119A Roncesvalles Avenue
Valentine’s Day is commonly thought of as the biggest holiday of the year for chocolate sales, but statistics show it actually ranks third or fourth after Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Due to shopping habits related to the day, however, Valentine’s generates more one-week candy sales than any other holiday. Apparently shoppers are better prepared for the other holidays (something about women doing the bulk of the shopping as opposed to men), and Valentine’s Day purchases are more last minute. Which is a shame, because it means an awful lot of people are getting big ugly boxes of sub-par candy, when a little planning could mean a better product.
Tucked away behind a flower shop on Roncesvalles Avenue is exactly the kind of place where people should be buying their Valentine’s chocolates.
Opened in October of 2007, Craving Chocolates is one tiny room full of chocolately goodness. Owner Oresta Hrycaj runs this small shop and makes all of the products by hand.
Originally started by her father two years ago as a sideline to his import business, Hrycaj says her dad was too busy to keep the chocolate-making up full time. The business was originally based on wholesale custom orders for corporate events, weddings, and other promotions, and that end of things is still the bulk of their business. While the desire to have a shop and make their product more readily available was strong, rising rents in the Roncesvalles area made it tough to find a street level storefront, although Hrycaj says they’re constantly on the lookout for something in the area, as they’d prefer to stay on the Roncesvalles strip, where locals have been supportive of the business since it opened.
The little shop is down a short hallway and is bright and pretty, with gleaming wood floors and east-facing windows. Hrycaj says the extra few steps haven’t hindered their walk-in traffic and the little shop sells over 500 of her sumptuous truffles each week.
The selection here is very focused on quality. Belgian chocolate, cream, butter and various wines and liqueurs go into each batch. Hrycaj prefers truffles flavoured with various alcohols over the green tea, flowers, chai and spices of her competitors. Her father brings in Ukrainian icewine for the icewine truffles, and other truffles are flavoured with rum, dessert wine, cognac or amaretto. She notes that men tend to prefer the cognac truffles while women gravitate towards the dessert wine and icewine flavours.
The truffles at Craving Chocolates are also quite reasonably priced, ranging from $1.25 to $1.80 each, and various assortments range from $4 – $20. The shop also offers bars of chocolate in either milk or dark chocolate for those who prefer their chocolate plain. They also offer bars free with a purchase of $10 or more.
With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, it really is time to start thinking about what to buy for the ones we love. Any chocolate lover would appreciate a selection of Craving Chocolate’s lovely wine-based truffles – they’re a creative and unique way to say “I love you”.