Warm your heart and soul—and hands—with toasty sweet concoctions picked by a local who knows.
Oh, the weather outside is officially Winter! Something we Torontonians know well is that braving the elements is a doubly fun experience when also enjoying steamy drinks and snacks outside. When it comes to the most tried-and-true favourite delicacy to accompany ice skating or a family walkabout, the answer is hot chocolate.
This nostalgic drink has deep roots and in Toronto, we are lucky to find them celebrated in many forms inspired from all around the world. The creativity is also abundant and on this list, you’ll see hot chocolate “bombs” that explode chocolate goodness into hot cups of milk (sounds like a perfect gift, right?) and even a “cookie in a cup” that is so luxuriously chocolatey, surely it has to rank.
With the cold season upon us, not only is it the perfect time to be supporting local, but hot cocoa is a memorable treat that adds a bit of magic to any excursion. The choice is yours—where’s your next chocolate warm-up?
1. Soma Chocolatemaker
Roasting and winnowing their own cacao beans, Soma has had a commanding, award-winning presence as chocolate makers in Toronto since 2003. Their variety of drinking chocolates is definitely worth a try!
What to order: There are 5 different options for Soma’s drinking chocolate, each made with a high reverence for what this drink means to so many. In the words of Soma, “Humankind has been drinking chocolate since the Olmec civilization and there have been many fascinating variations since.” Their range goes from fudgy, childhood hot chocolate to “the other end of the spectrum is our homage to the ancient roots of chocolate made by building up layers of spices.” We love the spice, but choose your path accordingly!
2. Mary’s Brigadeiro
This Danforth chocolate business is famous (as seen on Dragon’s Den!) for their handcrafted brigadeiro chocolates and creations that are inspired by Brazilian traditions. With pure cocoas and ingredients on hand, it’s no wonder that Mary’s Bridgadeiro started to dabble in the chocolate-in-a-cup world.
What to order: Mary’s Drinking Chocolate! Enjoy either fresh in-store or get it to bake fresh at home. Let’s just say this “hot chocolate” drinks like a meal.
3. Chocosol Traders
This bean-to-bar chocolate shop on St. Clair West focuses on sustainable and ethical dark chocolate. You may even be able to spot them at local markets. Chocosol uses volcanic stone wheels to grind the cacao and we appreciate how the ingredients are, “horizontally traded from forest gardens rooted in the Indigenous spiritual ecology of the Americas”—all clearly marked on the packaging.
What to order: Drinking chocolate, but it’s hard to stop there when there are also coffee and chocolate bars, so don’t even try to limit yourself. You’ll find pure flavours like the Unsweetened Cocoa drinking chocolate with 99% Cacao (the Jaguar version with 99% albino Cacao won Gold in the International Chocolate Awards: World Drinking Chocolate Competition in 2020), or Oaxacan Cinnamon & Five Chili Bomba for a bit of spice.
4. Stubbe Chocolates & Pastry
This Christie Pitts chocolate and pastry shop specializes in truffles, chocolates, pastries and cakes that are made in the German tradition. They really go all out for the holidays, with hot cocoa bombs, chocolate ornaments filled with truffles, and so much more.
What to order: Hot Cocoa Bomb Set of four! It comes with four Stubbe Chocolate hot cocoa bombs, each with marshmallows inside. It’s a great way to enjoy a chocolaty treat with the whole family.
5. Delight Organic Fairtrade Chocolate
This neighbourhood gem is beloved in The Junction for their organic and fair trade offerings made in partnership with local and sustainable farmers. The sweet goodies adapt to the seasons and are craveable all year.
What to order: Delight Organic Fairtrade Chocolate has five hot chocolate flavours for you: regular, spiced, caramel, bittersweet orange and peanut butter. For the dairy-free hot chocolate drinkers who might want to venture outside the classic hot chocolate, this may be your chance with their spiced or peanut butter flavours.
6. Bobbette & Belle Artisanal Pastries
With two locations, a cookbook, countless media appearances and over a decade of business under their belts, Bobbette & Belle sure knows their classic pastries and beyond!
What to order: The signature Hot Chocolate and/or packaged Hot Chocolate Mix! Warning: You may not be able to resist also picking up a box of their macaroons.
7. The Grand Order of Divine Sweets
Beautiful treats on Queen West! The Grand Order of Divine Sweets is a neighbourhood hub that produces delicious baked goods and chocolates. This quirky bakery and café provides products inspired by fantasy, sci-fi & comics.
What to order: Hot chocolate bombs! Pick from a variety of flavours including caramel sea salt or peppermint hot chocolate bombs.
8. Soul Chocolate
Soul Chocolate is a small operation in East Chinatown that makes single-origin chocolate bars from bean to bar.
What to order: One of their many hot chocolate flavours. Choose your own adventure with Classic, Mayan (with nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, vanilla and salt) or go fully festive with Peppermint Hot Chocolate. There’s also a chocolate advent calendar with your name on it.
9. Millie Desserts
Starting off with crepes in Kensington Market, Millie Desserts is known for using its classic French technique in combination with Japanese flavours and methods. They have bloomed to offer desserts of all kinds, for all kinds of events and now are putting their own unique twist on the hot chocolate.
What to order: Hot Chocolate Bombs! These are 100% sustainable, Belgian chocolate and just need to be added to the hot milk of your choice. Standout flavours include Matcha, Earl Grey, Lavender and Candy Cane.
10. Cacao 70
With multiple locations, Cacao 70 is a reliable chocolate emporium that takes their hot chocolate very seriously! Coffee, food, ice cream dips—the list goes on!
What to order: Cacao 70 Factory Hot Chocolate, which is simply chocolate in a snifter glass with a side of hot milk, or the Champurrado, which is a dark hot chocolate with a spicy cinnamon punch.