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Help from Chocolate Connoissuers (especially Dark Chocolate)

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Sinfulia Dec 17, 2009 04:05 PM

Looking for a gift for a Dark Chocolate lover. I usually just end up at Godiva because I don't know anything about chocolate. Anyone have any other suggestions?

  1. f
    felyse03 Dec 24, 2009 08:15 AM

    No particular favorite. You want to read the label, look for chocolate with 50 to 70 percent cocoa solids, makes a crisp noise when you break it, tastes rich, low sugar content, no fillers, etc. http://creativedelites.com/2009/12/24...

    1. Ediblethoughts Dec 19, 2009 04:55 PM

      I just remembered how great the dark chocolate was from Sitting Around Eating Bonbons. I ordered chocolate to be delivered and I'm a bit jaded on truffles but the chocolate quality in these was wonderful and they were huge!

      http://www.sittingaroundeatingbonbons...

      1. e
        eatereater123 Dec 19, 2009 02:24 PM

        If you haven't already done your shopping, I suggest asking Odile at Odile chocolates to help put together some selections of chocolate for you. I am giving my hubby a gift basket made up of different chocolates from her shop. She only stocks dark chocolate so I think your gift recipient will be quite pleased with whatever you get them.
        I first came across her store just walking down Dundas West, and then came across her again at the One of a Kind Show. I guarantee the chocolate is worth the trip.

        Odile Chocolat
        829 Dundas Street West
        416-538-1016

        1 Reply
        1. re: eatereater123
          m
          mammoth Dec 19, 2009 04:18 PM

          I just picked up some chocolates from Odile yesterday. I bought a container of assorted for a gift (lucky recipient) and picked up a few for my hubby and me. Odile gave us a sample of one of her newest flavours (rasberry vinegar) - divine. We tried the Fleur de sel caramel (my favourite - the perfect balance of salt, caramel and chocolate) and Bourbon vanilla, candied lime peel (also very good). Odile was very gracious and you could tell she was very passionate about chocolate. Highly recommended.

        2. hippotatomus Dec 19, 2009 11:21 AM

          I'm not a connoisseur.. but I tried one at Bayview and Eglinton.. just a bit south of Eglinton on Bayview... Don't know the name.. but I got a dark chocolate covered marshmallow and it was delicious! The marshmallow isn't that sweet so it makes a really good combination.
          Plus the store is really cute and smells heavenly.. reminds me a bit of the one in Chocolat.. but I might be exaggerating.

          1. y
            ylsf Dec 18, 2009 08:41 PM

            A couple of more suggestions... There is a great little website called chocodirect that sells all kinds of higher end chocolates. They are based out in Quebec (Montreal if I remember correctly). I know your timing is tight if you want it for Christmas so you will have to check for shipping times. I ordered from them twice a few years ago. Both of my orders were from their clearance section which usually has some great deals.

            http://www.chocodirect.com/

            They included "bonus" bars last time I ordered to so you could try something new/different.

            A second suggestion, for something a bit unique is Chocosol on St. Joseph street (yonge/st. Joseph). I came across a blog posting tonight talking about their open house. I have had their chocolate and hot/cold chocolate drink at various farmer's markets before... Here is the write up on their openhouse:
            http://rawketscience.blogspot.com/2009/12/cacao-lofts-open-house-and-great-gifts.html

            They have gift baskets for sale there. Here is the link to the facebook page for the event:

            http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid...

            1. s
              Sinfulia Dec 18, 2009 01:02 PM

              Wow, thanks for all the insights. I'd love to go check out Soma if I have the time, but will probably end up at Leonidas. I'll probably pick up some stuff from a grocer as well. On that note, which high-end grocers in the downtown/danforth area carry the best selection?

              Thanks again.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Sinfulia
                jlunar Dec 18, 2009 08:49 PM

                Hmn. The only place on the Danforth that I recall having something was Dash and they had Cluizel bars. Though I don't know if they still carry it. Any place like Pusateri's will have it.

                Also, I'll put in my approval of Chocodirect! lots of interesting finds. Got a rather nice organic mint chocolate last time. Can't think of the name right now, sorry.

                1. re: Sinfulia
                  s
                  simplepieman Dec 19, 2009 10:11 AM

                  At St. Lawrence Market you can get Cluizel and Amedei, plus most of the brands I mentioned earlier.

                2. jlunar Dec 18, 2009 10:36 AM

                  As per someone else's suggestion, I would go to a high-end grocery store and find brands like Perlus, Cluizel, valrhona, Amadei etc. And snag the interesting ones. Single origins are nice to have. I really like beans from the Dominican. My favourite is from DeVries, but he doesn't seem to be selling retail anymore, but he did true single-plantation chocolates and made them himself. Really phenomenally tasty chocolate.

                  For an idea for brands, here's a photo of the massive choco-pile we had:
                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlunar/531107994/

                  And then we did a tasting of a single uh.. I think percentage, actually:
                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlunar/5...

