Valentine’s Day is just days away. As a substitute of stressing a couple of gift, go old style and say it with chocolate, something decadent and handcrafted.
Toronto has an array of chocolate makers to pick from, including artisans allotting small-batch bonbons in neighbourhoods across the town.
“Our bonbons at all times steal the show. There’s just something to be said about having a pleasant date night with some chocolate and flowers on Valentine’s Day,” says Toronto chocolatier Kata Ambrus, who owns Chocolat de Kat on St. Clair Avenue West in Toronto.
Ambrus and her team create unique flavour combos which can be hand-painted, making candies which can be almost too beautiful to eat. Paintbrushes, sponges and even airbrushes are used to create bites of chocolate art.
The Valentine’s Day collection features a charcuterie board-inspired box dubbed the “Char-cutie” Collection. It’s a combination of classic flavours comparable to Tiramisu, Très Leches and Pretzel Praline, and unique combos comparable to Honey Ritz Parm and Gin Negroni.
From beautifully crafted chocolate bars wrapped in Japanese paper to bonbons stuffed with silky ganache, listed below are six more local chocolatiers crafting artisanal treats to gift this Valentine’s Day.
Hearts will likely be aflutter when gifted a classic heart-shaped box of handcrafted chocolates from artisan chocolatier Laura Slack. She is thought for luxurious bars in flavours comparable to Hawaiian pink salt caramel, creamy milk chocolate candied rose or her newest, strawberry filled dark chocolate. Each bar is hand-painted in luxurious colors after which wrapped in authentic Japanese Chiyogami paper, making it a pleasant gift for the senses. Shop in person at Maisonette, Slack’s charming shop within the Distillery District, or order online.
Decadent dark chocolate, and heart-shaped meltaways in peppermint or raspberry are popular favourites and likewise vegan-friendly, says pastry chef Karalee LaRochelle, who founded LaRochelle Confections in 2019. LaRochelle focuses on salted honey caramels, buttercrunch toffee and artisan chocolate bars just like the Ooh Honey bar, made with 38 per cent milk chocolate and loaded with nuggets of house-made honeycomb sponge toffee with just three ingredients: local Rosewood Winery honey, organic cane sugar and baking soda.
Steven Tran Chocolates
After working in Michelin-starred restaurants and as executive pastry chef at Thomas Haas in Vancouver and the 4 Seasons Hotel, Steven Tran began his own business, Steven Tran Chocolates, in 2020. Discover flavours comparable to salted egg yolk custard, uji matcha, black sesame, butterscotch pudding and Thai coconut lime. A Valentine’s Day gift pack includes three chocolate bars and a nine-piece bonbon box.
Mariane Oliveira introduced Toronto to brigadeiros in 2015 after emigrating from Brazil and opening Mary’s Brigadeiro on the Danforth. A Brigadeiro is sort of a creamy truffle but with the slight chewiness of caramel, in flavours comparable to salted caramel crunch, hazelnut praline, dark raspberry or the classic Brazilian favourite: a semidark brigadeiro. The Valentine’s collection features a box of 12 handmade brigadeiros and a limited edition chocolate panettone.
Delight Chocolate caters to chocoholics in search of organic, fair trade-sourced chocolate and has a formidable choice of dairy-free/vegan options, including a vegan Valentine’s Day box featuring flavours comparable to strawberry rosewater and coconut caramel. Owners Jennifer Rashleigh and Jeff Brown handcraft chocolate at their Dundas Street West shop and incorporate local ingredients comparable to fresh fruit from local farms, made into jam for seasonal favourites like Ontario raspberry.
Think beyond the usual flower bouquet and deliver an Enchanted Chocolate Rose from Mellis Chocolate. Partners Erwin Chen and Séverine Moreau use local ingredients comparable to Ontario blueberries, strawberries, buckthorn berries and rhubarb to create unique flavour combos, including vegan-friendly options. The chocolate bloom contains a raspberry chocolate rose shell stuffed with Kamouraska wild rose marshmallow, dark chocolate leaves moulded from real rose leaves and a base stuffed with freeze-dried raspberries and lychees.
SOMA is the OG of local small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolate, and founders David Castellan and Cynthia Leung are the town’s most celebrated chocolatiers. Since 2003 they’ve been sourcing beans from around the globe, creating an intensive assortment of chocolate treats, and now have locations within the Distillery District, King Street West and Parkdale. For Valentine’s Day, try their Wild Heart, an enormous, shaggy Black Forest cake truffle, or Damask Rose drinking chocolate.