Although the official first day of winter is still a couple of weeks away, the first flakes of snow have already graced us here in Toronto. Ryerson students are constantly drudging from class to class out in the cold and want to keep warm any way they can. The ultimate remedy for those chilly days: a cup of the always in-style hot chocolate. The classic winter drink is like a warm hug that will put some warmth back into your shivering body. We’ve stirred up the best places on or near campus to sip on some sweetness.
1. The Black Canary Espresso Bar @ The Silver Snail, 329 Yonge St.
Cost: $3.75 (for a medium – only came in medium and large)
This hidden gem is tucked away in the upstairs retail unit of the Silver Snail comic book shop near Yonge-Dundas Square. The hot chocolate here is special because it’s no ordinary hot chocolate—it’s a Nutella hot chocolate. Once the baristas are done stirring the Nutella into your beverage, they let you lick the spoon of yummy chocolate-hazelnut goodness. The presentation is lovely overall, with the steamed milk leaf design drawn into the top of the hot chocolate. Also, the hazelnut flavour of the Nutella infuses the hot chocolate with character, making it into a unique drink with an identity of its own. The café itself is also a cute nook to study in, with the sounds of classic rock softly playing in the background. Not to mention, it also features a massive Batman statue.
2. Denny’s, 121 Dundas St. W
Cost: $2.89 (one size)
If you’re in the mood for eating pure chocolate, this is the closest thing I could recommend. Denny’s hot chocolate is a flavour extravaganza of sweetness that pleases the taste buds of any person with a sweet tooth. It’s rich and filling, too. Denny’s is especially convenient for students who have class in the Ted Rogers building because they’re less than a five-minute walk apart. Plus, the restaurant is known for serving a killer breakfast, so you can take a seat and enjoy the hot chocolate with your meal rather than take it to go.
3. Tim Hortons, 26 Dundas St. E
Cost: $1.43 (small)
Tim Hortons hot chocolate is nothing special, but it’s backed up with convenience and familiarity of brand. There are literally tons of Timmies around campus, so it’s accessible to students who want a quick boost of warmth with some no-frills style hot chocolate. There aren’t any fancy toppings or presentation, so it’s a pretty average hot chocolate. But the last sip usually packs a punch because all of the sugar accumulates at the bottom of the cup, which you may either love or hate. Other hot chocolate options at Tim Horton’s include white hot chocolate and dark hot chocolate.
4. Roll Play Café, 10A Edward St.
Cost: $5 (one size – but it’s a large portion)
Roll Play Café is a game board café located on a side street off Yonge Street. Conveniently located near the Ryerson library, students can walk over and pick up a hot chocolate to go. If you decide to stay, guests have the option of spiking their hot chocolate with Kahlua or Baileys liquor to spice it up. The presentation was simple: just a little bit of cinnamon sprinkled on top and voilà: ready to go.
5. Oakham Café, 50 Gould St.
Cost: $3 (one size)
Oakham Café prides itself on serving students food and drink with the best ingredients possible. This organic hot chocolate can be conveniently purchased right on campus at the café inside the Student Centre. They accept your Ryerson OneCard as a form of payment to boot, so students can use their meal plan funds towards a delicious cup of hot chocolate. The hot chocolate from here is almost too sweet, but it’s the perfect study pick-me-up for some energy from that extra kick of sugar; it’s like dessert in a mug.
6. Starbucks, 66 Gerrard St. E
Cost: $3.25 (tall size)
This Starbucks is the most convenient location for students with classes in the theatre school, architecture building or in the Rogers Communication Centre. The hot chocolate here is served piping hot, and is sweet and milky tasting. The presentation of the whipped cream topping is sometimes a little bit sloppy, but who can blame them when they’re in a constant rush to get that long line passed along. The whipped cream is thick, fluffy and reminiscent of the taste of canned whipped cream from a grocery store. Although you can feel the plaque accumulating on your teeth while drinking it from all of the sugar, it’s an A+ hot chocolate.
7. Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, 122 Bond St.
Cost: $2.95 (small)
Want a Parisian coffee house experience? Well, look no further because you can find it at Balzac’s. Located on campus, but not affiliated with Ryerson, the café is attached to the Image Arts Centre. The taste of this hot chocolate is another rich one, but it errs closer to the dark chocolate side. It’s smooth without a gritty sugar crystal texture. It tastes similar to Starbucks’ hot chocolate, but without the high price tag.
8. Timothy’s World Coffee, 20 Dundas St. W
Cost: $3.95 (small)
Timothy’s has regular hot chocolate, but their specialty winter hot chocolate—the “Festive Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate”—is much more notable. It’s lavishly topped with whipped cream, caramel swirl, salt and pretzels (although I wouldn’t recommend eating the toppings because once they get soggy—they aren’t very appetizing). This is the perfect drink to get anyone in the holiday spirit. Caution: this one is extremely filling, like a large dessert, so forgo this one if you’re looking for a lighter drink.
*All prices exclude tax