There are few things that evoke a universal reaction of love like chocolate. Books have been written, movies have been made, empires have fallen (I assume) all in humble reverence to the tasty and delicious cocoa bean. It’s been said a bite of chocolate mimics the sensation of falling in love and there’s no doubt that a day in the dumps can be picked up with a bite of this dark, rich treat. And though chocolate is often associated with the upcoming Valentine’s Day, I’m here to insist that chocolate be a part of life every day. Even multiple times a day. Whether you melt it, bake it, drizzle it, mould it or sip it, there is no shortage of places in Manitoba to get your chocolate fix.

Drink it

Whether it’s hot or cold, in grown up or kid form, nothing beats a steaming mug or frothy glass of liquid chocolate. Check out the decadent concoction from Jenna Rae Cakes featuring Nutella stuffed marshmallows, or kick it up a notch with a spicy sip of the good stuff from Chocolatier Constance Popp. At Capo Coffee Lounge in Ils de Chene, they dress up chocolate with some coffee and kahlua while at Dwarf No Cachette, you can pull up to a milkshake in chocolate cheesecake flavour.

Cake it

No matter how you slice it, a piece of chocolate cake is the perfect way to end any meal (or even to replace a meal–we’re grown ups here, we can do that). Check out High Tea Bakery’s new cake by the slice if you just want a taste of rich raspberry chocolate ganache. If you want the whole shebam  (and we would never judge that choice), check out Caked With Love Co’s hazelnut inspired Fererro Rocher torte. Of course cakes come in miniature too like Roll Cake’s chocolate Oreo peanut butter and bacon cupcake. If you want to go classic, nothing beats a good old fashioned ooey gooey chocolate cake from Lilac Bakery.

Nibble it

Sometimes you want to experience chocolate in its purest form and whether it’s a bar, a ball or a bite, these creations convey the very essence of the chocolate experience. Check out Chocolatier Constance Popp and the Manitobar made with local ingredients like flax and sunflower seeds and molded in the iconic keystone shape. At Decadence Chocolates, pop a little heart shaped bite flavoured with rosewater, cinnamon and chili or even champagne in your mouth. For the health conscious Bliss Bites creates raw cocoa bites crafted with dates, nuts and cacao powder. And finally Aschenti Cocoa is a local bean to bar chocolate maker, creating small batch bars with the highest quality ingredients.

Sandwich it

Pure decadence comes to head when chocolate comes in layers or is sandwiched between something sweet. Take Jenna Rae Cake’s whipped brownie batter macarons as an example of a rich filling sandwiched between light meringue discs or Goodies Bake Shop’s chocolate eclairs stuffed with a chocolate salted caramel filling. At Sweet Impressions Bakery, chocolate layers go all the way through with two chocolate cookies filled with fudge and vanilla frosting and at Pinky’s Bakeshop chocolate sprinkle and chocolate chip cookies are sandwiched with layers of sweet icing.

Circle it

There’s something about round shapes that just lend themselves to chocolate goodness. Donuts and cookies–we can’t get enough. Check out Sweet Impressions Bakery’s decadent double chocolate donut flecked with gold or their chocolate salted caramel version. At Bronuts, try out the pistachio cardamom with white chocolate (cause white chocolate is chocolate too). At The Pennyloaf, chocolate is paired with pretzels and chips in a sweet and salty cookie that will send your taste buds into a tailspin. Prairie Ink stumped us on which category their macaronut should go in to (sandwich, donut or cookie?), but in the end we decided it didn’t really matter because who doesn’t want a chocolate macaron donut shaped shell stuffed with marshmallow filling?