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« Review Byrob: Winterlicious at Bymark | Main | SHF #16: White chocolate and caviar »

February 08, 2006

Sweet, merciful Chac, that's good hot chocolate

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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 chocolateChurros 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.

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Comments

Ivonne

Hi Rob,

I've been meaning to visit Soma, but just haven't made it there. It's on my list of places to visit as soon as the cold weather lets up a bit.

Your description of the chocolate is gorgeous! And I agree with you ... who doesn't like chocolate!

Francesca

la foto è proprio bella, e la cioccolata mooolto invitante;)

Darla

Rob-

Thanks for stopping by Messy Cucina! I love Mexican Hot Chocolate and your description of the Mayan Hot Chocolate sounds so delicious on a cold February morning!

Anyway, to answer your question about BLogging by Mail, it was first "Created" by Nicole at www.Bakingsheet.blogspot.com
YOu can check there periodically for the next round's announcement or contact her if you'd like to host a round. YOu can also keep an eye out on www.ismyblogburning.com for an announcement.

You don't necessarily have to make something with the ingredients given you and post about it, though it would be an interesting theme for a round of BBM!

If I catch wind of the next round before you, I'll be sure to let you know.

And I'm DYING to hear about your Molinillo vendor!

Michelle

Hi Rob! Now what do I have to do to bribe you to send me some of that dry mix from Soma? Money? Baked goodies? Oregon Hazelnuts? Oregon BEER or wine? Just name it! Drool, drool, drool...plus, your memories of churros con chocolate in Madrid brought back my own, and made me wish I could return to those days sitting in cafes and eating tapas. ahhh...

thanks for sharing your rib post - glad to know someone out there enjoys a crockpot rib as much as myself...although I think I'm going to have to try your grandmother's rib sauce next time on mine!

hope things are well!

rob

Ivonne, given your love of chocolate, you really need to go to Soma. It has a little something for everyone.

Francesca, grazie mille per i complimenti. Ci da tanto piacere sentire dai nostri lettori italiani.

Darla, the molinillo vendor is Soma. The shop is nearby, so let me know if you want a molinillo from them. I'm sure we can arrange something.

Michelle, no bribe necessary. What Oregon product do you enjoy most? As long as it transports well and can cross the border, I think we should try it.
FYI, with the sauce, I'd add some heat to it, and I see no reason in this day and age, not to use fresh herbs.

Daniela

What are you talking about??? I do not agree!!!

The best hot chocolate I have ever tasted was in Europe NOT in Soma's Mayan):

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