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alternative to Soma

  • prima Dec 14, 2012 05:18 PM

What other chocolates do Chowhounds recommend? I'm interested in chcolates or truffles, not bars. I also like Swiss Master, but looking for something new.

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  1. have you tried xococava? they have a pretty nice range of truffles.

    1 Reply
    1. re: autopi

      I've only tried their ice cream. Thanks for reminding me about xococava.

    2. But...but...it's SOMA! Why would you want to replace them? I dream about their chocolates and gelato.

      :o)

      6 Replies
      1. re: TorontoJo

        :-) I've brought the same friend a box 2 years in a row, and the last time I brought them, one of her children mentioned that she didn't like Soma! Just thought I'd give something else for a change. Haven't brought them a box of Stubbe or Xococava chocolates before- maybe I'll do that. Or maybe I'll stick with Soma. ;-)

        1. re: prima

          Remember how much you loved and how special you felt when sharing your mother's chocolates when you were a child? I'll bet you can remember your mom's favourite right now. Skip Soma and give memories they'll share.

          I agree with Wahooty on Belgian Chocolate Shop. Ordering in advance for store pick-up is advised unless you want to while away some time ogling choices and waiting in line.
          http://www.orderline.com/chocolate/ca...

          Perhaps Soma's just a little too fancy. People always forget about Laura Secord. It hits that spot between high end and factory produced quite nicely I'd say. It's good bang for the buck making it a good choice for families. Buy from the showcase for the freshest on offer.
          http://www.laurasecord.ca/en/home/index

          1. re: Googs

            Thanks, Googs.

            Our family favourite is Mrs. See's, so we stock up when we're in the western States. ;-)

            Purdy's is also good bang for the buck.

            Yep, Soma is too fancy for some people. I brought a big box of 4 flavours (feuilletine, spicy Mayan dome, lemon ginger, and espresso crisp) to a cooking class, and I was surprised how many people hate coffee in their chocolate. Or hate ginger in their chocolate. Or don't understand the Mayan dome (cinnamon and chili). So outspoken, and so friggin' picky, considering the chocolate was free (to them), and $2/chocolate for me. That's why only certain friends and family receive Soma from me!

            1. re: prima

              Kids. Pfft. You can't live with them, you can't sell 'em.

              I like Mrs See's packaging ideas. Having a dark chocolate box of soft centres and another of nuts & chews sure would solve a lot of problems for Beau and I.

              1. re: Googs

                Ha! They weren't kids complaining with that particular box of Soma, they were the Baby Boomers in my cooking class!

                I like Mrs. See's packaging ideas, too.

            2. re: Googs

              I'm a fan of Leonidas if I'm looking for something not quite as 'fancy' as soma, but a step up from pot of gold.

        2. Eitelbach has been around for years and they also have baumkuchen on offer!

          4 Replies
          1. re: jlunar

            thanks, jlunar!

            1. re: jlunar

              just went to their website (as i was not familiar with baumkuchen) and it says they aren't in operation :(

              1. re: auberginegal

                Oh no...!! They've been alive for years, I didn't even think to check. :( What a shame!

                1. re: jlunar

                  agreed. earlier this year i stopped by and decided against picking up some truffles...definitely regret that now :(

            2. Stubbe! Mmmmmm
              :)

              5 Replies
              1. re: CocoaChanel

                Good gourd!! Stubbe's Kir Royale and Pear William truffles are da bomb!

                (To me, the champagne ones taste like what I imagine feet would taste like. They are the only ones I have come across that I genuinely dislike)

                1. re: CocoaChanel

                  Moving my post. Please remove.

                  1. re: CocoaChanel

                    @CocoaChanel: To some fetishists that might be a good thing.

                    1. re: Googs

                      Bwahahahahaha, Googs!

                    2. re: CocoaChanel

                      I'll keep the Kir Royale and Poire William in mind next time I'm in the 'hood. ;-)

                  2. The Belgian Chocolate Shop in the Beaches.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Wahooty

                      I realized I didn't elaborate on my choice. If your friends "don't like" Soma....the BCS makes beautifully perishable chocolates. The kind that melt very quickly because of the butterfat content. I adore Soma, but their chocolates are on the structural side - it's a very different style.

