Monday, November 25, 2013
SOMA chocolatemaker at The DIstillery: Toronto, Canada
Guess what I hate? When you fall in love with a dish or dessert and the restaurant or place to enjoy it is thousands of miles away from where you live! Such is the case with SOMA chocolatemaker located not South of Market in Downtown San Francisco, this SOMA is in Toronto, Canada.
Just a few weeks ago I was in Toronto as part of my cross country road trip from San Jose, CA to Wisconsin, to Michigan, to Toronto. In Toronto I was able to take some time to meet up with my friend Chris who said he had a special place to take me that he knew I would love. You may remember Chris as the friend who photo-documented my CN Tower, pre-Edgewalk experience back in 2011.
From downtown we walked a mile over to the distillery district where some of the city's most historic buildings have been preserved and turned into a quaint shopping district of boutiques, artisan studios, and eateries.
Chris knows my penchant for chocolate so a visit to SOMA was in order. The first day we visited, yes we went two days in a row LOL, the place was packed. This picture was from our second visit right at closing time.
Though they sell chocolates galore and have a case full of gelato this is what we came for: SOMA's "elixirs." They're their drinking chocolates that you can purchase in house in shot glasses, or you can buy packages to take home to make yourself. I did both!
Of the two flavors I brought home I tried making the Gianduja (roasted hazelnut) mix first. I read and followed the directions carefully. I've found that's the best way to achieve success with any recipe.
Upon opening the package I saw the chocolate wasn't powdered like traditional hot cocoa drinks. Instead, it comes in the form of large granules lightly dusted with cocoa powder.
The instructions said to bring the water to a boil on a burner, add the chocolate, and mix. I did but the chocolate wasn't nearly as smooth as the shots I'd enjoyed at SOMA. In fact it was kind of glumpy.
So, I tried again. this time I used my chocolate know how to heat the chocolate using a double boiler method. Because I only needed to heat a half of a cup of water I used a small mixing bowl atop a small sauce pan. I do have a proper double boiler but it would have been much to big for this particular job. The nice thing about using any double boiler is the chocolate doesn't get too hot, which can cause it to seize.
The extra effort was worth it. A perfectly smooth shot of drinking chocolate, just like the shots I enjoyed in Canada! The only other change I made was to add a bit more water to thin the chocolate out. Then it was perfect!
Chris and I sat in SOMA the second day because it was cold and rainy out. And seriously, what better kind of day to enjoy a hot chocolate than a cold one? That day the chocolate was extra hot/spicy because I'd ordered the "Mayan Hot Chocolate" with spiced ginger, Madagascar vanilla, orange peel, chili, and SOMA's special blend of spices.
I'd also purchased some chocolates the day before. Of them my favorite was the Caramel Feuilletine. It was so good I purchased two more, one for each of us. I would seriously consider ordering some by mail for a special occasion, you know, like it's because it's a Tuesday and I just want some really delicious chocolate and caramel :)
The coolest part is even though they're 2665 miles away I can order SOMAs products and have them delivered right to my door! The employees made sure to let me know that before we left as they'd figured I was a tourist now addicted to their delicious products. Here's what you need to know to visit SOMA yourself or to order their products online:
SOMA chocolatemaker - website
Distillery District Location
32 Tank House Lane
King Street West Location
443 King Street West