Sweet, merciful Chac, that's good hot chocolate
Who doesn't love chocolate? Not me. I bet not you, either. And certainly not the Mayan god of agriculture, fertility, rain, and lightning, Chac (that guy sounds busy).
On a cold, Toronto winter's day, what better way to warm yourself than the best hot chocolate you'll ever taste? I'm speaking, of course, of Soma's Mayan hot chocolate.
Now we've all enjoyed some dynamite hot chocolate in our days. I can fondly recall the mug of hot chocolate teeming with marshmallows my grandmother would make for me and my two cousins every Saturday night after Hockey Night In Canada. We'd all sit around the dining room table in our pyjamas, nursing our drinks before bed. Sure, it was powder and water, but it was also love and a soothing balm for my battered, Leaf-loving soul after yet another loss (we're talking the 1980s here, folks).
Our tastes mature as we grow, and I'm lucky to say I have new hot chocolate memories to accompany my childhood ones. Just last year, my wife and I spent two glorious weeks in France and Spain, including a handful of days in Madrid. During our time in that glorious city, we made two late-night visits to Chocolateria San Gines, a century-old café which specializes in churros con chocolate. Churros are long, slender, ridged pieces of fried dough -- sort of like a donut in the shape of a bread stick. Chocolate, at this chocolateria, is a thick, rich, lightly spiced chocolate drink ideal for churro dunking. Ending your day with a caffeine and sugar high is not for everyone, I'm sure, but when it's late at night, and the pounding heat of another Madrid day has finally given way to a light, cool breeze, there's little in this world better than a seat outside, watching the madrileños and tourists drift by, and having a little snack with your wife.
That was excellent hot chocolate, yet Soma is still better. Soma's Mayan hot chocolate has that same thick, molten consistency, but it has a flavour -- or flavours, really -- unlike any hot chocolate I've ever had. It's not just chocolate, though, it's spice, it's heat, it's a degree of complexity people just don't associate with any other non-alcoholic drink. According to Soma, Mayan hot chocolate is flavoured with "Australian ginger, Madagascar vanilla, orange peel, chili, and SOMA spices." This stuff is intense. The first thing you notice is how thick it is, then, as you swallow it, the warmth of the drink recedes, and all the flavours start to pop. What lingers is not simply tastes and aromas, it's a mild tingling or burning at the back of the palate and top of the throat as the chili kicks in.
This is strong stuff, so strong that it's meted out in espresso-sized portions. Even at that size Rachel and I will occasionally share, rather than face the throat tingling, face flushing effects of a whole shot.
Mayan hot chocolate is not the only reason to visit Soma. It is also home to some of Toronto's finest artisanal chocolate and gelato (but more about those in another post). So go, sit at one of the tables, or, if the weather's nice, enjoy your hot chocolate while strolling through one of the most beautiful urban spaces in North America, The Distillery District. You won't be disappointed.