                      1. re: Wahooty

                        Thanks Wahooty. Will try BCS next time I'm in the neighbourhood.

                        1. re: Wahooty

                          Melt quickly like on a transatlantic flight in a suitcase? Or quickly once they're in my hot little paw? Trying to decide on a box to tkae back to London for a present for my mum...

                          1. re: gembellina

                            Quickly in your hot little paw. :) When I brought similar chocolates back from Belgium, they were kept adequately refrigerated in my checked baggage. I imagine this time of year they would hold up even better.

                      2. Odile makes pretty chocolates with a range of flavors and products that would probably please someone who didn't care for Soma. Unless, of course, they're Pot of Gold-types...in that case, The Nutty Chocolatier?

                        1. Xococava do nice things with strange flavours if you want that sort of thing. Jerez, olive, chorizo, and a box assortment of bars that are made to taste with particular wines.

                          If you don't mind a bit of a hike, Coco on Jane near Annette does nice hand made truffles, and also a some interesting shaping work. I was thinking of getting one of my daughters one of the decorated high heels. Chocolate sculpture with different colours providing the accents and details.

                          Love Soma, but last time I was in the area, they had the black health department sticker up, the one that indicates they are heavily infested with tourists, shop with caution.

                          1. Odile chocolate on Dundas makes some really good chocolates. Some can be on the expensive side, but she sources fair-trade chocolate from many different regions. She also has delicious brownies. It's 3-4 doors down from Porchetta & Co (west).

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: justxpete

                              Thanks, JXP and SweetSweetPotato. Think I'll give Odile a try.

                              1. re: prima

                                Let me know what you think!

                                Ps, I *think* they are closed Sun-Mon or Sun-Tues, but not entirely certain.

                                1. re: justxpete

                                  http://www.odilechocolat.com/

                                  Odile Chocolat retail store

                                  829 Dundas Street West

                                  open:

                                  Wednesday to Friday 11am to 6pm

                                  Saturday 10am to 6pm

                                  Sunday 11am to 5 pm

                                  also available at

                                  •La Fromagerie - 868 College Street,

                                  416-516-4278

                                  •The Mercantile - 297 Roncesvalles Avenue,

                                  416-531-7563

                                  •The Healthy Butcher - 298 Eglinton St. West,

                                  416-674-2642

                                  •Le Thobors - 627 Mt. Pleasant Road,

                                  416-544-1733

                            2. I like Delight.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: MissBingBing

                                thanks!
                                http://www.delightchocolate.ca/chocol...

                                1. re: prima

                                  Coco is the one of the former makers from Delight gone rogue.

                                  1. re: Snarf

                                    Thanks, snarf.

                                    I'll try Coco in the New Year.

                                    https://twitter.com/cococrafted

                                    http://www.coco-chocolates.ca/

                              2. Thanks for all the suggestions. I ended up buying several assorted boxes of chocolates, some cardamom caramels and some caramel brulee caramels at Odile, and 2 boxes of 8 different chocolates at Delight (spiced plum, vanilla, rum butter, cappuccino, ginger, orange almond, non-dairy peanut butter, caramel)
                                Once I was at Odile, I realized I had purchased Odile chocolates at Dash Kitchen a few years ago.

                                I found the rum butter, vanilla and ginger Delight chocolates were on the delicate side of flavour, compared to other filled chocolates I've purchased recently. I didn't try the other Delight flavours that I purchased.

                                Odile's cardamom caramel chocolate was interesting, and loved Odile's caramel brule chocolate. I didn't try the boxed Odile chocolates.

                                The friends who received chocolates were very happy with them. The Odile chocolates seem to be a contemporary European style chocolate, whereas the Delight chocolates seem to be an updated, organic take on traditional North American-style chocolates.

                                I also stopped by Stubbe, but most of the chocolate filling flavours seemed to be on the conservative and traditional side, and I wanted a selection that was a little more unique for these particular gifts.

                                I'll definitely return to Odile. I have a feeling I'll be alternating between Soma and Odile for chocolate gifts from now on.

