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Soma Chocolatemaker

Weekend Roundup: February 12 to 15

Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors takes part in the 65th NBA All-Star game. (photo: NBA Photos)

NBA ALL-STAR WEEKEND
This is the first time that the NBA All-Star Weekend has taken place outside of the U.S., so Toronto is rolling out all the stops for basketball’s biggest stars.

February 12  The All-Star Celebrity Game sees Toronto’s own Drake coaching a Canadian squad that includes NBA analyst Rick Fox, HGTV’s Drew and Jonathan Scott, and tennis ace Milos Raonic. Team U.S.A. sees actor Kevin Hart coaching the likes of fellow thespians Jason Sudeikis and Anthony Anderson (blackish), and America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannnon.

February 13 The State Farm All-Star Skills Challenge features three events that put NBA players to the test. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge sees the likes of Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets and Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics in a three-round contest of dribbling, passing and three-point shooting. The Footlocker Three-Point Contest sees sharpshooter Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors defending his 2015 title against the likes of Chris Bosch of the Miami Heat, while the Verizon Slam Dunk contest has Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves up against Will Barton of the Denver Nuggets, Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, and Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons.

February 14 Tip-off for the 65th NBA All-Star Game takes place at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. The Eastern Conference team, comprised of hometown hero Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors (fellow teammate DeMar DeRozan is on the reserve list), LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat, squaring off against their Western Conference rivals, Kobe Bryant of the L.A. Lakers and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Sting performs during the half-time show.

Quince Flowers

Order an arrangement from Quince Flowers in the east end for delivery.

VALENTINE’S DAY
February 14
 
It’s a special day of roses, chocolates and candy hearts for all those in love. If you’re in town with your partner, try these 6 Effortlessly Romantic Things to Do in Toronto for date ideas. And for a candlelit dinner for two, these restaurants to Wine and Dine on Valentine’s Day (or any other time of year in fact).

Looking to send someone a beautiful floral arrangement? These three Toronto florists can put together some lush blooms for a special delivery.

Prefer to lavish your sweetheart with well, sweets? Soma Chocolatemaker has a special V-Day Tiffin box with four tiers of treats including a berry chocolate bark, chocolate tumbled cherries, damask rose truffles and whipped honey butter cloud truffles, while Nadège Patisserie has a Valentine’s Day boutique that includes a “Je T’aime” box of their signature macarons, which come in a range of delectable flavours including pistachio, matcha green tea and raspberry chocolate.

Singletons looking to do commiserate (or celebrate) with fellow consciously uncoupled individuals can sing their achy breaky heart out at Good Enough Live Karaoke at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.

Family Fun Fest

Family Fun Fest at Downsview Park has bouncy castles and arcade games for the whole family.

FAMILY DAY
Though Monday is the official holiday, most activities are on throughout the weekend.

February 13 to 15  Head to Downsview Park for Family Fun Fest, an indoor amusement park and carnival for kids ages two to 12. Inflatable castles, rides, slides, arcade games, live entertainment, and face painting ensure everyone has a good time.

February 14 and 15  The Toronto Premium Outlets celebrates love and family with professional photo sessions in their food pavilion and complimentary roses for visitors. For the first time ever, the discount shopping destination is open on Family Day for those looking for brand name looks.

February 15  Rising rink rats are MVPs on Family Day when they’re granted free admission (when accompanied by an adult) to the Hockey Hall of Fame. A mecca for hockey fans, the popular destination lets sports enthusiasts call the action on a game in the TSN/RDS Broadcast Zone and pose with the coveted Stanley Cup. Built up an appetite? Head over to Lone Star Texas Grill on King Street West, where kids receive a free meal with the purchase of an adult entrée.

—Linda Luong Luck

You Are Here: The Distillery Historic District

What was old is new again in this restored Victorian-era industrial complex that’s home to everything from trend-setting design boutiques, top-tier restaurants, contemporary art galleries and more. (more…)

Staff Picks: Our 10 Choicest Chocolatiers

The great part about trick or treating is that you get sweets for free. (Wait, didn’t you hear? Halloween happened!) Sadly though, bite-sized candy bars can be unsatisfying for the devoted chocoholic. That’s where these 10 boutiques come in.

