The Hot Chocolate Series – Want “S’more”? The Fun & Decadent S’mores Hot Chocolate at Aroma Espresso Bar!

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Eeee, I’m so excited to be making the first Hot Chocolate Series post of 2014!  I promised you all I would try my best to add more goodies to the series this winter so I’m hoping this is just the beginning.  And it couldn’t have come at a better time.  Even though these past few days have been mild, temperatures are going to dip below freezing again which means we need plenty of hot drinks like these to warm us up.  I’m really happy I was able to take these photos and make this post because I actually wanted to have it up and running much earlier, during the holidays (remember how I said I bussed northbound on Avenue Road the Monday after the ice storm in yesterday’s post?  I was en route to the Aroma Espresso Bar near Avenue Road and Wilson hoping to try this hot chocolate and get photos but the whole street was knocked out of power!  Hence the detour.  I ended up rescheduling at the King & Spadina location for these shots a week later.)

Such is life.  Sigh.

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As well, I’ve been so focused and preoccupied with tea for the past few months I haven’t given hot chocolate the love it deserves (that and apple cider.  But that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.)  There are so many delicious varieties just waiting to be slurped and savoured from cafes and restaurants all across the city but I’ll sheepishly admit it’s been hard steering my attention towards other beverages when all I can think of is what type of tea I want to spoon into my mesh ball when I wake up in the morning!  There’s no reason why I can’t enjoy both though, especially with all the fun flavours and toppings places are experimenting with, like the gorgeous fluffy, chocolately, marshmallowy masterpiece at Aroma Espresso Bar!

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New to the drink menu this winter, Aroma Espresso Bar’s S’mores Hot Chocolate ($4.80 medium) is everything you could want in a hot chocolate drink that screams, “I’m so fab I could be your bff at a posh ski lodge!”  It really does have all the bells and whistles: chunks of Aroma’s creamy milk chocolate melted in steamed milk and melted marshmallows, topped with cocoa, graham cracker crumbs and giant pillow-soft marshmallows!  It is a thing of beauty and it tastes delicious.  The drink is creamy and frothy on top and rich and decadent as you get closer to the bottom where all the melted chocolate has been mixed in.  The giant marshmallows are super soft and the graham cracker crumbs totally elevate the drink, living up to its s’mores name.  And surprisingly enough, it’s not a sugar bomb!  I mean, it’s sweet and everything in it and on it is sweet but the sweetness isn’t overwhelming.  It’s fun and dessert-like without being over the top flavour-wise.

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I’m hoping to get my hands (and tastebuds) on some mint hot chocolate and others this winter (as well as the hot chocolate at Fresh which I’ve tried but never took posted photos of because they didn’t look nice) so we’ll see how the hunt goes!  Cheers and stay warm, everyone!

*****

Aroma Espresso Bar is an Israeli espresso and coffee chain with over 100 locations worldwide.  There are numerous branches in and around Toronto, with shops in Thornhill and Vaughan.  Click here to view the list of Toronto and GTA locations.

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Rich, Decadent, Fudgy, and Frothy – The Beginnings of Hot Chocolate Season! A Delicious Year in Review

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I never leave home without my mittens and knit hat, my breath is starting to come out in round puffs when I’m out (especially in the mornings) and today I actually saw some flurries gently float about outside my window at work.  The crisp, colourful season of fall is far from being over in my book, but there’s no denying that we’re pretty much on the brink of hot chocolate season!  And I am so excited to get the Hot Chocolate Series back up and running after a hot and sweltering summer and so far, a very rainy fall!  I’m hoping to feature more flavoured hot chocolates (mint, candy cane, and even  pumpkin and gingerbread!), more pretty “drink” art (maybe someone can create a snowflake in my hot chocolate for me!), and some decadent white hot chocolate drinks if I can get my hands on some.

Even though I think eating ice cream during winter is more common among folks than drinking hot chocolate in the summer, I’m sure there are some who sip their hot chocolates all year-round.  If you’re one of those someones, this post may not whip your cream much but if you’re the type that sticks to hot chocolate when the weather outside is frightful (or you know, just chilly), you’ll be happy to see this Hot Chocolate Series Year in Review recap!  Just in time to get some great ideas on where to go to get that cup of chocolatey goodness!  Below is a recap of all the hot chocolate drinks that have been featured on Ate by Ate:

And if that’s not enough chocolate for you, the first photo on this post features a delicious dark chocolate hot chocolate from Arepa Cafe on Queen St. West and the peppermint hot chocolate from Fresh is also fantastically fabulous!  I haven’t put up actual posts for these two drinks simply because I don’t have enough photos to warrant a post (not to mention I don’t like the photos I took of my peppermint hot chocolate at Fresh so I’m waiting for the day I can do “re-takes”!  Keep warm and cozy everyone!

