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Chocolate to go

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idnas May 31, 2007 05:32 PM

I've been invited to a party where guests are to bring a few pieces of great chocolate - truffles, brownies, whatever. I don't cook so I'm definitely bringing something from a local restaurant, bakery or chocolate shop. I'd love to bring something unique but I'll settle for just something great. Recommendations?

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  1. TorontoJo RE: idnas May 31, 2007 05:49 PM

    Go to Soma in the Distillery District. Many unique items there. If beverages are an option, get a package of the Mayan hot chocolate mix. Mix it onsite in the highly concentrated mode (rather than diluted with lots of milk) and offer shots of it.

    1. mrsleny RE: idnas May 31, 2007 08:38 PM

      I agree with the Soma recommendation. I quite like their dark chocolate dipped candied orange peel. I have bought the Mayan hot chocolate mix but it never quite turns out as good as the store's.

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        myriamseers RE: idnas May 31, 2007 08:40 PM

        I second soma. Not only are their truffles, house-made chocolate bars and hot chocolate mix wonderful, but they have great cookies too. Another great option is senses; there is a location on yonge and also one in the soho metropolitan hotel.

        1. cava_girl RE: idnas May 31, 2007 09:34 PM

          I'm very curious to check out Soma. It sounds great and I love the Distillery.

          My fave chocolates are MarieBelle Chocolates from Soho, NYC. I have not recently looked for them in Toronto, but I read on these boards that Niche Coffee & Tea Company carried them a few months ago. They now have two locations:

          http://www.nichecoffee.com/

          They have always been a hit when I've presented them to friends and family as a gift. They are a true piece of art [the process of decorating them is akin to silk-screening by hand]. They are modern and unique and they have an endless variety of dee-lish flavours -- including caipirinha, earl grey tea, champagne, dulce de leche, passion fruit, manjari, lavender, etc. -- they're incredible. And they come wrapped in their signature blue box with brown ribbon. The wonderful thing about their Soho store is that you can actually hand pick the exact flavours that you want for your box of chocolates.

          Here's the official site if you'd like to see what they look like:

          http://www.mariebelle.com/

          Their hot chocolate is a huge hit in NYC -- people buy them as gifts, weeks in advance before they sell out in December for the holiday season. The hot chocolate comes in a variety of flavours but the Maya Hot Chocolate and the Dark Aztec Hot Chocolate seem to be the biggest hits.

          I know that back in December, Chapters in Toronto was selling MarieBelle hot chocolate in their gift department, but I didn't see the blue boxes of chocolates.

          If anyone on these boards can confirm whether Niche still carries MarieBelle [or any other place that carries MB], I'd love to hear about it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: cava_girl
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            idnas RE: cava_girl Jun 2, 2007 12:36 PM

            I checked Niche Coffee today and they don't carry the chocolates. Too bad, since they look lovely. If anybody knows somewhere in Toronto that carries MarieBelle, I'd also love to hear. (I'm not sure if they ship to Canada, but I like to see things like this up close before I choose.)

            1. re: idnas
              cava_girl RE: idnas Jun 5, 2007 10:02 PM

              Oh, that's too bad. :-( They unfortunately don't ship to Canada [as of yet]. If I hear of any news, I'll certainly post here.

              Luckily, though, there seems to be no shortage of great recommendations for chocolates on this board! I'm sure that you'll find something fabulous.

          2. m
            myriamseers RE: idnas May 31, 2007 11:17 PM

            If you want to go for baked goods rather than truffles, pusateri's carries a wonderful array of pastries from bakeries all over toronto. You would have a lot of selection there, and everything I have bought from there has been very fresh.

            1 Reply
            1. re: myriamseers
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              idnas RE: myriamseers Jun 2, 2007 12:50 PM

              I took a look at Pusateri's and there are a few possibilities there. What caught my eye was an assortment of chocolate souffles - caramel, raspberry and coconut (three different ones, not combined). Has anyone tried those?

            2. d
              ddelicious RE: idnas Jun 1, 2007 05:49 AM

              Frangipane bakery has an amazing triple chocolate cake. Best cake I've ever had. I think its on Madison Ave but I could be wrong.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ddelicious
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                professor plum RE: ddelicious Jun 1, 2007 05:54 AM

                JS bon bon also has very pretty choclates if you are going more for an aesthetic wow.

                1. re: professor plum
                  estufarian RE: professor plum Jun 1, 2007 06:22 AM

                  I second JS bon bon. Especially if you want exotic flavours (e.g. earl grey tea, multiple spices). Their 'flavours' are more diverse than Soma - and the chocolate itself is pretty good (although I'm told that Soma's is better - never done a direct comparison).
                  I also like Stubbe - but haven't been to his new location (opposite the Loblaws on Dupont).

