Start the year as you mean to go on – isn’t that the saying?
In line with this maxim, my first week back in Toronto after Christmas in the UK involved a trip to chocolate “boutique and lounge” MoRoCo, in Yorkville, and the most decadent dessert ever:
For the uninitiated, s’mores are a North American campfire tradition. They consist of melted chocolate and gooey marshmallow, sandwiched between two graham crackers (sweet, chewy biscuits) and leave you wanting “some more”, geddit?
Granted, a trip to the local chocolate boutique’s a non-conventional alternative to January’s gym slog, but no doubt fellow sweet-tooths would agree it’s the preferable option. Especially when said boutique serves Malbec by the (large) glass.
In any case, we’re into the third week of January by now – definitely the time to hang up the yoga mat, along with any pretence that you can exist solely on oily fish, quinoa and coconut water.
The MoRoCo Experience
MoRoCo takes its chocolate very seriously, as one might expect. Entering through the white-walled store, displaying bite-sized, pastel-hued truffles and macaroons inside glass cases, it feels like you’ve walked into a jewellers or a high-end spa.
The starched ambience relaxes as you move into the main lounge, with its velvet curtains, mastoid chandeliers and kitsch figurines.
The decor’s probably meant to create a “romantic” atmosphere but instead lends a certain gentleman’s club air to the place; I half expected an exotic dancer to jump out from under the table and perform a strip-tease.
The soundtrack was also a bit forced – has anyone got jiggy to Sting since the ’80s?
Technically, you can eat a full dinner at MoRoCo, but seeing as the menu’s finale features giant vats of apple caramel cheesecake, red velvet crepe and chocolate fondue, you might want to skip the Caesar salad and baked polenta. Filling up on leaves would be kind of missing the point.
The tiramusu ($10), served with Italian lady fingers in a chocolate cup, was good, however I definitely lucked out with the molten, crunchy s’mores ($14).
Our server uttered the inevitable snark about us “obviously” not enjoying our desserts (the plates were virtually licked clean). She was only being friendly but, really, no-one wants to be reminded of their gluttony. Especially in January.
Still, MoRoCo wasn’t an awful place to test out my reverse New Year’s resolution. Forget Banuary, it’s all about Ch(ocolate)anuary. Any visitors to Toronto who are down with this might like to check out the following emporiums of sweet treats:
- Soma, 32 Tank House Lane, Distillery District. There’s a chocolate LABORATORY. Also, the best hot chocolate in the city – be sure to ask for it with milk.
Cafe 260, 260 Richmond Street East. Superb eavesdropping to be had thanks to the exuberant designers, architects and model bookers who frequent it. Adjoins an art gallery and serves white chocolate lattes, After Eight hot chocolates, muffins and cookies. Yum, slurp.
- The Oxley, 121 Yorkville Avenue, Yorkville. Great British puds. The sticky toffee pudding was so good I could almost overlook the fact it was served with ice cream instead of clotted cream. Almost.
- Tori’s bakeshop, 2188 Queen Street East, The Beaches. Cupcakes, cinnamon buns, croissants, muffins, tarts and pies. They’re vegan, organic and refined sugar free, therefore totally guilt-free?
These are just some of my favourite spots, but I’m still exploring! Let me know where you go for your Toronto sugar-fix.