A Cup For Every Palate at the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival - WestCoastFood

By Kristi Alexandra

From sweet to savoury, and spirited to sinless, there’s a cocoa-inspired cup for every desire during the 9th annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival.

Running January 19 all the way up until February 14, the Hot Chocolate Festival celebrates a near-decade of turning cold, grey west coast winters into a scrumptious scavenger hunt. We might even venture to agree with the festival’s motto: “Hot chocolate makes you happy!”

Blame it on the dopamine.

"You Da Bomb" by BjornBar Bakery in Edgemont Village, North Vancouver
“You Da Bomb” by BjornBar Bakery in Edgemont Village, North Vancouver

Whether you’re in the pursuit of happiness, or the hopeless romantic in you is searching for the ultimate Valentine’s Day lead up, there are 74 different hot chocolate flavours to keep your tastebuds satisfied over the next month.

We’ve put together a list of cocoas on the top of our list across Vancouver, North Van and Burnaby that are sure to please every palate.

Vegan Friendly

Cruelty-free cocoa lovers rejoice. You’ll find a sinless sip of cocoa in the following hot chocolates.

Chocolate Power Plant
Try this vegan almond or vegan hazelnut milk hot chocolate, paired with a vegan chocolate doughnut. Lucky’s is rolling out their vegan doughnut made-specially for the Hot Chocolate Festival.
Find it at: 49th Parallel & Lucky’s Doughnuts: 2902 Main St; 2198 West Fourth Ave; 689 Thurlow St

Midnight Spice
This cup boasts dark chocolate married with almond milk, organic cayenne, cinnamon and garnished with spices and slivered almonds. Pair it with any donut in the display case. They recommend the vegan chocolate glaze.
Find it at: Cartems Donuts: 2190 Main St; 3040 West Broadway

Peta Kool-Aid
Did someone say Baileys? Try this entirely vegan coconut cream ganache hot chocolate with Baileys Almond Milk liqueur,and paired with a mini dark chocolate bar.
Find it at: Mink Chocolates: 863 West Hastings St

A Kinder Salted Caramel
Decadent hot chocolate with caramel and fair trade cacao – 100% organic and vegan, comes with a house-made maple shortbread.
Find it at: Eternal Abundance Organic Market & Cafe; 1025 Commercial Drive
Notes: Available Jan 19 – Feb 1

Fun & Fruity

If you like your chocolate with a side of fruit, you’ll be berry—ahem, very—pleased with the following options.

The Citronelle
Lemongrass white chocolate latte, paired with a lemongrass kumquat macaron.
Find it at: Beaucoup Bakery: 2150 Fir Street

Roseberry White Chocolate
Raspberry white hot chocolate with rose-water whipped cream and dried rose petals. Paired with any donut in the display case. They recommend the “Earl Grey.”
Find it at: Cartems Donuts: 2190 Main St; 3040 West Broadway

Strawberries in the Snow
Valrhona-inspired strawberry chocolate, served with a chocolate cup filled with whipped cream.
Find it at: Gem Chocolates: 2029 West 41st Ave.
Notes: Available Jan 26 – Feb 2

Yu-Zu…What?
Adventurers only. Try this sweet-tart, citrus Yuzu-infused Tanzania white drinking chocolate, with coconut milk and citrus zest, accompanied by a house-made jasmine cookie.
Find it at: East Van Roasters: 319 Carrall St.(Gastown)
Notes: Only available Feb. 2 – 14

Young, Dumb, and Full of Kumquat
Kumquat and yuzu white hot chocolate featuring Callebaut Blanc Satin, served with a passionfruit citrus meringue kiss.
Find it at: Perverted Ice Cream:797 Thurlow Street

Lick My Banana Split
Valrhona 70% dark chocolate infused with banana, garnished with whipped cream and a cherry on top, accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a chocolate shell.
Find it at: Temper Chocolate and Pastry: 2409 Marine Drive (Dundarave, West Vancouver)

Strawberry Fields Forever
Dark chocolate and roasted strawberry, served with a house-made s’more.
Find it at: Chez Christophe: 4717 Hastings St., Burnaby

Adults Only

Silly sipper, not all hot chocolate is for kids. This festival has a select few cups for the 19+ crowd.

