Toronto is a top destination for chocolate lovers

Being one who has the good fortune to travel often and quite extensively, I have made many dear friends in other cities, and would like to thank my dear friend, Virginia, of Toronto, for having sent me the best birthday present this chocolate-loving girl could ever hope for: SOMA chocolates. Virginia knows good chocolate as she and I visited three European countries last fall and ate chocolate until we had to resort to storing it in our cheeks because it wouldn’t go down.

Some of the amazing chocolates at SOMA.

best chocolate in toronto

For those of you who have never tasted the ecstasy known to me as SOMA chocolate, you are truly missing out. It is without doubt, among the best Canadian-made chocolate I have ever eaten. I adore their dark chocolate truffles filled with ganache made from poignant flavours such as Douglas Fir tree sap, bergamot, Arbequina Spanish olive oil, 8-year-old balsamic vinegar, and local Canadian whisky. They are artistically designed and made from cocoa beans roasted and ground right on the premises.

Cocoa beans ready to be made into sumptuous chocolate at SOMA chocolatemaker.

Virginia was kind enough to send me 2 of SOMA’s delicious mini bars. Just 65 grams each and divided into tiny squares so that those who feel they must practice restraint can easily do so. Unfortunately, SOMA chocolates are best eaten within 10 days of purchase, so I’m just doing my duty in making quick work of it. And yes, my dear chocolate-loving friends, eating chocolate is indeed work for me. I am one of those lucky individuals who LOVES my job!

On my chocolate quests to Toronto, I always try to make a trek to SOMA chocolatemaker to indulge in their single origin truffles.

My palate has become much more refined during the eight years I have been immersed in the world of artisan chocolate. It’s much like drinking wine. You’ve got to keep trying different ones to be able to differentiate between them and to find the ones that you particularly like or don’t like and be able to determine why.

I’m now ready to put SOMA’s single origin truffles to the test against Norman Love’s BLACK collection. I can’t imagine anything being better than them, but then … I hadn’t yet experienced SOMA’s product of quite the same grade.

That’s something you’ll learn after eating a lot of great chocolate. There are often several different grades of chocolate right within the same small shop. As in the case of Norman Love, SOMA, and other fine chocolatemakers … they’re all good. But it is when you get to the purest of chocolate such as the single origin truffles, that you get the flavour, texture, and appearance that sets the best several grades above the rest.

To me, really good chocolate is never too sweet, too bitter, or too gritty. It should be silky smooth (in texture), pure (in ingredients) and intense (in flavour.) And I know I will always find that in the remarkable quality of chocolates I get from SOMA chocolatemaker of Toronto. They are considered by many to be the best Canada has to offer.

best-toronto-chocolate

Another great chocolate creation made by SOMA is the Milk Old School bar. This thing is addictive! The bar is made from 38% Venezuelan Criollo and is crunchy with cocoa nibs. I live it, and it is surprisingly unsweet for a ‘milk’ chocolate. I loved it paired with a nice glass of Washington Merlot.

Which is why I was happy to include SOMA chocolatemaker on the list I wrote for National Geographic Traveler featuring the 10 Best Chocolate Shops in the world. It is a great chocolate company that never ceases to satisfy.

chocolate smiles

Paola of The Candy Bar in Toronto has one of the best smiles in the world of chocolate. Is it because she is always surrounded by all this great chocolate of the world? Or does working with chocolate attract happy people?

Another great place to discover great chocolate in Toronto is at The Candy Bar. This small shop is owned by Paola, an incredible chocolate curator with a terrific assortment of amazing chocolate from around the world. Don’t miss it if you’re in Toronto and are a fan of handcrafted artisan chocolate.

 

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.

25 Responses

  1. Happy Birthday, Doreen! May you always enjoy your life, and your work, as much as you are right now.

    I’m salivating at the thought of eating Sonoma Chocolates. I envy you having them now, and being able to get more later this week. Enjoy a piece or two for me. (I’ll be in Toronto next weekend but I don’t think we’ll have time to get to the Distillery District to go to Sonoma, but I’ll be back in Toronto in early June so I will make time then.)

    I grew up in Toronto and as much as I don’t miss some of the big city things like the traffic and the pollution I do miss a lot about the city including places like Sonoma. Enjoy visiting that for me too.

    Here’s to you, and to chocolate–you are both getting better!

  2. I thought it was Sonoma, but it’s Soma–I was up too early!

  3. Happy Birthday again Doreen! Sounds like you have a wonderful day planned. Wish I could join you…oh yea, I will very soon. We’ll be on a plane headed for your next overseas chocolate adventure in less than a week! Your posting made me salivate. Can’t wait to see you!

  4. Thanks so much, Christine and Suzanne, for your comments and birthday wishes.

    Christine: I will bring some SOMA chocolates to Virginia’s next weekend for us all to share.

    Suzanne: Looking forward to embarking on this next voyage of chocolate discovery with you. We will be meeting some AWESOME chocolate makers in the UK.

    Cheers to all,
    Doreen.

    • Happy Birthday, Doreen. I’m sorry I won’t meet you at the AGM, I’m not going this year, but have a great time.

      There is a new Italian bakery, chocolate boutique here in Orillia that has marvellous chocolate. Yum!

  5. Amberr Meadows says:

    That chocolate looks wonderful. I can’t think of a better way to indulge–at least where food is concerned 🙂

  6. Thanks for dropping by the blog, Amberr. Yes, chocolate is a wonderful way to indulge. I always find when I’m craving chocolate, NOTHING else will do.

  7. Paula Wild says:

    Hi Doreen,

    I must say, the best chocolates I’ve ever eaten are made at Hot Chocolates in the Comox Valley where I live. I think the secret is in the quality and freshness of the ingredients, strict quality control and limited shelf life, so everything is always fresh and oh so delicious.

    My entire family has become addicted to Hot Chocolates chocolates. When I travel to the US to visit, it’s not unusual for me to have more than $100 worth of chocolate in my carry on luggage. I must admit, that does raise some eyebrows at Customs but, so far, they’ve never confiscated any of the goodies!

    Best of luck on your chocolate adventure!
    Paula Wild

    • Thanks for the good wishes, Karleen. Can you please share the name/link of the place in Orillia?

      And thanks, for your tip as well, Paula. I do indeed, know Hot Chocolates. Hope Spencer had been kind enough to bring me some of their chocolates several years ago, and then when I visited her, I dropped into the shop and indulged.

  8. Your mention of the subtleties reminds me of my visit to Chocolate Tofino a couple of weeks ago. I bought two small boxes, one for my sister (espresso, hazelnut, maple) and one for my teenaged son (caramel, Turtle). The man behind the counter said “I can tell these are for two VERY different people, so I’m going to put a blue ribbon around the MAN box so you can tell the difference.” Just like wine, chocolate is subjective to a degree. And, in this case at least, even gender differentiated.

    But I didn’t know about the variation in grades within the same shop, another similarity with winemaking. I hear even Yellow Tail has a decent bottle, though I have yet to find it.

  9. HEY!!! I’m in Toronto!!! Where are you at? email me and I’ll give you my mobile and we can do chocolate!

  10. Wendy Peck says:

    Doreen — the best chocolate I ever had was the experience, not the actual chocolate. A friend and I were canoeing, north of Kenora, ON. It was hot, and we had been exploring the bush — in bathing suits. Hot, scratched and bug-bitten, we jumped in for a before-lunch swim, joined by loons. Cooled and refreshed, we enjoyed our lunch on the shore. Then … we pulled out our bag of cherries and precious dark chocolate bar. The cherries were hot, and the chocolate completely melted.

    Sitting on that rock, with the loons swimming by, sun beating down on us, dipping hot cherries in sun-melted chocolate, not caring if any dripped on us, was one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve had good chocolate. I’ve had great, even fantastic chocolate, but no quality measure will ever match the pure primal pleasure of our chocolate-dipped cherries in the wilds of NW Ontario.

  11. Virginia: Yes, tasting chocolate is indeed like tasting wine and very subjective. All a person can do is say they like this or that or why they like it. They can’t expect others to necessarily agree with their assessments.

    That’s interesting how the chocolate shop in Tofino could pick out the fact that one gift was for a man, and the other for a woman with a refined palette.

    Wendy: You have painted such an amazing picture for us regarding your chocolate experience by the lake. THANK YOU! You have captured the magic of chocolate. It is indeed all about the experience. Who you’re sharing it with, your mood, what other accompaniments you may be enjoying at the time (i.e. having it with wine, coffee, tea will change your level of appreciation for any given product.) I will definitely be exploring that concept in my book.

  12. Doreen says:

    Well, I’ve finally had the pleasure of trying the SOMA single origin truffles. They are amazing, but not quite as delectable as the Norman Love BLACK — primarily because the BLACK truffles are truly a work of art, and as joyous to look at and touch as they are to eat. The SOMA truffles are just plain chocolate without Love’s colourful artistry. In a blind taste test, it might be a different story, but for me, the visual impact is nearly as important as the taste.

  13. Thanks to Judith of the “Mostly About Chocolate” Blog for meeting with me in Toronto, bringing a bag of British chocolate for me to sample, and helping me set up appointments with some amazing British chocolatiers. Stay tuned to this blog for updates, but if you love chocolate and aren’t already subscribed, check out Judith’s blog at: http://mostlyaboutchocolate.com/. She’s reviewed some of the best — including SOMA!

  14. I could go for one of those truffles right about now. Douglas fir?? So bizarre, but sounds tasty.

    • Thanks for dropping into the blog, Robin.

      Yes, the Douglas Fir truffles are not only divine in the mouth, but enticing to look at as they’re shaped in the triangular design of a fir tree. It may sound bizarre, but I assure you … they are marvellous!

  15. Dee Gibney says:

    I had dutifully avoided Soma (waistline and pocket book) but you reminded me so I wended my way through the fake flea market that was part of a movie set (typical of the goings-on here in the Historic Distillery District) to Soma last evening and bought my favorite: a big dark chocolate wheel with almonds implanted across the surface. I had to have a piece of it right then and there.

    Soma is are now making the round 10 inch hunk of heaven so thick that you can’t simply snap off a piece with your fingers. So there I stood, at the by the chocolate espresso machine, looking all professional with my briefcase — and unceremoniously took what I hope was a delicate bite from the edge of the chocolate wheel. And another. I could barely sink my teeth into it it was so gloriously thick.

    And then, to avoid the impression I was going to devour it all on the spot, I moved outdoors to a little bench outside the store, and yes, I have to admit, took a third bite. The theatre crowd rushing by didn’t seem to notice this chocoholic in action. One last nibble for good measure and I popped into by briefcase and headed home past the rolling cameras and busy “flea market”.

    There is no equal. I had not indulged in this gorgeous hunk of chocolate ambrosia since last year (when I was kept in continuous supply by a doting “friend”). Relationships come and go but chocolate endures.

    • Absolutely LOVE your last line, Dee. That is priceless, and so true!

      Yes, SOMA is truly a gem. Try the single origin truffles. They are amazing! But much more delicate than your chocolate wheel. SOMA has chocolate for every mood and occasion. How lucky you are to live right outside their door!

      Hope to visit SOMA again later this year and will connect with you then.

  16. Greetings, Doreen. My favorite chocolate — the one that still makes my mouth water after all these years? It was actually in July 2002, at Monte Carlo’s ‘Chocolaterie de Monaco’ that a friend and I ordered an incredible chocolate drink. The flecks of rich, dark chocolate swimming in the milk were just fantastique!

    • Thanks for sharing that, Tricia. I’ve not yet been to Monaco, but hope to get there some day.

      Drinking chocolate is now quite the fashion, so you’ll likely be able to find similar offerings to what you had in Monaco at different locations much closer to home!

      Thanks for dropping in here, and for joining the conversation. I hope you’ll return again soon. We’ll always making new discoveries on the blog.

  17. Nicholas2 says:

    Ontario’s liquor board has sweetened an already sweet deal for the federal government and foreign diplomats as it chops the prices they pay for beer, wine and booze almost in half.Toronto control 4

  18. Lauren says:

    yum! I’ll need to visit some of these places. The hot chocolate at Soma is SOOO good.

  1. January 31, 2012

    […] I discover on my upcoming trip to Toronto. If I’m lucky, I’ll have time to discover SOMA‘s new location. They’re definitely one of my favourite things about Toronto. But there […]

  2. February 17, 2012

    […] 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 […]

Leave a Reply

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

CommentLuv badge