JS Bonbons, 163 Dupont, 416-920-0274; and 811 Queen West, 416-703-7731, www.jsbonbons.com Rating: NNNNN
The kitchen behind the canvas curtain at JS Bonbons' Dupont shop is fitted with a four-burner stove topped with a single pot of boiling water. The lack of high-tech equipment doesn't stop owner Jenn Stone from chocolatiering up to 5,000 confections a day for local hotels, restaurants and sweet-toothed shoppers craving her unique flavour combos.
Not every fusion works (a white chocolate and saffron truffle looked too much like a soft-boiled egg to pass the sense test), but mixes like coriander/lime and tarragon/black pepper have become instant favourites.
Stone admits the recipes that make it into the candy cabinets at her two Toronto stores are tempered by her personal tastes. For instance, a craving for licorice when she was pregnant with her three-week-old daughter produced a wave of anise-laced treats.
Chocolate cooking classes and a hot cocoa bar at the Queen Street location cover every chocoholic base.
Stone's picks: Sea-salted caramel with a liquid centre in a bittersweet shell, $1.25 each; brittle toffee sandwiched between sheets of semi-sweet dark chocolate, $7.50; black pepper, ginger, cardamom and orange spiced cocoa spikes up a perfect cup of coffee, $16.
Look for: Valentine's treats including a bag of solid two-toned white, milk and dark chocolate hearts ($14), and the big box of love ($32), featuring your own pick of 18 sweet bites from the showcase.
Hours: (Dupont) Tuesday to Friday, 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday 10 am to 7 pm, Sunday 11 am to 5 pm; (Queen) Tuesday, Thursday to Saturday 10 am to 7 pm, Wednesday 10 am to 6 pm, Sunday 11 am to 5 pm.