Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival

Yes, I thought it was high time for a CHOCOLATE POST.

So here it is.

By a happy coincidence, we’re in the last week of the Third Annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival, running through to the 14th.

No, this is not an April Fool. Yes, I live in the best place on earth. We’ve just finished this year’s (Twelfth Annual?) Dine Out Vancouver Festival, “Canada’s largest annual celebration of eating out,” featuring cheap menus at all the best restaurants in town. And yes, this does probably also explain why all the local gyms etc. are continuing to offer “New Year, New You” special deals …

vancouver hot chocolate festivalSome recs: not all are hot chocolate, or indeed hot, or chocolate, but all are seasonal festive/festival offerings that are, let’s say, artistic interpretations of the given theme… My own best bets are in bold. All links go to the Festival website.

Bella Gelateria

  • the best ice-cream place in town: doing an amazing 99% dark chocolate drink, amongst other things

Blenz + Cocolico (also this other branch, with different accompaniments to the hot chocolates proper)

  • yes, Blenz, that’s right, our local chain, in business-urban-ecological terms an equivalent to (and competitor of) Starbucks. That, folks, is how groovy Vancouver is.
    My money’s on them for the popular vote. Also, their regular hot chocolate is way better than Starbucks etc.; none of that syrupy flavours nonsense, actual hot chocolate.

HOT CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL FLAVOURS

#15 – “SHIROKUMA*”
White hot chocolate with Japanese matcha,
served with a mini trio of Chef Wendy Boys’ Cocolico chocolate bars. (See details below.)
Available: every day of the Festival.
(*Shirokuma is a popular Japanese animé character. He’s a Canadian white polar bear who got lost on a floating iceberg, ended up in Japan, and now runs an organic cafe with a host of other animal characters.)

#16 – “RASPBERRY BERET”
White, Milk, or Dark Belgian Hot Chocolate with raspberry, prepared fresh to order, by blending whole chocolate pieces into steamed milk,
topped with vanilla whipped cream,
and served with a mini trio of Chef Wendy Boys’ Cocolico chocolate bars. (See details below.)
Available: every day of the Festival.

Sampler tray of mini chocolate bars:
White Chocolate with Caramelized Cocoa Nib Praline
Milk Chocolate with Salted Toffee Hazelnut
Dark Chocolate with Almond, Apricot & Violet

Chocolate Arts

  • (depending on tastes; I haven’t had the bacon one, for obvious reasons, but witnessed its effects on other ecstatic people)

Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France

  • were I a betting woman, my money would be on them. Consider that a generous hint to friends of a more gambling persuasion…

HOT CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL FLAVOURS

#21 – “Jasmine”
64% dark chocolate – origin: Ecuador.
Infused with jasmine,
and served with choice of chocolate square.
Available: every day of the festival.

#22 – “Anise”
64% dark chocolate – origin: Mexico.
Infused with aniseed,
and served with choice of chocolate square.
Available: every day of the festival.

#23 – “Cardamom”
64% dark chocolate – origin: Mexico.
Infused with cardamom,
and served with choice of chocolate square.
Available: every day of the festival.

#24 – “Orange Blossom Flower”
64% dark chocolate – origin: Ecuador.
Infused with orange blossom flowers,
and served with choice of chocolate square.
Available: every day of the festival.

#25 – “Lavender”
64% dark chocolate – origin: Ecuador.
Infused with lavender flowers.
and served with choice of chocolate square.
Available: every day of the festival.

#26 – “Rose of Ecuador”
64% dark chocolate – origin: Ecuador.
Infused with rose petals,
and served with choice of chocolate square.
Available: every day of the festival.

Two types of drinking chocolates are available: Sipping Chocolate (thick and creamy) or Hot Chocolate (light and foamy). All drinks prepared for the festival contain milk, but vegan options are offered on the regular menu, along with kid-friendly options.

Cocoa Nymph

  • especially if you like marshmallows

Thomas Haas

  • gorgeousness as expected from the grandaddy of indie Van haute chocolaterie

Secret Location

  • this would be the exciting and slightly dangerous bet…

HOT CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL FLAVOURS

#61 – “BLOND MYSTIQUE”
Roasted white chocolate, candy cap, and cognac hot chocolate.
Served with a brown butter Caramelia financier.
(Candy cap is a unique small mushroom, that when dried, has the aroma and flavour of earthy maple syrup.)
Available: Every day of the Festival.

#62 – “APHRODITE”
Nyangbo and parsnip hot chocolate,
topped with whipped chocolate ganache and parsnip milk jam.
Served with English Breakfast gelato.
(Nyangbo is a Valrhona chocolate from Ghana, and the parsnip milk jam is caramelized, much like a dulce de leche. In Roman times, parsnip was considered to be an aphrodisiac.)
Available: Every day of the Festival.

#63 – “LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS”
Smoked cinnamon mocha with chocolate marshmallows and caramel powder.
Served with Manjari chocolate brownie.
Available: Every day of the Festival.

Thierry

  • a safe bet.

HOT CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL FLAVOURS

#57 – “Ohhh CANADA!”
Canadian maple syrup + pecan hot chocolate,
served with a sable.
Available: January 19 – 29

#58 – “ONE IN A MILLION”
Hot chocolate made with Maranon (the world’s rarest chocolate),
served with a chocolate-dipped madeleine.
Available: January 30 – February 10

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