The Hot Chocolate Series – Cozy and Comfy Couches & Raspberry Hot Chocolates at Coffee Zone

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There’s nothing like stumbling on a cute and cozy coffee shop on a wet and rainy day, especially when said coffee shop has flavoured hot chocolate!  When I first came up with the idea of starting the Hot Chocolate Series, I admit, I envisioned falling snowflakes, mittened hands, and sun bouncing off sparkly white snow.  I didn’t exactly anticipate walking around in slightly wet socks, and shaking excess water off my umbrella and dodging puddles in the middle of January.  I’m not a fan of frostbite either, but let’s be honest, the not-so-winter-wonderland type of weather has put a damper on my wintry white hot chocolate fairy tale.  Luckily for me, our beloved city has some very delicious hot chocolate to make up for that!  Introducing, the raspberry hot chocolate from Coffee Zone on Carlton Street! 

The first block on Carlton St. just off of Yonge has been developing into quite the foodie haven.  The area may not be the haute couture of gourmet dining, but it does have its gems.  First, we have The Sushi Shop on the south side of Carlton right beside the eastbound College subway station entrance and exit.  Then we witnessed the partial transformation of Maple Leaf Gardens into the 80 000+ square feet* food and grocery mecca that is Loblaws late last year, complete with cheese wheel wall and designer cupcake wall.  Finally, we bid farewll to 2011 and rang in 2012 with the opening of a brand new Bulk Barn store in December just a hop, step, skip away from the corner of Carlton and Yonge; bakers and cooks in the downtown core rejoice!  Coffee Zone sits right in the middle of it all and for the life of me, I don’t know why I didn’t notice it before!

I’ve been in and around the area countless times thanks to my many trips to Allan Gardens over the years and the cozy spot never even flitted across my field of vision.  How embarrassing!  Leave it to me to suddenly look up and see the hot chocolate menu board through the window on a random rainy winter day though! 

Coffee Zone is a comfy coffee shop and lunch cafe that serves sandwiches, desserts and pastries, and plenty of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate drinks.  And I mean plenty!  Aside from the hot apple ciders, london fogs, chai lattes, and cappuccinos, they have a slew of iced coffee drinks and flavoured cafe lattes.  There are 10 – count ’em  10 – flavours of cafe lattes!  Flavours include vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, mint, strawberry, raspberry, irish cream, butterscotch, caramel, and hazelnut.  Not only do they have 10 flavours of cafe lattes, they also have a number of different espresso drinks such as red eyes, single and double espressos, espresso macchiatos, and espresso con panna.  The variety of drinks alone would make any coffee lover wiggle with glee.

The cafe is open and spacious with huge windows looking out onto the street and the colours, furniture, and decor scream warm and welcoming.  The chairs are painted in bright and cheery floral, butterfly, and polka dot prints, the walls are of a warm moss green, plushy armchairs and couches adorn both sides of the cafe, and a mini fireplace beckons you to curl up and enjoy a hot cocoa.  If you love flavoured hot chocolate, you will adore Coffee Zone’s hot chocolate menu.  Much like the cafe latte selection, there are multiple flavours – and sizes – to choose from: mint, vanilla, irish cream, strawberry, raspberry, cinnamon, and marshmallow.  A full menu of flavoured hot chocolate and comfy couches with a cute little fireplace?  I was sold!

I chose the raspberry hot chocolate ($2.49, small) and opted for a little bit of whipped cream on top at no extra charge.  I plopped onto one of the squishy couches and made myself at home while I waited for my fruit hot chocolate and when it was ready, I was presented with the most adorable, fluffy, frothy raspberry hot chocolate!  The whipped cream sat on top like a puffy cloud with powdered cocoa and frothy raspberry pink edges.  It was like Jigglypuff wrapped in cotton candy, in hot chocolate form!  It was fluffy and cute and it tasted delightful.

