By Mary Ann Bell
With a mind-boggling 114 different hot chocolate flavours on offer from 44 vendors, there is a cup of chocolatey-goodness to suit everyone’s tastes during the 10th annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival.
Running January 18 until February 14, this year’s event is bigger and better than ever, with Vancouver’s best chocolatiers, cafes, pastry shops, bakeries, gelato and ice cream makers serving up cups of decadent hot chocolate that are definitely not the powdery hot chocolate your mom used to make on snow days!
As temperatures dip below zero in Metro Vancouver, there couldn’t be a better time to wrap your hands around a steaming cup of hot chocolate, and remember the festival’s motto, “Hot Chocolate Makes You Happy!” … body and soul!
We’ve scoured the offerings, and have put together a list of must-try cocoas from across Vancouver, Burnaby, North Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey and White Rock.
THE SURREALIST – A shot of white almond chocolate served in a cookie cup with a sable cookie spoon.
CHOCOLATE PLAYGROUND – Inspired by childhood favourites, ‘Chocolate Playground’ is rich hot chocolate served over Banana Foster ice cream – affogato style. Served with a Snickerdoodle cookie.
Find them at: Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe
2150 Fir Street, Vancouver
OPEN SESAME – Michel Cluizel 45% milk chocolate with homemade black sesame paste, and a touch of sea salt. Paired with an amerena cherry gelato popsicle
FUNKY MONKEY – Michel Cluizel 72% dark chocolate with homemade banana flambe puree. Paired with an amerena cherry gelato popsicle.
PURPLE RAIN – Michel Cluizel white chocolate with homemade purple ube puree. Paired with an amarena cherry gelato popsicle.
Find them at: Bella Gelateria
1001 West Cordova Street, Vancouver
ALOHA MACS – Dark Chocolate ganache with steamed Macadamia milk, a hint of Macadamia nut and topped with crushed roasted Macadamia Nuts. Paired with house-made Lilikoi (Passionfruit) Macadamia Nut Butter Cookies.
BROK DA MOUT – Dark chocolate, hibiscus ginger tea, ginger with honey, steamed coconut milk, with a trace of cardamom. Paired with house-made Coconut Chocolate Biscotti.
Find them at: Honolulu Coffee
888 Nelson Street, Vancouver
CIOCCOLATO ROSA – Inspired by the most awesome trend out there right now, ruby chocolate. The bright pinkish hue of the ruby chocolate is taken from the ruby cacao bean. Topped with homemade whipped cream and decorated with gold flakes. Accompanied by a delicious Black Currant macaron.
CAPPADOCIA – Hot chocolate drink with a Turkish inspiration. Get warm with a dark 72% chocolate mixed with local red wine from Township 7. Accompanied by a delicious Coconut macaron.
Find them at: Uno Gelato
2579 West Broadway, Vancouver
TASTE OF PERU (Available January 18 – 31, 2020) – Made with Marañón Chocolate’s unique Fortunato No. 4, a 68% dark chocolate from Peru. Served with a chocolate tablette and coconut sable.
ORANGE ALMOND DIP & SIP (Available February 1 – 13, 2020) – A 68% Nyangbo dark chocolate blended with almond praline. Served with mandarin orange pâte de fruit and an orange zest meringue.
Find them at: Thierry Chocolates
1059 Alberni Street, Vancouver
GET THE GREEN LIGHT (Available January 18 – 24, 2020) – Callebaut dark chocolate hot chocolate with creme de menthe flavour. Accompanied by a ‘traffic light’ sugar cookie.
WESTWARD HO-CHO (Available January 25,- 31, 2020) – Sarsaparilla-infused Callebaut milk hot chocolate. Served with a mini smoked almond butter tart.
SPLIT PERSONALITY (Available February 1 – 7, 2020) – Banana-infused Callebaut milk hot chocolate, strawberry whipped cream. Served with a pineapple donut from Royal City Donuts.
HOB-NOBBING (Available February 8 – 14, 2020) – Oat milk hot chocolate made with dark Callebaut chocolate.
Served alongside house-made Hobnob cookies.
Find them at: Glenburn Soda Fountain
4090 Hastings Street, Burnaby
MADEMOISELLE JASMINE – Dark chocolate infused with strawberry and jasmine tea. Served with a white flower and chocolate strawberry.