                  I would get a pile and maybe a book on tasting chocolate or the origins of chocolate, etc. Don't know if your friend needs it though if they're into dark chocolate. Depends!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jlunar
                    b
                    Boodah Dec 18, 2009 12:27 PM

                    I forgot to mention Scharffenberger, their milk chocolate is so intense it actually tastes like dark chocolate.

                  2. Baelsette Dec 18, 2009 08:48 AM

                    I totally agree re: Leonidas. My belgian husband introduced me to the brand years ago and it's fantastic!
                    In the past few years I have discovered Stubbes at Dupont and Christie. Everything is made in house and quality is top notch!

                    http://www.stubbechocolates.com/

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Baelsette
                      i
                      itsvince Dec 18, 2009 11:08 AM

                      Stubbe's is great. Their cakes are awesome too.

                    2. s
                      simplepieman Dec 17, 2009 09:12 PM

                      If you have the time and inclination, you could try something a bit different and assemble your own gift basket. You could get an inexpensive woven basket from somewhere like Pier 1 and fill it with an assortment of dark chocolate, perhaps bars of different sizes and intensities. Seventy to eighty-five percent is a good range for most dark chocolate fans, I would think. Green & Black's, Dolfin, Ethiquable, Sarotti, and Anthon Berg are all IMO decent mid-priced brands.

                      1. b
                        Boodah Dec 17, 2009 06:50 PM

                        In my opinion the Rolls Royce of chocolate is Spruengli, especially the Cru Sauvage. Not cheap and you have to mail order it from Switzerland but it'll blow your hair off. I've brought boxes of Cru Sauvage back from trips to Zurich on several occasions and people just go crazy for them.

                        http://www.spruengli.com
                        (Cru Sauvage are listed in the Truffles section)

                        1. Wahooty Dec 17, 2009 05:42 PM

                          I second Soma - good chocolate, interesting flavors. If you want the more traditional Belgian approach, try The Belgian Chocolate Shop in the Beaches. It's a teeny shop on Queen Very Very East - almost to Victoria Park. Really lovely, FRESH chocolates, made by actual Belgians. The kind of shop that I walked right past Godiva to get to in Belgium.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Wahooty
                            Full tummy Dec 19, 2009 04:13 PM

                            O.K. I like Soma, but I have to say that I have not enjoyed all their chocolates and sometimes feel they are pushing the boundaries of what I like--perhaps a more traditional and conservative, but, nevertheless, quality chocolate. I second the recommendation for the Belgian Chocolate Shop. This place has superb, handmade chocolates with amazing flavours but that don't push the edge quite like Soma does. More of a safe bet for a gift. They are also very beautiful and glossy... They've got quite an operation there, and a real love for their craft.

                            Here's their online ordering:
                            http://www.orderline.com/chocolate/

                            More information:
                            http://www.torontolife.com/guide/food...

                          2. c
                            cheesymama Dec 17, 2009 05:40 PM

                            Definitely Soma!

                            1. f
                              FoodJourno Dec 17, 2009 04:57 PM

                              Don't go Godiva, don't go Leonidas. Both are just places that get chocolate and cover something in it. You can't beat Soma, you just can't, the problem is price. McEwan's carries some Galler chocolates which are incredible. Just don't go to one of those retail "chocolate" shops, they are always terrible. In my quiet opinion.........

                              1. n
                                nicky63220 Dec 17, 2009 04:56 PM

                                Godiva is way overpriced. Try looking online.

                                1. TorontoJo Dec 17, 2009 04:18 PM

                                  OMG, Soma for sure. Pretty much anything from there is amazing. Talk to the staff to help you pick.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: TorontoJo
                                    Davwud Dec 18, 2009 03:17 AM

                                    I have to agree with Jo.

                                    Now, calling me a connoisseur is sorta like calling a heroin addict a medication connoisseur so take that with a grain of salt.

                                    DT

                                    1. re: TorontoJo
                                      Ediblethoughts Dec 18, 2009 10:27 AM

                                      Soma is good in quality but if you want a wide selection of chocolates, I think Leonidas is a better bet. I haven't been to Soma in a while but last time I was there, the selection was mainly focused on different country's chocolate----not "chocolates" (i.e. chocolate with nuts, fruit, etc rather than pure chocolate and only chocolate). There were some chocolates but not many, and definitely not many where dark chocolate was the base.

                                    2. Ediblethoughts Dec 17, 2009 04:09 PM

                                      I think Godiva is highly over-rated for the most part. My fave chocolate shop is Leonidas (the two locations I know and like best are in Yorkville in the underground across from Holt Renfrew and at the Loblaws at St. Clair and Bathurst). They have some very nice dark chocolate selections.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Ediblethoughts
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                                        Chocolatemama Dec 17, 2009 04:25 PM

                                        I agree absolutely 100% !!! Leonidas is far better than Godiva. For me, Leonidas and Bernard Callebaut are the best.

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