During the cold winter days, nothing beats a cup of hot chocolate. This year is the 4th annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival, a city known for chocolate delights (after all we have the #1 spot in the world for chocolate).
The HOT CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL returns January 18 to February 14 with over 20 local chocolate makers and over 60 crazy flavours!
With over 60 flavours to choose from, it’s going to take at least a month to try them all. Trend observers won’t be surprised to see salted caramel, Earl Grey tea and cardamom as popular flavour choices again this year. But if they’re looking for something a little edgier, they will find plenty to tempt their curiosity.
After all, when’s the last time you tried a hot chocolate flavoured with…
* PARMESAN: The “Phaun’s Fancy” from CocoaNymph‘s lineup (named after the Classical Gods), unites chocolate with cheese and nutmeg.
* LICORICE: Kerrisdale’s Gem Chocolates makes a “Twisted Romance” of Belgian chocolate and Australian natural black licorice.
* CURRY: Festival newcomer, Koko Monk Chocolates will fly chocolate lovers straight to Bollywood with “The Brunette Bangle“.
* POTATO CHIPS: Ouch! Mink Chocolates takes a playful stab at the Food Network with “Paula Dean’s White Trash Train Wreck” – a caloric spectacle of milk chocolate, condensed milk, salted Kettle Chips and whipped cream.
* CABERNET: Wine lovers will want to take a spin with Terra Bread’s “Call Me a Cab” – a joy ride of chocolate, red wine, cinnamon and pear.
* PEPPERMINT & TUMERIC: Groovy, baby! Leonidas Chocolates captures the artistic temperament with “Boho Secret” – a performance piece of honey, black pepper, peppermint and turmeric.
* FOREST FIRE FUMES: Take the batteries out of the smoke detector! Thomas Haas Chocolates’ “Campfire” will be smoldering with smoked Hawaiian sea salt and smoked caramel.
* And meanwhile … localvores should not overlook Soirette Macarons & Tea. The drinks at this Coal Harbour sweet shop and café have been inspired by the Vancouver landmarks of Stanley Park, Chinatown, Grouse Mountain and the Granville Island Public Market. A cup of cedar-scented “9 O’Clock Gun”, anyone?
Hot chocolate purists need not fret. Most of the vendors will be serving at least one drink featuring unflavoured, hi-cocoa content chocolate only. Thierry’s “Apamakia“, for example, will be made from a special plantation-grown cocoa that is exclusively available at their Alberni Street patisserie and cafe.
Now while you can’t get around the fact that these drinks contain sugar, beyond the pure, high antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, several vendors will also be upping the health quotient with coconut, soy or almond milk, as well as 100% vegan ingredients. Look for these marked on the menus at French Made Baking, Schokolade, CocoaNymph and Chocolateria de la Nouvelle France.