“Chocolate has the power to take you places. A cup of hot chocolate and you’re back in your childhood. A milkshake and you’re in a 50s diner. At Cacao 70, we invite you to crunch, sip, slurp and savor your way to a state of chocolate. Bon appétit—and bon voyage!” COCAO70.com
No wonder chocolate is all the rage! On recent quest for a great cup of coffee one early Saturday morning in Toronto’s downtown Queen Street West district, I stumbled into a chocolate adventure. I happened upon a CACAO70 Eatery and knew the moment I sat down to sip a cup of real Mexican-style hot chocolate, that life would never be the same.
The CACAO70 business opened its doors in 2011 as a chocolate drinking bar with only a few dining options. But within a few months, customers were clamoring for a more elaborate menu of chocolate options. CACAO70 responded, offering new dishes and drinks after testing products and following their customers’ feedback.
CACAO70 Eatery was born. It offers a fresh take on diner favorites and brunch options, with chocolate as its star ingredient. The company’s tailored approach to chocolate lovers is wrapped in three creative CACAO70 concepts: the Eatery restaurant foods and two other options which include a Sweet House for drinks and desserts, and a Dip Shop that caters to ice cream aficionados who want to indulge in chocolate toppings as well as other artisanal dips.
There are dozens of specialty houses throughout Canada which can be found in the company’s online directory, and expansionary plans for the U.S. market are underway. According to Qishen Zhan, the marketing manager for CACAO70, the company’s success rests on the quality cacao beans. We source the cacao beans from all over the world and play with the different profile of the cacao in order to get the desire taste profile of our chocolate.
My favorite sweet indulgence at the CACAO70 Eatery is the Factory Hot Chocolate.
It’s presentation is an experience taken from the pages of Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory, with a sumptuous chocolate lining in glass that melts as you add a side cup of warm, steamed milk.
Of course, there are many favorite signature dishes in addition to the hot chocolate menu including the Illegal Chocolate Waffle and the unheard of Marshmallow Chocolate Pizza. Choosing only one sweet treat, I indulged in the waffle with drizzled milk chocolate and caramelized bananas on top. Sweet bowls of chocolate, vanilla ice cream and crunch chocolate-covered cereal sit in small bowls ready for dipping pleasures.
It’s unique to the chocolate market in Canada, and I’ve only experienced something remotely similar in two places: Santa Fe, New Mexico at a small family restaurant and Puerto Rico’s Chocobar Cortez.
The Cortez family opened its establishment in the 1920s and offers the most delicious chocolate daiquiri’s in a setting that celebrates the familial and cultural adoration of chocolate.
CACAO70’s “bean-to-bar” chocolate is used in all of their drinks and is produced in their Montreal chocolate factory. Back in May of 2017, the company opened the factory. It was a proud moment with unexpected obstacles and challenges, but provides a unique and wonderful playground for the company to experiment with different types of cacao beans and methods of producing chocolate.
The factory is open to the public and has a café built within the space for customers to watch the production process. Guided tours are available upon request, and the chocolatiers share their chocolate production process while also teaching people where and how beans are sourced, roasted, refined, molded and packaged.
The history of chocolate dates back to 450 B.C. in Mesoamerica, with the Aztec people who believed the cacao seeds were a gift from the god of wisdom, Quetzalcoatl. They were valued as a form of currency and thought to provide strength and a sexual appetite when consumed in a liquid form.
Much has changed over the centuries when it comes to chocolate, its many flavors and delicious forms. If there isn’t a CACAO70 near you or chocolate isn’t for you, there are endless options and types of creative foodie experiences just waiting for you to experience. On my next visit to CACAO70, I’m hoping to fall in love with their chocolate beer!
Visit WomanScape for more Foodscape stories. Have a great weekend and if your curious about CACAO70’s chocolate production process, we hope you enjoy this video!