Soma's Distillery District café location offers numerous chocolate indulgences

Chocolates & Creams
This shop inside Queen’s Quay Terminal has a direct pipeline to Belgian chocolates made by Brussels-based Manon. The imported sweets are flown in weekly and available in individual pieces, gift boxes and baskets. 207 Queens Quay W., Queen’s Quay Terminal, 416-368-6767.

Delight Chocolates
Decadent, organic, handmade chocolates are offered at this store in the Junction, which is dedicated to using as many fair trade ingredients as possible. Ice cream, cookies, and brownies are up for grabs too, and you can wash them down with Alternative Grounds Coffee and Fair Trade Organic Tea. 3040 Dundas St. W., 416-760-9995.

Moroco Chocolat
Imagine a trip to Tiffany’s, but one where all the jewelry was edible. That’s what you’ll find at Moroco Chocolat, a luxury confectioner and lounge. Their delectable sweets are on display within glass showcases, and if you need more than a nibble, salads, omelettes, sandwiches and soufflé are also on the menu. 99 Yorkville Ave., 416-961-2202.

Odile Chocolat
Hand made truffles are Odile’s specialty, created with unexpected combinations of spices, herbs and flowers from around the world. Their traditional selection of truffles includes cognac, bourbon vanilla and espresso, and they also offer candied lime, lemon and orange peels. 829 Dundas St. W., 416-538-1016.

Purdy’s
Richard Carmon Purdy opened his first chocolate shop in Vancouver in 1907 and, thankfully, his company eventually found its way here. Purdy’s sweets are made with Belgian chocolate, Australian ginger, Indian cashews and dairy products fresh from Canada. Don’t leave without having their trademark Hedgehog. Union Station, 65 Front St. W., 416-703-3437.

Simone Marie Belgian Chocolate
As its name suggests, this boutique carries a selection of Belgian chocolates, with over 50 varieties of truffles available individually, in gift baskets, or on party trays (the latter sounds most tempting). Sugar-free chocolates are available too, plus fruit jellies, marzipans and cookies. 126 Cumberland St., 416-968-7777.

Soma Chocolatemaker
Yes, this is a chocolate store, but perhaps “lab” would be a better description. Imported cocoa beans are roasted on-site and crafted into imaginative treats. Milk chocolates, pralines, truffles and a variety of fresh-churned gelato flavours are available. Distillery Historic District, 55 Mill St., 416-815-7662; 443 King St. W., 416-599-7662.

Stubbe Chocolates & Pastry Ltd.
Six generations of chocolate making knowledge go into the confections at Stubbe. Visitors can watch the treats being made in the store’s open kitchen, and if you want to get your hands muddy, they offer workshops with introductions to chocolate- and truffle-making. 653 Dupont St., 416-923-0956.

The Chocolateria
Chocolate dipped potato chips. Need we say more? Yes, the Chocolateria offers the salty-sweet and highly addictive concoctions, as well as sponge toffees, gooey turtles made with fresh pecans, and gift baskets filled with assorted chocolates. 361 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-588-0567.

Xococava
When you scan Xococava’s stylized menu board, you just know you’re in for something unique. Adventurous palates can indulge in chocolates made with cedar, chorizo, olive oil and thyme. The store also serves up equally unusual ice cream and sorbet, many made with seasonal ingredients. 1560 Yonge St., 416-979-9918.

Hot Shopping: A Second Soma

Truffles at Soma (photo by Arounna Khounnoraj)

Indulge a craving for the artisan creations of
David Castellan and Cynthia Leung’s Soma Chocolatemaker at its recently opened location on King sweet, er, King Street West. While the original Distillery Historic District shop is a raw space reflective of its brewery origins, this second outpost is sunlit and inviting, with earthy wood and Algonquin limestone counters. Leung, an architecture grad, collaborated with woodworking masters the Brothers Dressler to create the rustic space accented with the siblings’ distinctive branch chandelier. A main attraction is the open truffle lab, where you can watch specialty truffles come to fruition. Other Soma signature items are also available, from chocolate bars to hot chocolate mix and creamy gelato. And though the mighty cocoa bean is the star here, there is also a daily menu of light eats like pastries, focaccia and sandwiches.