This hol­i­day sea­son, chef Mark McEwan sam­ples some of the city’s sweet­est gifts. From kid­friendly, marsh­mal­low-filled treats to sub­tle dark cho­co­late with can­died fruit, here are our best barks bets for im­press­ing guests or in­dulging by your­self on a cold

Village Post - - Contents -

Mark McEwan sam­ples gourmet cho­co­late from the city’s top co­coa pur­vey­ors

WIN­NER FULLY LOADED CHOCOLATERIA McEwan loves this “kitchen sink” bark with milk, dark and white cho­co­late. “There’s nice tex­ture all the way through it,” he says. “It has the right amount of added in­gre­di­ents.” 361 Ron­ces­valles Ave., $5.97 FUDGE-Y GOOD­NESS DUFFLET This sim­ple cran­berry al­mond bark catches McEwan’s at­ten­tion for its rich, fudgy tex­ture. “It has a nice con­trast and flavour,” he says. 2638 Yonge St., $8.49 DARK AND HAND­SOME STUBBE Al­though McEwan loves the high-qual­ity dark cho­co­late of this al­mond bark, he thought it would have been bet­ter if they left the skins on the al­monds and “punched up the al­mond flavour.” 653 Dupont St., $14.75 CAP’N CRUNCH ZACK’S CHOCO­LATES “Crispy and crunchy, with fun cheeky lit­tle marsh­mal­lows in it,” says McEwan. “Any­one in the room will love it, but it will be the kids’ favourite, no doubt.” 7117 Bathurst St., $6.50/100 g RUN­NER-UP MINTY TREAT SHORT AND SWEET For McEwan, the two-tone candy cane bark was a close sec­ond. “The candy cane as­pect of it is re­ally good,” he says. “The cho­co­late is on the bit­ter side, so it bal­ances out nicely.” 1945 Av­enue Rd., $15 CO­COA-LADEN BITES AVOCA CHOCO­LATES The qual­ity of the dark cho­co­late is up to McEwan’s stan­dards, but he thinks the al­monds would have been bet­ter if they were toasted first to in­crease their nutty flavour. 850 Mill­wood Rd., $7.95 MILK CHO­CO­LATE MED­LEY PHIPPS “The milk cho­co­late qual­ity is ex­cel­lent,” says McEwan of this bark stud­ded with cashews and dried fruit. He likes the dark cho­co­late driz­zle but wishes the bark were a bit sim­pler. 420 Eglin­ton Ave. W., $9.99

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