If you've ever read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, you'll know all about soma: a hallucinogen that allows its consumer to take "enjoyable, hangover-free holidays". Thankfully, there's no need to enter Brave New World for the same experience, thanks to SOMA Chocolatemaker, aptly named by founders Cynthia Leung and David Castellan.
With two locations in the Distillery District and King West, SOMA Chocolate is an artisanal chocolatemaker specializing in micro-batches of their fair and organic chocolate, with beans bought directly from plantations located in Peru, Madagascar, and Papua New Guinea.
When you walk into SOMA two things happen: one, you become overwhelmed with the smell of sweet, fragrant chocolate, and two, you begrudgingly give up control of your wallet.
After walking around for a few minutes and adding almost everything they sold to our mental shopping cart, we decided to order their Mayan Hot Chocolate and Dark Side of the Mug – both elixirs are served steamed with either milk or water ($3.99) or as an intense shot ($3.33). We opted for both hot chocolates to be steamed wth milk and added a box of five truffles ($12) to our order as well.
These elixirs are two of SOMA's famous hot chocolates and for very good reason. The Mayan hot chocolate is spiced with ginger, Madagascar vanilla, orange peel, chili and SOMA's own blend of spices. It's rich and spicy, with an incredible depth of flavour that never becomes overwhelming. So good in fact, that we bought their dry mix (500g for $26) to make at home as well (we just couldn't let go). Dark Side of the Mug is another rich drink flavoured with cocoa, organic cane sugar, and Madagascar vanilla. This is the hot chocolate made of dreams – a simpler concotion but delicous nonetheless.
Left to right: Dark Side of the Mug ($3.99) and Mayan Hot Chocolate ($3.99)
For our 5 truffles, we chose Douglas Fir, Feuilletine Caramel, Juicy Pineapple, 8 year Balsamic Vinegar, and Bergamot.
Douglas Fir was infused with the natural oils of the Douglas Fir tree, and tasted like a mature mint-infused chocolate, while still maintaining the refreshing taste due to the fresh pine. The Feulletine Caramel was a slow-cooked, buttery vanilla caramel enrobed in dark chocolate and tumbled in crispy feuilletine flakes. Its luxurious feel made it our second favourite.
Juicy Pineapple was our number one though – sweet, and the flavour of pineapple and chocolate complimented each other well. The sweet and sour taste of aged balsamic vinegar was infused into a dark ganache to make Balsamic Vinegar, a truffle that surprisingly works. Lastly, Bergamot was made with the oil of the aromatic bergamot orange, a citrus commonly found in earl grey tea. We're both big fans of earl grey so it was no surprise that we loved this one too.
Clockwise from bottom left: 8 year Balsamic Vinegar, Bergamot, Douglas Fir, Feuilletine Caramel, Juicy Pineapple (5 for $12)
SOMA Chocolate is a dangerous place to visit: it's been a while since we've left and we're both still dreaming of their chocolate (and kicking ourselves for not buying more). With their re-interpretations of classic flavours, intoxicating smells, and a long list of products we still want to try... we may just have to move in next door.