                  1. re: estufarian
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                    idnas RE: estufarian Jun 2, 2007 12:46 PM

                    A couple of helpful friends and I sampled half a dozen JS Bon Bon flavours this morning and I was very impressed. Some of the spice combinations are incredible. My vote went to the tarragon and black pepper, though one of my friends thought that one was terrible. We also tried coriander and lime, earl grey tea, maple, caramel and vietnamese pepper, and bourbon pecan. All lovely and a definite possibility for the party.

                2. re: ddelicious
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                  idnas RE: ddelicious Jun 2, 2007 12:40 PM

                  I checked out Frangipane this morning and they do have some lovely looking cakes. There's one listed on their web site that has "drunken sour cherries" in it and chocolate cream cheese frosting. It sounds awesome. They didn't have one but said I could special order it. I might do that since the party isn't till next week, though I think chocolates or squares would work better than a cake. I might just get the cake for a special meal at home. By the way, their fruit tarts that really looked amazing. I passed on them for today, since I was on a chocolate hunt, but I have a feeling I'll be back for some of those.

                3. icey RE: idnas Jun 1, 2007 06:05 AM

                  I would recommend Soma as well. They are now selling pints to go of great gelato. They make an amazing chocolate sorbet....so rich, you w ould never know that there is no milk in it. I think that if you give out small scoops of that, it would be a big hit!

                  1. s
                    Scary Bill RE: idnas Jun 1, 2007 06:59 AM

                    Soma is great, unique and incredibly expensive. I don't like paying for all the fancy packaging, trendy location, etc.

                    Bernard Callebaut is great, more traditional (generally) and better value IMO. There are only two locations in the area.

                    http://www.bernardcallebaut.com/users...

                    Oakville
                    194 Lakeshore Road East
                    (905) 339-2100


                    Toronto
                    4242 Dundas Street West
                    (416) 234-0611

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Scary Bill
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                      idnas RE: Scary Bill Jun 1, 2007 07:27 AM

                      Wow, thanks everyone. That's a lot of great suggestions. I guess I'll have to sample them all before the party! ;-)

                    2. j
                      Julie McCoy RE: idnas Jun 1, 2007 12:56 PM

                      Not sure where you are in the city, but I would also put in a vote for the baked chocolate items at Chocolate Heaven (Danforth just west of Donlands). Lots of delicious squares and cakes. Haven't tried the truffles as I haven't wanted to stray from the baked goods.
                      Also think Soma is a delicious choice.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Julie McCoy
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                        idnas RE: Julie McCoy Jun 1, 2007 01:54 PM

                        Thanks, Julie. I'm downtown so getting to Danforth and Donlands is easy. What are your favorite chocolate squares and cakes at Chocolate Heaven?

                        1. re: idnas
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                          Julie McCoy RE: idnas Jun 1, 2007 02:06 PM

                          Haven't had a bad one yet. One is a butter tart square with cranberries and chocolate. Also a cherry cheesecake + chocolate sqaure. The Heaven Cafe cake (?) is your basic grandma-style chocolate cake and is fantastic. This is a very small operation, but the results are promising.

                      2. SherylKirby RE: idnas Jun 1, 2007 02:39 PM

                        If you want something really unique, check out ChocoSol. <http://www.chocosoltraders.com/>

                        They vend at Dufferin Grove and the Brickworks farmer's markets, and have raw and roasted cacao beans and nibs, hot chocolate mixes and really good treats.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: SherylKirby
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                          idnas RE: SherylKirby Jun 1, 2007 09:28 PM

                          Another reason to check out those markets. I usually just go to SLM on Saturdays and I've been thinking about trying others, so I'll check out ChocoSol when I do. Nifty concept. I'd like to support them.

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                          idnas RE: idnas Jun 10, 2007 07:04 AM

                          Just to follow up, I ultimately decided on Salted Caramel chocolates from JS Bonbons. Of all the chocolate I've sampled over the past couple weeks, those are what stand out as the most delicious. The shell is dark chocolate and the centre is salty liquid caramel. Totally decadent.

                          I tasted a few other types of chocolate at the party last night, but since nothing was labeled I don't know what they were and where they came from. But none came close to the JS salted caramel. Well, maybe the fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate came close... It's hard to beat fresh strawberries this time of year, but that's really an apples and oranges (er, strawberries) comparison.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: idnas
                            estufarian RE: idnas Jun 10, 2007 09:15 AM

                            Thanks for responding. Now everybody who contributed has a chance to try these too.

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