There’s no better time to drink hot chocolate than when it’s bitterly cold out, and this weekend was downright bone-chilling! Having lived in Canada all my life, cold winters aren’t anything out of the ordinary but it definitely doesn’t get any easier to bear as the years go by! I remember growing up with snow up to my thighs, my screen door at home being frozen shut, and walking in the cold and rapidly blinking my eyes so my eyelashes wouldn’t stick together, frozen. We’ve already been really lucky here in Toronto to have had such a mild winter so far and just a lick of snow, and it figures that I get all gung-ho on my hot chocolate during one of the mildest winters we’ve had in years! I’m enjoying this Hot Chocolate Series so much though and it’s been so much fun seeing all the different flavours of hot chocolate and the different ways they’re prepared.
A series dedicated to drinks wouldn’t be the same without a drink from Aroma Espresso Bar. Aroma, with its numerous locations in and around the city, is a coffee shop, espresso bar, brunch spot, and lunch café all in one. Hailing from Israel, Aroma has taken the international coffee world by storm since its first shop opened in 1994. Since then, they’ve opened locations in Europe, Asia, the United States, and all across Toronto and the GTA. With its bold red, white, and black colour scheme and decor (the squishy red swivel chairs are my favourite!), Aroma serves up sweets (alfajore cookie sandwiches, orange coconut cake, sweet croissants), brunch (their Power Breakfast is one I really want to try with the eggs, salad, and different cheeses), soups and sandwiches, and so many different hot and cold drinks you could fill an olympic pool with them all!
Even though I’m not a coffee drinker, there are so many drinks from Aroma I would love to try such as their chai latte, ice aroma float, ice lemon mint, and their orchid latte. I tried their hot chocolate first and boy oh boy was it ever delicious and all sorts of fabulous! Their hot chocolate is being promoted as one of the drinks on their winter drink menu alongside classics such as apple cider and unique standouts like the orchid latte. There are three types of hot chocolate in medium and large sizes: regular, white, and marshmallow and although a part of me was all up in arms over the marshmallow, I stuck to the regular because it looked so gorgeous on the promo banner. And it was indeed beautiful, both in appearance and in taste.
I love having drinks in actual cafés and staying there to drink them because there’s a much greater chance of enjoying the drink in an actual mug, cup, or glass as opposed to the ho-hum paper cup. The Aroma hot chocolate is served in a lovely glass mug on white saucer dish with a stir spoon and a chocolate to nibble on. This is a winter drink in all its glory. It’s frothy, it’s pure white when you get it, and with the exception of the powdered cocoa on top, all you see is chocolate chunks peeking through the glass at the very bottom with a mountain of creamy white on top. It’s like having a giant snowy mountain of snow on chocolate cabin logs and it screams winter warmth.
And you read right: chocolate chunks and chocolate logs. Aroma prepares their hot chocolate in such a cool way by placing the chocolate at the bottom and filling the mug with warm milk and froth up at the top so the solid chocolate can melt into the drink, into a chocolatey whirlpool of deliciousness.
That’s where the stir spoon comes in! If you don’t want to slosh any liquid out, take a few sips first. Then you gently press the chocolate at the bottom with the spoon to break it down a bit and you gently start to stir the chocolate around, melting it as you go. But the most decadent way of going about it is pressing down on the chocolate, stirring it just a tad, then lifting the spoon out with the rich, half-melted chocolate still on the it and eating it. Oh my goodness is it ever amazing! It was rich, creamy, and thick with the most amazing nuttiness to it. It wasn’t until I went back on Aroma’s website to check the hot chocolate description that it all made sense: chocolate praline! That’s where the nuttiness was coming from! The chocolate eventually becomes one with the milk to form one very smooth, incredibly yummy hot chocolate.
This hot chocolate is one of my favourites and I just love the sleek, clean presentation to it and most of all, the different levels of deliciousness. It’s a situation where it’s totally acceptable playing with your food and drink! I loved it to pieces and it makes me even more excited to try their other hot drinks later on this winter. It’s a killer hot chocolate that would satisfy any and every chocolate lover out there.
Aroma Espresso Bar is an Israeli espresso and coffee chain with over 100 locations worldwide. There are 8 branches in and around Toronto, with shops in Thornhill and Vaughan. Click here to view the list of Toronto and GTA locations.