The moment the whipped cream, hot chocolate, and raspberry flavour hit my tastebuds, I let out a happy, “Mmm, this is so good!!”  The raspberry flavour was bang on and it was strong, in a good way.  It didn’t overwhelm the chocolate but it was plenty strong and present enough for you to know the raspberry was there.  With drinks, there’s nothing worse than ordering a flavoured one only to taste it and be disappointed by the complete lack of flavour.  It was fruity and sweet and the flavour was unmistakeable.  The hot chocolate wasn’t scalding (thank god) and the whipped cream didn’t melt away and disappear which I really appreciated.  If I had to give it a fixer-upper, I would make it just a touch thicker, but other than that it was beyond delicious.  I couldn’t believe the coffee shop, with its huge menu of drinks, had been under my nose all this time and I’m very much looking forward to trying a few other flavours of hot chocolate.  Thanks to my realization, that wet and rainy day proved to be a great day after all. 

*****

Coffee Zone is located at 30 Carlton St., just east of Yonge on the north side of Carlton.  It is steps away from College subway station and sits just west of the new Loblaws in old Maple Leaf Gardens.

The Hot Chocolate Series – A Warm Milk Mountain and Melted Chocolate Praline Logs at Aroma Espresso Bar

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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.

For the Love of Hot Cocoa, Snowflakes, and Christmas Scrapbooking – The Wintry Hot Chocolate Series Layout

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I’m so excited to be posting this layout I’m almost jumping out of my skin!  I’ve been looking forward to scrapbooking Christmas and winter photos and layouts for ages and now that there’s actually some snow on the ground, my holiday scrapbooking mood has sky-rocketed straight through the roof!  This month has been a whirlwind with plans not panning out, my uncharacteristic unpreparedness, and Christmas coming and going faster than I had anticipated, so I really didn’t get into a scrapbooking groove until after Christmas.  I was chewing on ideas for over a month, but for whatever reason, part of me just wasn’t ready to dig into the paper and stickers.  I wanted to lose myself in it and enjoy every minute, not be distracted and moody over it. 

Even though I feel like I let precious time pass me by, I’m so much happier I scrapbooked when I did because it was SO MUCH FUN!  This is my Christmas-holiday-winter hot chocolate layout with photos of the hot chocolate I’ve featured in the Hot Chocolate Series: the nutella hot chocolate from Le Gourmand, the peppermint hot chocolate from Le Merceria, and the rich hot chocolate with blow-torched marshmallow from Bobbette & Belle.  I’ve been wanting to use a red, green, blue, and white colour scheme for some time now so I went to town with the ribbon and cardstock and paper and ended up with this!

There have been times where I’ve scrapbooked every day for a month or more and there have been other times where I’ve gone weeks without even touching my go-to scrapbook tin.  Every time I scrapbook though, it feels like no time has passed and I’m happiest when I get to surround myself with photos and memories and all my art supplies.  Out of all the themes I enjoy scrapbooking (birthdays, Valentine’s, art, and friendship among others), Christmas and winter are my absolute favourites. 

A new year means a time to reflect and a time to look forward and when I look back on my scrapbooking, I think back to when I started 8×8 scrapbooking full force over 3 years ago (prior to that I was actually doing 8.5 x 11!) and I’m reminded of the very first 8×8 scrapbook album I made which was a Christmas and winter one.  I’m reminded of how excited I was to find such a pretty album at the store (a gorgeous chocolate brown suede album with a magnetic flap that had the word “Memories” stitched across it), all the fun I had making those 20 pages, filling those plastic sleeves and making the album fat, and all the Christmas memories I got to look back on.  It was an amazing month of scrapbooking and it made me feel so free and so alive.  I’m hoping that 2012 will bring just as much happiness and inspiration. 

*****

Scrapbooking materials used: Periwinkle, powder blue, Christmas red, grass green, emerald green, and white cardstock (Recollections); Christmas patterned paper (Me & My Big Ideas Christmas mat paper pad); hot chocolate, cocoa, and peppermint adhesive embellishments (Jolee’s Boutique); blue ribbon with green polka dots; green satin ribbon; “Lollipop” alphabet stickers (Autumn Leaves, Creativity Inc.); brown alphabet stickers (K&Company); black alphabet stickers with white polka dots (atd); green foil leaves; duochrome and iridescent snowflakes; medium scallop circle paper punch (ek success); circle paper punch; corner rounder paper punch.

