Chef Mark McEwan tries Toronto’s best chocolate bark

Sweet treats from the city's top cocoa purveyors are sampled in this holiday taste test

Bark! The herald angels sing. This holiday season, we scoured the city to find delightful treats from Toronto’s top cocoa purveyors and asked chef Mark McEwan to sample them. From kid-friendly, marshmallow-filled finds to subtle dark chocolate with candied fruit, here are our best bark bets for impressing guests or indulging by yourself on a cold winter’s night.

A) WINNER
CHOCOLATERIA
McEwan loves this “kitchen sink” bark with milk, dark and white chocolate. “There’s nice texture all the way through it,” he says. “It has the right amount of added ingredients.”
361 Roncesvalles Ave., $5.97

B) STUBBE
Although McEwan loves the high-quality dark chocolate of this almond bark, he thought it would have been better if they left the skins on the almonds and “punched up the almond flavour.”
653 Dupont St., $14.75 

C) CHOCOLAT CHARM
This simple almond bark catches McEwan’s attention for its rich, nutty flavour. “They left the skin on the almond, which is very smart,” he says. “Of all the almond bars, this is the best one.
3541 Bathurst St., $21.95/ 200 g

D) DUFFLET
This simple cranberry almond bark catches McEwan’s attention for its rich, fudgy texture. “It has a nice contrast and flavour,” he says.
2638 Yonge St., $8.49

E) PHIPPS
“The milk chocolate quality is excellent,” says McEwan of this bark studded with cashews and dried fruit. He likes the dark chocolate drizzle but wishes the bark were a bit simpler.
420 Eglinton Ave. W., $9.99

F) AVOCA CHOCOLATES
The quality of the dark chocolate is up to McEwan’s standards, but he thinks the almonds would have been better if they were toasted first to increase their nutty flavour.
850 Millwood Rd., $7.95

G) SHORT AND SWEET
For McEwan, the two-tone candy cane bark was a close second. “The candy cane aspect of it is really good,” he says. “The chocolate is on the bitter side, so it balances out nicely.”
1945 Avenue Rd., $15

H) ZACK’S CHOCOLATES
“Crispy and crunchy, with fun cheeky little marshmallows in it,” says McEwan. “Anyone in the room will love it, but it will be the kids’ favourite, no doubt.”
7117 Bathurst St., $6.50/100 g