Peta Kool-Aid
Did someone say Baileys? Try this entirely vegan coconut cream ganache hot chocolate with Baileys almond milk liqueur,and paired with a mini dark chocolate bar.
Find it at: Mink Chocolates: 863 West Hastings St

Great Balls of Fire
Spicy cinnamon Callebaut milk chocolate infused with Fireball liqueur, served with “fried” ice cream.
Find it at: Glenburn Soda Foundation: 4090 Hastings St., Burnaby
Notes: Available Feb 2 – 8

Love is a Bitch
Mango tequila white hot chocolate with chilli, paired with a rosemary dark chocolate praline with olive oil. Vegan option available.
Find it at: Koko Monk Hot Chocolate Lounge: 2883 West Broadway
Notes: Available Jan 19 – 25

Amaretti Merckx
An Amaretto-infused hot chocolate, served with a side of Amaretti cookies.
Find it at: Mussette Cafe: 1325 Burrard St.

"Bjorn to Party" by BjornBar Bakery in Edgemont Village, North Vancouver
“Bjorn to Party” by BjornBar Bakery in Edgemont Village, North Vancouver

Foreign Flavours

Release your inner globetrotter through your tastebuds. The following flavours may just lead you to your next destination.

The Umami Experience
Tamari caramel drinking chocolate made with 70% dark single-origin chocolate, paired with wasabi chocolate almonds.
Find it at: East Van Roasters: 319 Carrall St.(Gastown)
Notes: Only available Jan 19  Feb 1

Captured Alive in the Peruvian Jungle
Back by popular demand, Maranon’s world-famous rare chocolate explodes with flavour and texture, accompanied by a chocolate palette topped with a whole roasted cocoa bean.
Find it at: Gem Chocolates: 2029 West 41st Ave.
Notes: Available Feb 3 – 12

Istanbul – Tokyo: Double Kicker
Vegan coconut milk matcha tea white chocolate with Turkish coffee, served with a vegan eggnog and rum praline.
Find it at: Koko Monk Chocolates: 1849 West 1st Ave.
Notes: Available Jan 26 – Feb 1

Crazy Rich Pandan
Milk chocolate pandan, topped with whipped cream, freeze-dried durian and a dusting of toasted coconut.
Find it at: Mon Paris Patisserie: 4396 Beresford St., Burnaby

Shiva & Parvati (India)
Dirty chai hot chocolate made with an in-house blend of spices, Colombian single origin 85% chocolate and a double shot of espresso. Paired with a mini chai cheesecake.
Find it at: Trafiq Cafe & Bakery: 4216 Main St.
Notes: Available Jan 19 – 24; Feb 8-14

Bee-yond Tasty and Lavender Sips

Herbal. Honeyed. What’s not to like? Try a quaff fit for a Queen Bee.

The Bees Knees Squeeze
White hot chocolate flavoured with lemon and honey, served with a cream cheese treat.
Find it at: Chez Christophe: 4717 Hastings St., Burnaby

Mark Lavendish
A honey-lavender dark hot chocolate, served with a side of lavender biscotti and honey marshmallow.
Find it at: Mussette Cafe: 1325 Burrard St.

Lavender Dream
Lavender- and lemongrass-infused white chocolate, served with a white chocolate-glazed doughnut.
Find it at: Diva at the Met: 645 Howe St.
Notes: Not available from 3 – 6 p.m.

Black Lavender
French lavender-infused hot chocolate blended with blackberry, accompanied by Gem’s popular lavender and blackberry chocolate.
Find it at: Gem Chocolates: 2029 West 41st Ave.
Notes: Available January 19 – 25

Party Crowd Pleasers

Move over, Andrew WK. These couple cups of cocoa spell party like no other.

Who Are You Calling A ‘Conehead’?
A cortado-sized hot chocolate served in a chocolate-lined edible cone, paired with a mini milk chocolate bar.
Find it at: Mink Chocolates: 863 West Hastings St

Bjorn to Party!
White chocolate coconut ganache hot chocolate, topped with sprinkles and mini party meringues.
Find it at: Bjornbar Bakery: 102 – 3053 Edgemont Boulevard (North Vancouver)
Notes: Available Jan 26 – Feb 1

 

Image at the top: Hot chocolate from Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe | Photo Credit: Leila Kwok

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