Local Places for the Best Hot Chocolate

By Lori Straus

Everyone has their favourite coffee place, but how many people have a favourite hot chocolate place? Finding excellent hot chocolate can be a bit difficult: a lot of locales use commercial powdered cocoa mixed with whey powder and/or skim milk powder and copious amounts of sugar and dissolve the mixture in water. Add some whipped cream and you’re done. While tasty in a hurry, did you know that there are chocolate places in Ontario that put their own delicious spin on making hot chocolate? In this blog post, I’ll introduce you to a few businesses known for their hot chocolate, including two you can order from to have their well-known hot chocolate shipped directly to you.

SOMA Chocolate in Toronto

Doreen Pendracs is an award-winning author specializing in the world of chocolate and cacao. She has explored artisanal chocolate offerings throughout 20 countries to date. Her favourite place for hot chocolate in all of Ontario is SOMA Chocolate in Toronto.

The company roasts their beans onsite, allowing them to adjust the flavour of the chocolate to the particular characteristics of the bean. Like coffee and tea, chocolate connoisseurs look for the subtle differences in the chocolate they taste. It’s less about the sugar rush and more about the journey in flavour.

“Whether you’re enjoying SOMA’s single origin truffles, chocolate bars or confections, or even their made-from-scratch single origin hot chocolate, the full flavour of the cacao shines through,” Pendracs writes in her blog.

She particularly enjoys SOMA’s Fiji single origin, made-to-order hot chocolate, which they top with house-made marshmallows. “It has a rich chocolate flavour, is thick, creamy and not sweet at all. The perfect hot chocolate for connoisseurs.”

SOMA Chocolate also appeared on the lists of many hot chocolate reviews online. I visited the chocolate maker once at their Distillery District location and loved what I tried. But it was summer, so hot chocolate wasn’t on my mind. Definitely something on my list for next winter. SOMA Chocolate also offers delivery, so you can order different hot chocolate mixes to enjoy anywhere in Ontario.

10Eighteen Hot Chocolate in London

10Eighteen is a café in London’s Old East Village. It uses real chocolate, not cocoa powder, which gives their chocolate a thicker, richer texture, according to this online review. If you’d like to drink “s’mores in a cup,” ask for a shot of their toasted marshmallow syrup.

Tour a Chocolate Factory

Hummingbird Chocolate, in Almonte, along Ontario’s Mississippi River, is another bean-to-bar chocolate maker. Alongside a host of different flavours of chocolate, they sell single origin bars so you can compare the subtle differences between chocolates that come from different countries.

But if you’re up for a road trip to Eastern Ontario, Hummingbird Chocolate frequently offers 45-minute tours of their chocolate factory. (Check their website for their current schedule.) You’ll learn about sorting, roasting, cracking, winnowing, grinding, conching, aging, tempering, and wrapping chocolate. And yes, you get to have a taste.

In the meantime, if a trip to Eastern Ontario isn’t in the cards, you can most definitely order online and have it shipped to your house. (Hummingbird Chocolate is also among Pendracs’s favourite chocolate makers.)

Hot Chocolate for Cold Winters

Nothing beats a warm mug of hot chocolate when the weather is biting cold. Because chocolate contains considerably less caffeine than coffee, it’s also safe for children (just watch the added sugar). Both SOMA Chocolate and Hummingbird Chocolate offer delivery for their hot cocoa mixes, and for those lucky enough to live in London, a drop by 10Eighteen can warm those frozen fingers. Enjoy!