A few months ago I went on Tasty Tour’s Toronto food tour and loved Audrey’s approach to discovering the city along with just the right amount of history.
When she asked me if I wanted to attend a chocolate tour I jumped at the chance without knowing any of the details.
It turns out we were going to be touring around my neighbourhood of King/Queen West. I didn’t realize I would be going to small businesses that I pass by every day, intending to go in someday but never doing it.
We went to six locations but three really stood out and I know I’ll go back.
Both an Italian grocery store and a small cafe. If you like something you eat there you can buy the ingredients in the grocery section to make it at home in the future. We sampled a chocolate salami (looks like a salami but only chocolate), biscotti and torte de ricotta. They were all fantastic but what really won me over was learning you could buy the house olive oil for $11 and $9 for refills.
Sanko Trading Co.
From the outside it looks like a generic convenience store but this small grocer has been around since 1968 serving the community with Japanese groceries. In addition to Pocky we found it has maccha, green tea and soy sauce Kit Kats. The chocolate bar is popular due to a coincidence that the bar sounds like “Kitto Katsu” which is used to wish people luck. It remains a sign of good luck to give someone a kit kat.
The one place I will go out of my way for because I love the story of this small business. The owner Dewey Truong learned to cook with chocolate to convince his then girlfriend to love chocolate as much as he does. As their love affair continued, his skill improved and by the time she became his wife he was making great chocolate dishes.
There is both savory and sweet here and they use high quality Valrhona chocolate. In fact the hot chocolate is made from real melted chocolate. The food is great and I feel good about supporting small businesses like this, hoping one day they can succeed like Sanko has.
One of the things I really like about these tours is that when Audrey begins she tells everyone that you don’t need to tip her, but if you see things in the store you like she would rather you take the money and buy something there. It’s a really nice approach to supporting local businesses.