                                If only one of the chocolate shops would start up a loyalty programme.I've already suggested a loyalty programme to Soma on several occasions. Hopefully this suggestion will eventually make its way up the O & B ladder.

                                Odile Chocolat flavours:
                                Specialty Truffles
                                • Mexicana
                                Tequila, candied lime peel, chipotle pepper
                                • Romance
                                Champagne, black pepper, rose petals

                                • Caribbean
                                Rum, candied orange peel, cinnamon, clove, cayenne

                                • Bollywood
                                Cardamom, silver leaf

                                • Luigi
                                Grappa, roasted hazelnuts

                                • Chiyo
                                Sake, Japanese green tea

                                • Sea Breeze Vodka, candied grapefruit peel

                                • Gentleman
                                Port wine, candied clementine, walnut

                                Traditional Truffles
                                • Cognac
                                • Cognac, candied orange peel, Madagascar cocoa

                                • Cognac, candied young ginger

                                • Poire William eau de vie, candied pear

                                • Bourbon vanilla, candied lime peel

                                • Verveine (lemon verbena)

                                • Lavender

                                • Moka (espresso coffee)

                                • Chai Masala

                                • Lemon

                                New
                                • Fleur de sel caramel
                                • Vanilla
                                • Raspberry vinegar
                                • Burnt caramel
                                • Lavender caramel

                                Canadiana
                                • Rose
                                Wild Canadian roses (Forbes product)
                                • Mushroom
                                Wild Canadian black trumpet (Forbes product)

                                • Icewine
                                Canadian Icewine Cabernet Franc, late harvest

                                Candied fruit
                                • Lime peel
                                • Lemon peel

                                • Orange peel

                                • Clementine peel

                                • Young ginger

                                Delight Current Chocolate Flavours:

                                (Some chocolates may change)
                                Peanut Butter
                                Ginger
                                Limoncello
                                Maple Butter
                                Toasted Hazelnut
                                Ice Wine
                                Caramel
                                Peanut Butter
                                Eggnog
                                Extra Dark
                                Almond Orange
                                Rum Butter
                                Quebec Blue Cheese
                                Spiced Plum
                                Fig and Balsamic
                                Grapefruit and Chili
                                Raspberry
                                Walnut and Fleur de Sel
                                Vanilla Bean
                                Orange Spice
                                Chocolate Caramel with Smoked Sea Salt
                                Fresh Mint
                                Cappucino
                                Hazelnut Toffee

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: prima

                                  The Chiyo sounds amazing. Did you have that one?

                                  1. re: Googs

                                    Didn't have a chance to try the Chiyo.

                                  2. re: prima

                                    Glad you enjoyed Odile. She's a very nice, hard working lady. I alternate between Odile and Soma as well, but for the purpose of eating - not gifting - haha. Leonidas is yet another place I frequent - but only for their milk chocolate and pralines. They do those exceptionally well, despite it being more of a chain and not nearly as exclusive and exceptional as Odile and Soma.

                                  3. The Nutty Chocolatier on Roncy
                                    Stubbe at Christie & Dupont
                                    Xococava at Delsile Court

                                    1. Rogers chocolates (Empress box with a good variety) are extremely tasty. But my new addiction is Mrs. See's candies which I picked up at the airport in San Diego. I bought them for my husband but ended up eating them all myself. These to me are everything a chocolate should be.

                                      1. Also consider Ambiance Chocolat. Very nice flavours.

                                        http://www.ambiancechocolat.ca/

                                        1. The Chocolateria on Roncy is excellent. Very good truffles. The salted caramel 'sea turtle' is worth the trip. Great homemade ice cream, too.

                                          First class owners.

                                          http://www.thechocolateria.ca/

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: tgraybam

                                            Agreed! They make good truffles. I wasn't as keen on the turtles (caramel wasn't a nice consistency) but everything else has been good.

                                          2. I went to what I thought was the Belgian Chocolate Shop in the Beaches but what was actually Chocolate by Wickerhead, about a block further west. Chocs were very nice and had some unusual flavours, but I wasn't completely thrilled. My mum enjoyed them though. Looking forward to trying the right shop next time!