Today is my birthday, and without question, the best present anyone can give me is their presence. So later today, I’ll be enjoying the presence of a dozen or so close friends for a little dinner party. (Believe me, if the weather was better, I’d have extended the guest list. But we’ve been having pretty dreadful weather much more than the hot and sunny I love for BBQ parties, so I stuck with the safety of a small group we could sit comfortably indoors.)

Being one who has the good fortune to travel often and quite extensively, I have made many dear friends in other cities, and would like to thank my dear friend, Virginia, of Toronto, for having sent me the best birthday present this chocolate-loving girl could ever hope for: SOMA chocolates. Virginia knows good chocolate as she and I visited three European countries last fall and ate chocolate until we had to resort to storing it in our cheeks because it wouldn’t go down.

some of the amazing chocolates at SOMA

For those of you who have never tasted the ecstasy  known to me as SOMA chocolate, you are truly missing out. It is without doubt, the best Canadian-made chocolate I have ever eaten. I adore their dark chocolate truffles filled with ganache made from poignant flavours such as Douglas Fir tree sap, bergamot, Arbequina Spanish olive oil, 8-year-old balsamic vinegar, and local Canadian whisky.  They are artistically designed and made from cocoa beans roasted and ground right on the premises.

cocoa beans ready to be made into sumptuous chocolate at SOMA chocolatemaker

Virginia was kind enough to send me 2 of SOMA’s delicious mini bars. Just 65 grams each and divided into tiny squares so that those who feel they must practice restraint can easily do so. Unfortunately, SOMA chocolates are best eaten within 10 days of purchase, so I’m just doing my duty in making quick work of it. And yes, my dear chocolate-loving friends, eating chocolate is indeed work for me. I am one of those lucky individuals who LOVES my job!

On my chocolate quest to Toronto this week, I shall be making a trek to SOMA chocolatemaker to indulge in their single origin truffles. It’s been a year since I’ve been to their shop and I’ve eaten truckloads of high-end chocolate from all over the world during that time.

My palette has become much more refined (it’s kind of like drinking wine — you’ve got to keep trying different ones to be able to differentiate between them and to find the ones that you particularly like or don’t like and be able to determine why.)

I’m now ready to put SOMA’s single origin truffles to the test against Norman Love’s BLACK collection. I can’t imagine anything being better than them, but then … I haven’t yet experienced SOMA’s product of quite the same grade.

That’s the thing you’ll learn after eating a lot of great chocolate. There are often several different grades of chocolate right within the same small shop. As in the case of SOMA, Norman Love and other fine chocolate makers … they are all good.  But it is when you get to the purest of chocolate such as the single origin truffles, that you get the flavour, texture and appearance that sets the best several grades above the rest.

To me, really good chocolate is never too sweet, too bitter or too gritty. It should be silky smooth (in texture), pure (in ingredients) and intense (in flavour.)  And I know I will always find that in the remarkable quality of chocolates I get from SOMA chocolatemaker of Toronto.

I’m actually going to Toronto this week for the annual conference of The Writers Union of Canada (TWUC.)  It will be my first time attending a national TWUC event and I’m looking forward to it. Following that, I and my next chocolate-tasting partner in crime, Suzanne Boles of London, Ontario, will be taking the Chocolatour to London, England  to meet with some amazing British chocolate makers. So we’ll have lots to talk about in the upcoming posts.

Join me back here the week of June 6th for the next post. But until then, let’s talk! What has been the best chocolate that has ever passed your lips?