I don’t drink coffee or tea so my warm drink of choice, is the comforting hot chocolate. Actually, I feel I am a bit of a hot chocolate connoisseur really. I love both a hot, rich, chocolatey drink that isn’t too sweet and I also love a hot, creamy, sweet chocolate drink. I also enjoy a sweetly flavoured hot chocolate. Even though I can be kinda picky, depending on my mood, I’ve wanted to experience the Hot Chocolate Festival (website) in Vancouver for years. This year I finally took part and I visited four different locations to try their offerings. I am so happy I did. I had to step out of my comfort zone a bit with some of the flavours, but I enjoyed everything. Of course I did have a favourite.

This year the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival was from January 20th to February 14th, 2018 so if you didn’t get to try it, hopefully you get a chance next year. There are so many different flavours, and versions of those flavours, you won’t be bored. These are the hot chocolates I tried but there were sweet, savoury, and even alcohol versions from so many different places throughout the Lower Mainland. It’s a wonderful way to spend a few of the cold, rainy, winter days in Vancouver. Plus, you can visit these places all year round to enjoy all the other amazing treats they offer.

Chez Christophe

Chez Christophe had two very different options but both were interesting and really good. I also enjoyed a wonderful pastry that was a French version of an apple turnover. Not as sweet but still delicious. Chez Christophe is a very popular place all year round and they offer a lot of delicious looking treats and chocolates.

“Off The Beet’n’ Path” – Made with white chocolate and black sesame then topped with fresh beet sauce. This hot chocolate festival flavour was the most ‘outside of my comfort zone’ flavour I tried. I wasn’t sure what to expect but by mixing a sweet white chocolate with the savoury flavours of sesame and beet, they created quite an original and enjoyable treat. I learned a little to late though that I should have been stirring the hot chocolate while I drank it because I was left with a lot of beet flavour at the bottom. The sesame sugar cookie partially dipped in a beet flavoured white chocolate was a wonderful addition.

“At The Movies” – Made with milk chocolate and served with a popcorn infused whipping cream, corn nut sprinkles, and caramel sauce. I was skeptical of the popcorn flavour coming out in a hot chocolate because seriously, how were they going to create it. I should have had faith. This was definitely my preferred choice for the hot chocolate festival offerings at Chez Christophe. They managed to make the entire hot chocolate taste like popcorn.  It wasn’t overwhelming and it tasted more creamy than sweet chocolate but it was good and I enjoyed it. And even though I don’t like corn nuts, I really enjoyed the chocolate covered corn nuts that accompanied this warm, comfort inducing drink.

Eternal Abundance Organic Market & Café

Eternal Abundance had three options on offer for the hot chocolate festival. The ‘Hot Chocolate Chage’ for the entire festival as well as ‘That Salty Rosemary’ in January and the February choice I enjoyed. Eternal Abundance was very, very busy on a Saturday morning, both the market and the café. The food looked amazing but I didn’t get a chance to try any of it.

‘Turtle Hot Chocolate’ – If it is possible for a hot chocolate to taste healthy, this was it. Both organic and vegan, this hot chocolate festival offering from Eternal Abundance was a caramel hot chocolate with coconut whip, caramel drizzle and pecans. It was also served with a raw caramel pecan ‘turtle’. It was quite chocolatey and lighter than other hot chocolates.  I didn’t really taste any caramel though. The little chocolate it was served with was delicious.

Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionery

Depending on the date, Glenburn Soda Fountain mixed up three different hot chocolate choices. I had the third one and the last five days of the hot chocolate festival, featured the most popular of their three offerings.

I also couldn’t visit a soda fountain without getting a milkshake so it was a sugar filled visit for me. A sweet and salty hot chocolate with a chocolate chip cookie and a butterscotch milkshake. Yah, it was a lot of sugar but it was a wonderfully delicious way to spend an afternoon.

A bit of advice, Glenburn is quite popular and is only open for limited hours. I arrived 10 minutes after they opened on a Saturday afternoon and it was packed with a line-up and very limited seating. It was worth it though for all the different treats available.

‘Knoten To It’ –  A pretzel-infused, salty, white chocolate hot chocolate, this was my favourite hot chocolate. Hands down. I even went back on another day for a second one. It was served with a soft, gooey, sugared pretzel chocolate chip cookie. I didn’t taste the pretzel infused part of the hot chocolate but I can tell you the creamy, sweet white chocolate mixed with salt was a flavour I wasn’t expecting to so fully enjoy. But I really, really did.

Mon Paris Patisserie

Mon Paris Patisserie had two fruity hot chocolate choices offered for the entire hot chocolate festival. I don’t generally enjoy mixing my fruit flavours with chocolate but hey, I was game to enjoy more hot chocolate. Even though Mon Paris was impressively tempting with their treats and beautiful chocolates, I unfortunately only ended up adding a caramel macaron to my order. No worries though because their beautiful presented hot chocolate, came with unexpected decorative chocolates.

‘Mademoiselle Jasmine’ – This hot chocolate was made with jasmine tea infused cream, dark chocolate and a strawberry puree. Topped with a huge amount of fluffy, super sweet whipped cream and decorated with a strawberry and a flower made of chocolate. This was a really interesting mix of flavours for me but it was so flavourful. While the strawberry was the dominant flavour, it was still a delicious, dark chocolate, creamy treat.

I definitely enjoyed the Hot Chocolate Festival and I will hopefully be attending a lot more in the future.