The chocolatiers at Chocolate Tales love a sweet bit a cocoa, but they love bringing people together even more. That's why they created the Chocolate Social, an innovative event that combines the hands-on fun of chocolate making with the laid-back ambiance of a happy-hour bar. The vision for this new social experience comes from David, the founder of Chocolate Tales. Inspired by his time in Europe, he brought back the continent's shared love of quality chocolates, social camaraderie, and a few stiff drinks before adding his own, unique spin.
During these two-hour sessions—held at bars and restaurants throughout the GTA—groups loosen up with a drink and chocolate pairing, sipping on wine or cocktails in between bites of delicious confections. Then, they listen to enthusiastic chocolatiers share their knowledge of generating fine, cocoa-based creations as well as tasty tidbits of chocolate history. Finally, it's time to get hands-on; participants bond while creating impressive sweets such as hand-rolled truffles.
Wineries are often found far down country roads, shrouded by the curling tendrils of their vineyards. At The Wine Garden, though, the entire winemaking experience can be had without setting foot outside of the city.
Yeast bubbles busily in stainless-steel fermentation vessels, transforming the juices of grapes from fertile regions of Chile, Argentina, and California. The fermentation process yields wines that range from crisp chardonnay to heady cabernet franc, the progenitor of cabernet sauvignon, and oak barrels bestow some of the elixirs with a rich maze of tannins. Fruit wines made with peaches, cranberries, or strawberries make refreshing summertime drinks and help work friends mingle with hummingbird friends at parties. Patrons play a major role in the entire process, selecting grapes and siphoning finished wine into bottles. The Wine Garden's gourmets also brew craft beers and stock hot sauces with humourous names such as Blair's Chipotle Death Rain.
The ancient arts of healing take root at Happy Foot Spa, where a team of therapists employs Asian bodywork techniques in pursuit of holistic improvements. Chinese tui na treatments and Japanese shiatsu treatments employ massage techniques that focus on acupressure points to balance and propel energy throughout the body. Lymphatic-drainage techniques target built-up fluids and toxins in the body with the hopes of improving metabolism and immune systems. Happy Foot Spa’s mix of classic spa treatments can also help beautify faces, slim bodies, remove hair, and paint "Do Not Chew" signs on finger- and toenails.
Alicia's Fine Foods stands proud as a playground for the inventive European, stocking fresh organic fare and imported European products. A 45-foot counter of cold cuts and cheeses, more than 100 varieties of jams and condiments, and fresh specialty breads play nice within Alicia's imported emporium, along with fresh store-made pierogies, soups, and more. Explore the aisles with a sense of adventure more moving than an Indiana Jones wind-up doll, stopping to inspect this month's specials, such as Diane fine Belgian truffles ($4.99 for 200g), Krakus sauerkraut ($2.29 for 796ml), and German eierspatzle ($1.99 for 500g). Organic bison ($7.99 per lb) and country ham ($4.99 per lb) coo sweetly over to the bread selection ($3.29–$3.49), uttering fantasies of a better life together, and more than 20 varieties of organic tea ($2–$5) supplement any meal with a thorough gastro-warming.
Purchasers of this Groupon can also use it toward The Gourmet Emporium's lengthy wine list and luscious libations. Housed in a restored bank building, The Gourmet Emporium offers an architecturally appealing interior for dining or late-night dancing. Live music is often found cruising the crowd, and themed nights spicy up the week, such as Latin night on Thursday, when guests dressed in sweater vests bring resurrected textbooks of the long-dead language. Free parking is available.
At The Wine Place, would-be vintners can mix and bottle their own reds or whites using varietals from around the world. Visitors can choose a vino-to-be from a selection of wine kits derived from grapes grown in such locales as South Africa, South America, California, Italy, and the mythical land of Shangri-La. Once guests have decided on a variety for their batch—including cabernet sauvignon, syrah, pinot gris, and more—friendly, knowledgeable staff members help pour nascent libations into a large jug, mix in crucial ingredients, and stir.