I get it now. For years I’ve heard everyone going on about how fantastic Toronto is, but I’ve never understood why. I thought it was just a big, impersonal city, but then again I had never really spent any time in Toronto. But now that I’ve finally spent a few days there, I get it. What I have loved the most about Toronto is all these fascinating little pockets of life it has spread out across the city and perhaps one of the most unlikely pockets, just minutes from the business district, is Kensington market.
Kensington market is a handful of blocks, mainly following a zig zag shape, lined with specialty stores in particular food stores. We fell in love with one store called the Good Egg which was filed with stunning cookbooks from around the world. The whole area has a funky and artistic vibe, lots of graffiti and artistic touches.
Right in the heart of this little zig zag market is Fika. The word fika in Swedish is a verb that means “to go out for coffee”. There it is common to invite friends to have coffee and a sweet snack every few hours during the workday. Instead of coffee we chose their Lavender White Hot Chocolate.
I woke up excited about trying this unique hot chocolate as the starting point to our exploration of Kensington market and I wasn’t disappointed at all. The frothy perfectly white drink was presented in an orange Le Crueset earthenware mug. Just before you take your first sip your nose is filled with the calming scent of lavender. It looks and at first tastes like hot milk, but with a much richer and creamier finish. It enveloped my taste buds and the rest of me like a big fluffy duvet on a cold morning.
Actually if it wasn’t for the coffee counter…and the other guests…, add in a big comfy bed and I would have been more than happy to wake up here. The small space feels bright and airy with very pale blue walls with delicate green accents. A handful of large photos of eagles and wild horses in their natural habitats in shades of whites and greys hang on the walls. Two large comfortable looking light grey chairs with fussy blue throws draped over the back are pushed up against one wall. The bright morning sun shined straight through the windows and flooded the café. At that moment I couldn’t have thought of a better way to have started our chilly Toronto morning.
Verdict: An absolutely beautiful hot chocolate. As unique as Kensington market, perhaps even more. Now one of my favourites. CDN$4 Fika, 28 Kensington Ave, Toronto, Canada