Chocolate fondue

Vancouverites love their chocolate. And it’s convenient that our city boasts some of the best chocolatiers in the world. Returning for the third year in a row is the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival, from January 19 to February 14.

Taking place at cafés, chocolate shops, and bakeries across town, the Hot Chocolate Festival is the only one of its kind in North America (and perhaps the world).

Rubens chocolates

Joining the lineup from the past two festivals will be Beaucoup BakeryChocolate Arts, and Soirette Macarons and Tea.

As well, Blenz Coffee will join the Festival’s ‘Food Artisan Support Program‘ by sponsoring local small food producers at two of their cafés.

Along with hot chocolate drinks specially created for the festival, Blenz on Alma Street will feature custom-ordered chocolate bars created by Chef Wendy Boys’ Cocolico Chocolates. Blenz Thurlow will serve sweet meringue cookies infused with flavours from Bittered Sling Extracts, created by mixologist Lauren Mote and Chef Jonathan Chovancek of Kale & Nori Culinary Arts

Rubens chocolates

And for the first time, the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival is welcoming a satellite participant. Port Moody’s Reubens Chocolates will make their festival creations available to hot chocolate lovers living outside of Vancouver.

Hot Chocolate Festival poster

With over 60 flavours to choose from, it will take at least a month to try them all! 

Some of the edgiest hot chocolates will include:  
– Terra Breads’ “Stand Up and Shout“, a chocolate drink blended with R&B Brewing Stout, topped with beer-flavoured marshmallows
– Soirette Macarons and Tea’s “The King’s Cup“, combining peanut butter and banana – an ode to Elvis
– Chocolate Arts’ “When Pigs Fly“, a hot chocolate adorned with bacon marshmallows
– Cocoa Nymph’s “The Ayala“, a jasmine-tinted hot chocolate with juniper or gin-like marshmallows
– Beaucoup Bakery’s “Burning Clove” suggests a smoky love poem to chocolate
– Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France’s “Rose of Ecuador“, Ecuadorian chocolate with the juice of crushed rose petals
– Thomas Haas Chocolates’ “The Lumberjack“: hot chocolate infused with maple syrup aged in bourbon barrels
– Bella Gelateria’s “The Gold Medal“: a pecan and maple syrup-flavoured hot chocolate based on the gelato that earned owner James Coleridge 1st place at last year’s International Gelato Festival in Italy

Many of the participating vendors will also offer at least one drink made solely with unflavoured, hi-cocoa content chocolate. Thierry’s “One in a Million” will be made from Maranon, the world’s rarest chocolate. 

Some hot chocolates can even claim to be healthy, such as Gem Chocolate’sBC Blue Booster“, a blend of high antioxidant content cocoa and blueberries. The Juice Truck will specialize in non-dairy hot chocolate drinks for lactose intolerant chocoholics. Most vendors will gladly substitute dairy for coconut, soy, or almond milk upon request. 

The Chocolate Mousse Dome

Regardless of flavour, all drinks are guaranteed to be deliciously photogenic. Enter photos of your drinks online for a chance to win gift certificates from all participating vendors. Worth $500, it’s a great way to keep your love of chocolate going long past the festival.

Partial funds from all sales will be donated to restaurateur Mark Brand’s new charity project, A Better Life Foundation, creating self-sustaining meals for people in assisted living and low income housing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Visit the City Food event page for event dates, vendors, maps (to come), and flavours.

Chocolate fondue

Festival news and updates can be found on City Food Magazine’s Facebook page. Follow the event on Twitter with the #HotChocolateFest hashtag.

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