Soul Chocolate makes their own small batch chocolate at their own little shop right here in Toronto. They also sell coffee and chocolate drinks, and offer coffee and chocolate tasting flights and pairings.
They used to be located out of a wholesale-only headquarters on King East, retailing their compact, delicious bars at local shops and cafes like The Candy Bar and Brika, using connections from one half of owner team Kyle Wilson’s experience as a barista at places like Te Aro (which expanded into Pilot).
He mainly slings the coffees while Katie makes chocolatey magic happen in the back.
You can see everything being done mostly by Katie alone in the back production area through a glass partition decorated with graphics that show the stages of chocolate making.
What many people don’t realize is that sweet, silky chocolate is actually a fermented treat. After being fermented, the chocolates are dried and shipped from places like Ecuador, Madagascar, the Dominican, Tanzania and Venezuela to Soul.
This is what they look like when the shop first receives them, when they go through a quality check.
After that the dried pods go into a special machine called a winnower where they separate the outer shell from the nib, kind of like how the shell comes off a coffee bean during roasting. The chocolate is then treated with friction and heat for about three days in a rotating drum.
After that it’s poured into blocks and aged for flavour.
Then it finally gets tempered and perfectly molded to become the shiny, snappy bars we recognize.
A little bench is all that’s provided for seating but it’s surprisingly comfy and fits right in with the small space.
An espresso ($3) pairs nicely with a bar ($5.50) of intense Ecuador origin chocolate with delicate notes of orange blossom and sweet pea.
All Soul Chocolate is vegan, displaying the percentage of the only two ingredients, cacao and organic cane sugar, on every package, (75% and 25% respectively for this one).
They use Detour for their coffee (and sell bags of their beans), but are are likely to experiment with other brands like Phil & Sebastian I'm told. During my visit, Soul was brewing with Detour’s sweet chocolatey Cacheoira da Grama and juicy, rich Las Flores.
Every espresso-based drink is made with a rebuilt sort of Franken-espresso-machine that took Kyle three months to make out of an old Syneso from a rundown shop, adding on newer high-tech shot timers.
A chocolate shot ($3) is a rich concentrated espresso cup of pure chocolate melted in a chocolate spinner, in this case Soul’s Dominican variety.
It’s sure to satisfy chocolate lovers and those looking for a sugar rush to no end.
A pain au chocolate ($3) with chocolate inside, outside and baked into the actual dough is today’s daily pastry, made in limited quantities.
The place is microscopic, but feels light and bright, and most importantly, transparent.