VANCOUVER’S HOT CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL 2015!!
I’ve been participating this hot chocolate hunt since 2013. So yes, this is my 3rd year getting drunk on chocolates in the middle of the day, of the week (lol). This year I decided to wait till the festival is over and write a collage of hot chocolate posts instead of writing it one by one. If you guys read my personal blog, I wrote a post about Dine Out Festival and it is really the same reason why I decide to do this. For special events like this, you don’t get the real dip of the restaurant on its normal daily base. I’m reviewing this just for the festival itself (and possibly a reference for the coming year).
Previous years, I went out for chocolates with my boyfriend. This year, lucky enough I found my new best friend when it comes to foodie adventures. We were crazy enough to schedule each other for at least one day scouting for hot chocolates. We end up going to 2 chocolate participating vendors in one day, every week. In the past, I probably only went to 3 or at most 4 vendors. This year, me and my friend went to 12 vendors and drank up to 24 hot chocolates. #crazy
TAHITIAN DREAM (Available JAN 17-31)
32% Valrhona Dulcey chocolate. Served with dulcey-dipped coconut marshmallow and Tahitian vanilla bean shortbread.
This is actually one of my favourite chocolate I had this festival. However, it is a bit on the sweeter side for me. It could be because the marshmallow melts down to the chocolate and became that extra dose of sugar. Sad to say but the shortbread was really the star.
BELLA GELATERIA COAL HARBOUR
ERIN GONE BANANAS
Dark hot chocolate made with caramelized bananas and spiced rum. Served with a slice of Erin Ireland’s “To Die For” banana bread.
My honest words. The chocolate is great but there is nothing special about it. I came for Erin’s “To Die For” banana bread. Ever since I was first introduce to Erin’s banana bread… I can never forget the taste of it. So in love with her banana bread. I know… I could buy it Edible easily but I could never find a reason to just go get banana bread (lol). Yes.. I’m weird. Back to the chocolate. Like I said, it was a good chocolate but nothing that special about it. Honestly, I can’t even taste the rum in it.
EARL GOES BOOM
White hot chocolate steeped in Mighty Leaf Earl Grey Tea and locally grown lavender from Full Bloom Farms. Served with a vanilla gBar.
My honest words. The vanilla gBar was a big meh. Remind me if I’m wrong. I thought gBar meant the gelato bar not a gelato cookie sandwich?! Cause last year when I grabbe chocolates from Bella, it came with the gelato bar and we get to stir it into your chocolate. Anyways, the Earl Grey infused white chocolate was really good! Better than the dark chocolate that came with Erin’s banana bread. It had a very strong earl grey and lavender flavour. I really LOVE it.
PUT DE LIME IN DE COCONUT REDUX
A kalamnsi lime hot chocolate. Served with housemade coconut ice cream and a coconut financier.
This is actually a very interesting chocolate. It said it is a kalamnsi lime chocolate but it actually tasted like orange infused chocolate. I personally don’t love the combination of orange and chocolate so this was not my favourite. But the coconut ice cream was the chocolate’s angel. It’s sweetness and creamy texture blends into the chocolate and neutralized a lot of the citrus flavour I did not love. Something I enjoyed was the face I had to pour the chocolate in the bowl and drink it with a spoon as if I’m drinking soup. It would be great if the chocolate was in something that keeps it warm cause it was a joy pouring the chocolate and drinking but it does went cold pretty quickly (due to the contact with air when pouring it to the bowl).
Made with Cacao Barry Ocoa Chocolate and infused with wasabi. Served with a sesame seed florentinie.
OMG. I’m not even kidding this is my favourite chocolate this festival and it was remarkable! I never ever thought wasabi could go that well with chocolate. It was not very ‘spicy’ but it gave that right amount of kick in the chocolate. VERY refreshing and fascinating. It’s like I am now opened up to a new world of flavours (haha). But wait for it… The BEST is yet to come. That sesame seed florentinine IS THE BOMB! No seriously, I am not trying to exaggerate here. It is SO SO SO SO GOOD! Chocolate Arts, I tweeted you guys and said you should consider selling it on its own. I’m not kidding. DO IT. Trust me, it’s going to be a hit (lol).
CHOCOLATERIE DE LA NOUVELLE FRANCE
Classic Italian drink: half drinking chocolate, half espresso. Served with a meringue of your choice.
Liquid house made Nutella: drinking chocolate + hazelnut praline. Served with a meringue of your choice.
These two chocolates are suppose to be drinking chocolate. You will get a better idea why it is one of the few chocolates me and my friend were struggling through it when you get to Diva at the Met. I enjoyed these two chocolates and I really appreciate how it is available in half portions. These are really heavy chocolates so half portions really help you getting through it easier. Especially for people who are not familiar of drinking chocolates. The Marocchino has a very citrus bitter taste of coffee in it. The Parline tasted like nutella melted in chocolate.
The simple but classic lavender hot chocolate is back by popular demand. Served with a meringue of your choice.
Anne’s favourite iced hot chocolate. Spicy, hot, cold, salty and sweet. Served with a meringue of your choice.
They did a really good job with the lavender chocolate but it was better than Bella’s lavender white chocolate. The chocolate was too rich and it overpowers the lavender taste. You can still taste the lavender, just not as rich as Bella’s. Bella on the other hand used white chocolate so it is on the lighter profile, meaning the lavender gets to shine a bit more. The Aztec Glace was actually pretty spicy (as in spiced). I recalled last year drinking ice chocolates at the same vendor. The ones last year was really good! Not bad for this year too. All the four chocolate came with a choice of a meringue. Not sure if it is different everyday but the day we visited, they were serving a chocolate flavour and a jasmine flavour meringue. A bit disappointing cause last year, the chocolates came with waffle!
DIVA AT THE MET
A spice and herbal blend of chili pepper, star anise, cardamon, orange zest, cloves, cinnammon, hibiscus and rose hips – all brewed slowly to form an herbal tea, then mixed with Barry Callebaut cocoa and Valrhona chocolate, and topped with crushed rose hips. A mildly spicy, herbal hot chocolate infusion. Served with a Raspberry Tea Cake.
A rich, but not too sweet mixture of Barry Callebaut cocoa and Valrhona chocolate, finished with a flat chocolate lid and chocolate Bailey’s ball. The lid melts and falls into the hot chocolate. Stir the mixture together to enjoy an ‘Adults Only’ hot chocolate. Served with a Matcha Green Tea Cake.
Diva at the Met was one of the vendors that I was struggling with. I never understood the idea of “drinking chocolate.” I really thought it was just drinkable chocolate not literally drinking the chocolates. So apparently drinking chocolates are literally melting down the chocolate and serves it directly for you to drink. These two chocolate were sooooooo damn rich. We were both struggling through it. Not to speak of it was also one of the most expensive chocolates we order this year. I was so impress watching people coming in and finished the whole cup in 30 mins. I took at least 2 hours on that chocolate (consider already taking out my chit chat time with my girlfriend) and had to secretly pour hot water in the chocolate so it is diluted at a point I can drink it. People might laugh at us but this is just something we both did not understand.
EAST VAN ROAST
SALTY MALTY (Available FEB 1-14)
A malted Madagascar drinking chocolate. Served with a salted chocolate chip cookie.
East Van Roaster on the other hand is way different with its “drinking chocolate.” It is still very rich with its chocolate but it is at least in a texture that is drinkable. I suspect the malt played a big part of the texture. It is suppose to be very liquidy but the malt thicken it up a bit. So it is like a drinking chocolate that is actually drinkable.
GLENBURN SODA FOUNTAIN & CONFECTIONERY
I WENT ALL HOT AND COLD (Available JAN 31 – FEB 14)
Have the best of both worlds. Rich, dark hot chocolate made with Avalon Dairy milk and a scoop of Birchwood Dairy vanilla ice cream on the rim. Float it for a delicious combo or eat the ice cream with the accompanying mini sugar cone.
It was a joy visiting Glenburn. Brings me back to my parents generation’s childhood. The best part is not the chocolate but to be able seeing them make the chocolate. They melt down chocolate and milk every 15-20 minutes to make sure it is a fresh batch. The chocolate itself is not special other than it is fresh and real chocolate. The ice cream tho… It is so good! Haven’t had a very creamy vanilla ice cream for a while. It is for sure the best of both world.
THE LAST CRUMB BAKERY
TRIPLE GINGER SPICED HOT CHOCOLATE
Triple ginger hot chocolate. Served with handmade Ginger Apricot Sconscotti (biscotti made from the bakery’s delicious, handmade buttery scones).
CHOCOLATE CHERRY LUST
Sour cherry hot chocolate. Served with a fluffy, handmade, vanilla specked marshmallow.
If I must compare the two chocolates at last crumb, I favour the ginger spiced chocolate over the cherry lust. The ginger kicks into the chocolate gives it a very unique taste. I think we all had enough of cherry and chocolate combination. And honestly, I didn’t taste any cherry flavour or after taste from my cherry lust chocolate.
Baileys-infused warm white chocolate ganache served in a large syringe. Served with an individually wrapped throat lozenge.
This is such a fun vendor, fun way to put chocolate in your mouth. But this is also one of the chocolates I was like… “huh?” When I saw my friends visit the vendor I was excited and can’t wait till I try it out. When ordered it, the guy behind the counter took 2 seconds to hand me the syringe. Wow.. I wonder how long that chocolate had been in that syringe.. Anyways.. this is another undrinkable chocolate. It is so thick, rich, and sweet! It was like condense milk kind of sweet. Sounds disgusting but yes this thing is still in my fridge… And I was going to use it on my toast as if I’m using condense milk on my toast.
DON’T BUG ME!
Coconut milk 38% milk hot chocolate garnished with free-range dried crickets. Served with a 72% mini dark chocolate square.
I really was not brave enough to try the dried crickets. My friend was a hero and ate all of it. She said it tasted like dried shrimp. The chocolate itself is pretty good. It has a very distinct coconut milk taste. Wasn’t as rich on the chocolate compared to all the other hot chocolates I had. But I like how it is different using coconut milk.
SAKE TO ME (Available JAN 17 – FEB 13)
Valrohna Dulcey hot chocolate, infused with Sake kasu. Served with a Caramelized Nori Mini Pavlova.
I’m not sure why but I really don’t taste the sake in the chocolate. My friend on the other hand said the taste of sake was really strong… It is not quite sweet as a chocolate and I do think it is because of the sake. Sake does have a certain bitter taste to it. The pavlova is pretty good. Taste even better when you eat it with the seaweed that comes with it.
PO-TAY-TO PO-TAH-TO (Available JAN 17-FEB 13)
Hot Chocolate made with Michel Cluizel ‘Mokaya’ chocolate and flavoured with sage, cinnamon and purple potatoes. Served with a toasted yam marshmallow.
The Potato chocolate is probably the second most interesting chocolate after the wasabi chocolate at Chocolate Arts. The taste of the chocolate itself is not that fascinating but with the purple potato flavoured sugar at the edge, it did make a bit of a difference. You got to give credits to the toasted yam marshmallow for getting it to the top of the list. It was delicious!
THOMAS HASS CHOCOLATES
PEP ME UP
A 70% cocoa dark hot chocolate with fresh peppermint and a kick of chartreuse. Served with a minty chocolate canache bar.
THIS IS NUTS
Hot chocolate (55% cocoa) infused with caramelized hazelnut & almond butter. Served with their “haaselnut” cream and financier sandwich.
Before I get into UVA, I must say… Thomas had the most spiked chocolate I had this year. The chartreuse in my peppermint chocolate was really strong that I had to drink it slowly so I don’t get drunk on the streets. People who knows me well know I don’t eat mint. I never could stand the taste since I was a kid. But I had no choice cause we order the two flavours not knowing the alcohol was that strong. My friend was going to drink the peppermint chocolate but she is so light with alcohol. I’m sure if she drank the peppermint one, I would had to carry her out of the cafe. Thanks to the chartreuse, it cut down a lot of the minty taste from the peppermint. It was a bit brutal for me to finish it but there’s no doubt it was a rich and smooth hot chocolate from Thomas. The Nuts chocolate literally tastes like nutella in a cup.
UVA WINE + COCKTAIL BAR
A hot drink composed of slow-melted dark chocolate and whole milk, infused with Bittered Sling Moondog Bitters, dried chili, kaffir lime and latin spices. Served with zeppoli (Italian doughnuts).
THE BLACK WIDOW
A hot chocolate inspired cocktail: reposado tequila influenced with cacao beans and coffee, Cherry Heering liquer, Amaro averna, Bittered Sling plum and rootbeer bitters. Served with zeppoli (Italian doughnuts).
A hot chocolate inspired cocktail: Citadelle gin, green Chartreuse, cacao beans, lime and orange juice, Bittered Sling Malagasy chocolate bitters, egg white. Served with zeppoli (Italian doughnuts).
UVA was a last stop. We were so unprepare before heading in. It did say it was alcoholic drinks but I didn’t expect a full on cocktail. Honestly, it was not chocolate at all…… It is literally cocktails. The normal chocolate was pretty much just chocolate. It’s really the hot chocolate inspired cocktail that shined here. Like I said, it was straight on cocktails. I didn’t like the black widow that much. I can’t find anything chocolate about it. But the milkshake was pretty interesting. Although it didn’t taste like chocolate, it had the chocolate bitters in it which gave it a chocolate taste. The milkshake was not as strong as the black widow. They are definitely a great vendor for date nights. The Italian doughnuts are really good tho… I don’t know what is the filling but it is hot and sprinkled with sugar. yum : )
Am I excited for next year? I DON’T KNOW! Honestly, don’t try to do what we did. Two hot chocolate vendors a week doesn’t sound that bad but towards the end it was pretty brutal. I was so tired of chocolates….When Valentine’s came by (the day the festival ended) I really want to throw up just by hearing the world chocolates (lol). Be smart and wise for the coming year. Choose to go to the vendors that had flavours that excites you like Chocolate Arts. We were stupid and blinded this year so we literally went down the list without even knowing what the vendors are serving. Although it was fun and we got some great pictures and time spent… It still ruined my love for chocolates. At least for now and a while from now.