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One of Toronto's favourite chocolatiers has relocated, opening up a new space in partnership with beloved Toronto coffee roasters De Mello Coffee, to create a store that encompasses the best of both worlds.
Chocolat De Kat and De Mello Coffee moved into their new home at 824 St. Clair Ave W. just last week and are currently celebrating their grand opening today and tomorrow by offering each customer a free coffee and a free caramel bonbon.
Owner of Chocolat De Kat, Kata Ambrus, decided to pair up with Felix and Won Cha of De Mello Coffee for her own store. Ambrus had been previously working alongside Lion Coffee for the past three years.
"I moved to this location from a shop I shared with Lion Coffee just two blocks west of where I am now. It was a fantastic three years to run a tiny shop with friends who became family, but we were growing in different directions, so I tapped De Mello for this next adventure," Ambrus remarks in her decision to switch partners.
Both Felix and Won Cha of De Mello were integral factors in influencing Ambrus to discover her passion for chocolates. Ambrus began working as a barista and baker, renting kitchen space at De Mello Coffee on Yonge Street, making pastries for a living. In giving her access to a commercial kitchen, Ambrus was able to first fall in love with the art of creating chocolate and started down this path to where she is now, making this new bright and welcoming space in the Hillcrest neighbourhood even more significant.
Felix Cha of De Mello Coffee notes the company's admiration for Ambrus, saying, "We've seen her passion and love for her chocolate since day one when she started to develop her own brand and when there's an opportunity of collaboration with Chocolat de Kat, we had to go for it!"
Undoubtedly, chocolate is what Ambrus does best. With endless flavour options to choose from, their website even deems them as being "known to convert chocolate skeptics," and rightfully so. The bonbons' outer shell is intricately hand-painted in colourful hues that speak to Ambrus' talents. Encased in the vibrant shell is a rich truffle centre that immediately seems to melt in your mouth.
Flavours are imaginative and hark back to classic desserts like peach cobbler and tiramisu. The most popular flavours are salted caramel, salted pistachio praline and key lime pie. Ambrus recommends exploring their signature option of choosing your flavours from a minimum of 24 available at all times, building this interactive and exciting experience of curating your own box.
Not wanting to divert from a coffee and chocolate set up, Ambrus says, "I like the idea of letting people do what they do best, and De Mello does coffee best, so why not create one space where people can enjoy two very different (but complementary) well-executed things? It's a win-win!"
De Mello Coffee started in 2013 as a small cafe and roastery. Since then, they've expanded to being a wholesale roaster, retailer and have even opened their own training lab in Montreal, allowing their customer base to spread across North America. As a small and diverse team, their vision has always been based around transparency and empowerment.
This ethos is something they translate to both the production and consumer end of their business. De Mello has always been adamant about paying producers above market price. The team also nourishes their consumer base by educating, training, and supporting their clients through dedicated one-on-one relationships.
Their passion and care for their craft shines through with every sip of their product. De Mello Coffee's purchasing philosophy states that they believe each cup of coffee carries human value. As a result, they "offer an origin-based approach to coffee, procuring coffees from a large variety of regions and roasting to showcase the traits inherent of the terroir of these respective regions."
At the new store, you can still expect the same consistency and level of high-quality coffee products and their merchandise and other baked goods that you would find at their first shop in the city. An exciting coffee slush drop will be happening this summer, as well as more apparel being added to their fun line of merchandise.
From a large selection of specialty chocolates and the addition of De Mello Coffee, the new space for bonbons and brew cannot be missed.
De Mello Coffee x Chocolat De Kat is open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on the weekends from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Don't forget to drop by and say hello today and tomorrow to celebrate their grand opening with them!