The Hot Chocolate Series: The Decadent Hot Chocolate With Blow-Torched Marshmallow – Bobbette & Belle, Part II

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I’ll be completely honest: I had a little help with this one.  A little accidental magazine help.  While doing a little happy-go-lucky Christmas shopping, I picked up the newest issue of Toronto Life and started paging through the first few pages when my eyes roamed over the Table of Contents and saw the words, “hot chocolate”, “marshmallow”, and “blow torch”.  A hot chocolate with a jumbo blow-torched marshmallow from Bobbette & Belle?!  Well, colour me ecstatic!  I didn’t even flip to the article because 1) those words were really all the incentive I needed and 2) I didn’t want the element of surprise and anticipation to be taken away so I willed myself not to look at the photo in the magazine.  I would go to Bobbette & Belle and see the wonderful hot chocolate masterpiece with my very own hot chocolate hungry eyes.

I was so excited about this!  A hot chocolate with not just a “toasted” marshmallow, but a blow-torched marshmallow!  I swear I’m not a pyro, but I am fascinated with the blow torch.  My dad and I used to experiment with our handy propane tank blow torch when I was growing up and we used to use it for art projects and I absolutely loved it when my dad used to whip out the torch to cook.  I love how its usage can transform the look and appearance of food.  Imagine the toasty, frothy peaks of meringue or cream on a pie or a tart.  Or the juxtasposition of a delicate, yet edgy, blow-torched souffle.  The rough and tumble part of me has always been in love with handywork and I’ve dreamed of having my own workbench and I guess the blow torch is my fun tool of choice! 😀 

Bobbette & Belle has a number of coffee drinks and teas on their drink menu designed to accompany their pastries and sweets.  They serve lattes, mocha lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, machiattos, teas, regular coffee, and of course, their hot chocolate work of art.  I don’t know if this hot chocolate is available at their 2nd retail location inside The Bay on Queen Street, but I will find out. 

Their hot chocolate, priced at $4.25, is the chocolatiest beverage I have ever had.  If you love rich and decadent, this hot chocolate has your name written all over it.  This is not your average hot chocolate packaged powder mix with hot water!  A lot of the time, we’re used to hot chocolate that’s a little more diluted.  Bobbette & Belle’s hot chocolate is the exact OPPOSITE of diluted.  It’s thick, it’s roasty, and makes you feel like your drinking luxurious drinking chocolate.  It’s unlike anything I’ve ever had and this hot chocolate drinks like a meal.  It is not for the faint of heart – I couldn’t even finish it all in one sitting because it was so decadent!  If you’re having this, don’t go at it alone because it might be too overwhelming otherwise.  My suggestion is to have it with a “blank canvas” type of dessert, something that isn’t too sweet and that can soak up the richness.  I was dunking my Christmas tree shaped shortbread cookie into it and having an absolute blast!

And the marshmallow.  Oh, the delightful, jumbo, torched marshmallow.  I smiled so big when my hot chocolate was being made.  After one of the nice girls filled my cup with the hot beverage, she crouched down to just below the surface of the counter and sure enough, I heard the “pftshhhh!” sound of the torch doing it’s magic.  Just look at it.  A white and caramelized wintry globe of frothy, gooey, sweet marshmallow floating in the depths of chocolate euphoria.  There are few things in this world that bring giggly joy more than gooey marshmallows.  Every sip was a rich taste of dark chocolate and marshmallow tickling your upper lip and tongue.  And although most of the marshmallow was gooey, sweet, and frothy, you could taste that sweet, crunchy caramelization off the top. 

Bobbette & Belle’s hot chocolate is the liquid embodiment of a s’more and the type of winter treat you envision yourself savouring in front of the fire in a warm and cozy environment after a day of tobogganing and making snow forts and snow angels.  It’s far from a snowy wonderland here in Toronto at the moment (more like a rainy, soggy mess), but with this special hot chocolate, it’s not too hard to daydream and pretend that it is.

 

*****

Bobbette & Belle is located at 1121 Queen Street East, just east of Jones Ave.  They are open 7 days a week from 7:30am-6:30pm Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm on Saturday, and 9am-5pm on Sunday.  These are their holiday operating hours and they will be closed on the 25th, 26th, and 27th, as well as on January 1st and 2nd.  Visit their website here for product descriptions, information on orders, and photos.

The Hot Chocolate Series – Peppermint Hot Chocolate and Christmas Magic Unleashed at La Merceria

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There may not be any snow on the ground just yet, but I am in full-out “I’m-so-happy-Christmas-is-coming-so-I’ll-just-pretend-like-it’s-winter-even-though-it’s-not” mode!  Everyone has a favourite holiday or occasion and mine is Christmas.  Some might think it’s crazy to get all up in arms about it so soon, but time goes by so quickly that I really cherish the time I get to enjoy all the Christmas window displays, music, seasonal sweets and treats, and decorations.  I feel like I wouldn’t get enough out of it if things were only around for two weeks or so. 