THE RUBY – Ruby chocolate infused with raspberry puree and rooibos tea. Served with goji berry cluster.
SESAME SESAME – White hot chocolate infused with matcha and black sesame. Served with a black sesame tuille.
Find them at: Mon Paris Patisserie
4396 Beresford Street, Burnaby
YOU DA B-BOMB! (Available January 18 – 24, February 1 -7, 2020) – Dark chocolate ganache hot chocolate topped with mini b-bombs drizzled in chocolate.
EYE OF THE TIGER (Available January 25 – 31, February 8 – 14, 2020) – Peanut butter milk chocolate ganache topped with whip cream and tiger bar bites.
Find them at: Bjorn Bar Bakery
102 – 3053 Edgemont Boulevard, North Vancouver
TWIN FLAME – White hot chocolate, saffron, orange, with cardamom dusted on top with shilajit.
Served with a GLOW chocolate heart.
ANCIENT WISDOM – Raw dark chocolate with healing mushrooms and a light spice. Served with a GLOW chocolate heart.
Find them at: Buddha-Full Cafe
102-2120 Dollarton Hwy, North Vancouver
BLACK FOREST IN A CUP – A 67% dark hot chocolate with Black Forest kirsch chantilly and brandied cherry. Served with a baked chocolate truffle.
LOVE IS IN THE AIR! – A 49% milk hot chocolate infused with raspberry and luscious lychee. Served with a seducing bittersweet chocolate brownie.
Find them at: Thomas Haas Chocolatier
128-998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver AND 2539 West Broadway, Vancouver
BOHEMIAN RASPBERRY (Available January 18 – 24, 2020) – Our house-made raspberry marshmallow drenched in a rich raspberry hot chocolate. Topped with raspberry amaretto whipped cream and a dusting of chocolate shavings.
LET’S GET THE CARDI STARTED – Inspired by our cardamom ice cream, this sweet, milk hot chocolate is delicately spiced with organic and fair trade cardamom. Paired with our classic Pecan Cinnamon Swirl ice cream.
ORANGE YOU GLAD IT’S HOT CHOCOLATE? – A decadent, rich orange dark hot chocolate made with oat milk. Paired with a house-made, light and fluffy, orange tea cake with hints of candied ginger.
Find them at: Earnest Ice Cream
127 West 1st Avenue, North Vancouver or 1829 Quebec Street, Vancouver or 3992 Fraser Street, Vancouver
YIN – A creamy dark hot chocolate blend, infused with aromatic earl grey. Served with a buttery madeleine.
YANG – A unique, bright and smooth yuzu blonde hot chocolate. Served with a buttery madeleine.
YIN-YANG – Both the creamy dark earl grey hot chocolate and the bright yuzu blonde hot chocolate come together for a double feature to taste the best of both worlds. Served with a couple of buttery madeleines.
Find them at: Origo Club
No 110 – 6888 River Rd, Richmond
LUCKY ORANGE (GONG XI FA CAI) (January 18 – February 8, 2020) – A celebratory hot chocolate crafted with house-made Mandarin orange-infused chocolate sauce, and packed with plenty of good wishes for a prosperous New Year. It is paired with a fortune cookie dipped in orange-infused chocolate then coated with sprinkles of pop-rock candy to mimic the crackling of Chinese New Year firecrackers.
DIABLO ROSE (January 27 – February 14, 2020) – A twist on the classic Mexican hot chocolate. The first sip leads with an intriguing rose aroma followed by a lingering sweet-spicy chili finish, all the while tempting the taste buds as a rich and decadent beverage. This hot chocolate is paired with our house-made vegan chocolate brownie drizzled with rose glaze and garnished with rose petals and finishing salt.
Find them at: Everbean Cafe
#106-15331 16th Avenue, Surrey
RUBY SLIPPERS (January 18 – February 12, 2020) – Ruby chocolate infused with delicate rose water. Paired with a Ruby Macadamia dragée.
GOLDEN GENIE (January 18 – February 12, 2020) – A 34% Zéphyr hot chocolate combined with turmeric and topped with cinnamon. Served with a macaron consisting of a chickpea and almond shell filled with a 35% Zephyr caramel cardamom ganache.
Find them at: Chez Christophe
1558 Johnston Road, White Rock or 4717 Hastings St, Burnaby
Photo courtesy Honolulu Coffee.