‘Chocolate is nature’s way of making up for Mondays’, according to an anonymous quote that’s probably 100% accurate.
Cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate, may be one of nature’s greatest gifts. It’s loaded with flavanols, naturally-occurring compounds that are powerful antioxidants. It contains serotonin, a mood enhancer and stress reliever. And, perhaps most importantly, it tastes like a slice of heaven.
For all these reasons, we’re taking the hunt out of finding your chocolate fix this season. Discover the amazing treats Ontario’s bakers, confectioners and chocolate makers are whipping up on these chocolate trails and tours.
Chocolate Lover’s Tour, Ottawa
Join local foodie tour company, C’est Bon, on a walking and sampling adventure through the historic ByWard Market in downtown Ottawa, and uncover chocolate creations in specialty shops, cafes and restaurants. Tours take place on Saturdays, and last about an hour and a half. Private tours can be arranged for groups of four or more.
Savour Stratford Chocolate Trail, Stratford
This self-guided trail will lead your taste buds to decadent indulgences like hand-made truffles, chocolate honey and chocolate martinis. Purchase your trail guide at Stratford’s Visitor Centre, across from City Hall, which contains vouchers to meet the makers and sample their creations at six of over 20 potential chocolatey pit stops in town. And there’s no need to rush. The vouchers are valid for a week for those who really want to savour the experience in one of Ontario’s most charming towns. The arts scene is booming, anchored by the Stratford Festival, North America’s largest classical repertory theatre company with special emphasis on the plays of Shakespeare plus contemporary plays and musicals.
Ultimate Chocolate Tour, Toronto
Chocoholics at Tasty Tours offer the ultimate guided weekend journey that follows the flavour of chocolate to downtown boutique sweet shops and chocolatiers, and even includes an exclusive chocolate-making demonstration. Top it off with a Toffle, a decadent, Canadian-inspired cross between a maple butter tart and a chocolate truffle. Tours start at 2pm on Saturday and Sunday, and last 3 hours. Kids under 7 years old are free.
A Candy Of A Tour, Northumberland
Set out on a customized, self-guided, two-day road trip to taste candied treats and chocolate galore from Cobourg to Campbellford. Sample innovative, artisanal wizardry at Centre and Main Chocolates in Warkworth and at the World’s Finest Chocolate Outlet in Campbellford, plus loads more sweet and savoury stops along the way.
Hummingbird Chocolate Maker, Almonte
See where the magic happens on a guided visit of this award-winning bean-to-bar chocolate workshop in eastern Ontario, less than an hour west of Ottawa. Follow the full process, from ethical and sustainable bean sourcing to wrapping the final product, and all the complex steps in between. Tours take place every Saturday and require advance ticket reservations as space is limited.
Chocolate FX Tours, Niagara-On-The-Lake
Sample amazing creations and witness the chocolate making process in Ontario’s wine country. The free tours take place daily between 10 am and 2 pm and last about an hour, although you’ll want to make time to visit their retail store and pick up your favourite flavours. They’re also wheelchair accessible.
Main photo courtesy Centre and Main Chocolates