yet written up the Swiss chocolate companies I visited … but I will! Stay tuned, and thanks again for dropping by.

  16. I like eating chocolate in free time. Many types chocolate available in market and different flavor. Many company making chocolate different flavor. So i really like and enjoy your blog.
    Thanks.

  17. Hotel Deals says:

    Hi,
    Thank you for giving us tips.. It helps me alot 🙂 Keep on posting!

    If you have time you can also visit this site for more information about Hotel Deals and Cheap Hotels

  18. Tuck Shop says:

    A place where you can find all the chocolates around the world? Surely,I wouldn’t ask for more!

  19. Vincent says:

    I bet it was an awesome experience to have been able to taste amazing flavors of chocolates. Tasting the culture of different countries.

  20. Mitchel says:

    My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find the majority of your post’s to be
    exactly I’m looking for. Do you offer guest writers to write content for yourself?
    I wouldn’t mind compsing a post or elaborating on a number
    of the subjects you write inn relation to here. Again, awesome website!

    • Hello Mitchel. I’m glad you and your wife enjoy my posts. I suggest you subscribe so that you don’t miss any of them!

      Regarding guest posts: I don’t very often take on guest writers unless they are writers I know quite well or who are an active part of my site’s community. (i.e. offering comments to existing posts, sharing my content on a regular basis. etc.)
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…embark on a northern safari to ChurchillMy Profile

  1. May 21, 2013

    abercrombie londra…

    Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Very useful info specially the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck….

  2. May 29, 2013

    air max tn…

    Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge