When it comes to hot chocolate, Torontonians are spoiled for choice. Cafes have become very creative when dreaming up flavourful new concoctions of our favourite winter drink. Whether it’s spicy, sweet, or filled with a variety of bitters, these are our four favourite places to warm up on a frigid afternoon.
Fika’s lavender white hot chocolate is one of the most unique cups of hot cocoa in the city. Drops of lavender bitters and vanilla simple syrup add just enough sweetness to the creamy beverage. Served in a Crayola-hued Le Creuset mug, sipping this cafe’s specialty while surrounded by minimalist IKEA furniture and white walls will rejuvenate your day. Fittingly, the cafe’s moniker is the Swedish noun for “coffee break,” or the verb “to go out for coffee.” This sweet treat is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up in Kensington Market.
Bobbette and Belle
This steamy mug of Bobbette and Belle’s hot chocolate is as close as you’ll get to a drinkable chocolate bar. Lindor’s milk and dark chocolates are blended with cocoa powder and sugar, and the result is a silky, velvety texture that tickles your taste buds. The house-made vanilla marshmallows are torched on top of the drink, and their toasted shells are a fitting complement to the cocoa. Indulge yourself at one of two well-designed locations: the original shop in Leslieville and the new store at Yonge and Lawrence. You’ll feel like you’re in a living room inspired by Design Sponge, with extravagantly printed wallpaper, framed prints of whisks and other baking wares, and large reclaimed wooden tables. There are also gift sets, including a package of hot cocoa mix, a pack of the gooey marshmallows, and a gingerbread cookie peeking out from a white mug—a great present for those who love sweets.
If you are looking to replicate the Parisian cafe experience in Toronto, Douce France is for you, located uptown on Yonge Street, just north of Eglinton. The cafe imports its products directly from France, and it is most famous for its shipment of hot chocolate from the popular Angelina cafe in the City of Lights. Those who have a serious sweet tooth will love the decadence of this liquid chocolate made from cocoa, milk, and a dash of vanilla (though the exact recipe is a secret, of course!). It is the ideal cafe visit: sit on iconic Parisian latticed chairs facing the window, pour the rich hot chocolate from a small carafe, and top it off with freshly made whipped cream. Served by a Parisian waitress in a crisp apron, it is an opportunity to practice your French. Magnifique!
Known as the best chocolate maker in the city, SOMA’s Mayan version of hot chocolate is downright addictive. This Mayan take is layered with a special blend of spices, chili peppers, orange peel, and ginger mixed with cocoa. Choose to drink the rich concoction as an intense shot or in a mug with milk or hot water on the large wooden staircase at the Distillery District location. The spicy burst of flavour will kick start your day. Both locations (King Street West and the Distillery District) also feature a huge range of chocolate products, including truffles, gelato, cookies, and fantastic chocolates made to look like parts of a tree—bark, branches, twigs, and sprouts.