I look forward to the holidays over a month before actual Christmas day and I use the time to plan out my get-togethers, my gift-shopping trips, my crafting time, and of course, my holiday menu!  And by menu, I mean all the yummy things I want to stuff my face with over the course of the entire month.  There are seasonal yummies you just don’t get to enjoy at any other point in the year and I’ve made it my mission to hunt down some of the best hot chocolates this holiday season and winter.  I’m here now with round two of The Hot Chocolate series!

I was so excited when I found nutella hot chocolate at Le Gourmand and soon after a little birdie told me about a bunch of other special hot chocolates being served around the city, which quickly went on my “must-try lickety goodness” list.  The special peppermint hot chocolate at La Merceria was a total unexpected, delightful surprise though and my own giddiness over it took me by surprise.  I had no idea La Merceria had peppermint hot chocolate (or any hot chocolate for that matter) and my impromptu visit to them was completely random and unplanned.  It was a bit chilly, I had some time in the morning before my day started at Le Dolci, and I wanted to sit back and be alone with my thoughts with a drink and a nibble of some sort. 

My heart sped up as I saw Christmas decorations in their front window display and my Christmas-loving heart did happy cartwheels when I walked inside and saw the cafe decked out to the nines in Christmas accessories!  I quickly snatched one of the comfy, pillowy seats and looked up at the drinks menu.  My last two visits were made warm and cozy with tea, but this time I wanted something different.  My eyes roamed over the list of drinks and that’s when I saw it.  “Pep-per-mint hot chocolate….oh my god, peppermint hot chocolate!”

And after my mental exclaimation of joy, I realized what had just happened.  I had gotten excited over something peppermint.  Well, that was strange indeed.  I have never liked mint or peppermint, ever.  I have gone through life without the enjoyment of mint Aero chocolate bars, mini chocolate chip ice cream, and mint and peppermint everything.  Then somehow, things started changing.

A few Christmases ago, I picked up a box of white and dark chocolate bark with crushed peppermint candy cane on it just because and thoroughly enjoyed the entire box all to myself.  Last Christmas I took a whiff of Bath & Body Works’ mint chocolate scented candle – and loved it.  One of my favourite cupcakes at Short & Sweet has been the Mint Everest mint chocolate Oreo.  And then this past summer I relished in the fresh, citrus creaminess of one of Jen @ Apiecalypse Now‘s orange peppermint patties.  Even though I wasn’t madly in love with mint and peppermint, times definitely were a changin’, which would explain my uncharacteristic jubilance over something peppermint.

I looked at the menu item and knew I absolutely had to have it.  And I did.  And it was absolutely delicious and delightful and a hot chocolate ever person needs to slurp and savour.  The unique thing about the peppermint hot chocolate at La Merceria is that it’s actually made with tea!  Yes, tea!  I guess I wasn’t far from having tea after all!  In hindsight, it didn’t even dawn on me that I was drinking hot chocolate made from peppermint tea until I drank about half the cup and realized their was something bobbing up and down inside.  I poked at it and saw that it was a tea bag and thought it was adorable how they had made it the way they did.  The hot chocolate is made with peppemint tea, dark swiss chocolate, and steamed milk with a bit of foam and powdered chocolate on top. 

The chocolate and peppermint flavours were delicious together.  The dark chocolate flavour was velvety smooth with that hint of subtle naturalness bitterness from the dark chocolate.  I loved that subtly bitter, rich chocolate flavour and both the peppermint and dark chocolate managed to keep their own distinctive flavours separate and distinguishable in the hot chocolate drink while still making it taste sweet and delectable. 

They come in two sizes ($3 for small, $3.50 for large) and the hot chocolate comes with a beautiful and adorable cinnamon stick!  I was over the moon about this.  I dunked and twirled my cinnamon stick in my hot chocolate and was totally amoured.  Unfortunately for me, I forgot my hot chocolate cup with my beloved cinnamon stick in it at the studio after I left for the day and couldn’t save it before it hit the can.  Which means I’ll just have to go back to La Merceria for another one some time.  Aw, shucks.

*****

La Merceria is located at 506 Adelaide Street West by the northwest corner of Adelaide and Portland Street, east of Bathurst.  La Merceria is located beside Sadie’s Diner and Juice Bar.  Visit their website and blog here for updates, info, promos, events, pictures, and contact information and visit their Facebook page here.