Issue 19: Canadian Hot Chocolate Festivals
(Image @alamode_pie_cafe’s Wasabi hot chocolate)
I follow hot chocolate festivals like others watch the stock market or the weather. The offerings are almost always over the top, so much so that I feel some might die if I finished the whole mug (happy…but still). I’m not sure whether these festivals are actually helping push hot chocolates higher up on the regular menus of these cafes as a serious option, or promote a greater appreciation of the chocolates used. They are, however, a TON of fun and most of the offerings are like works of art. January and February is all about the Canadian hot chocolate festivals and the ones in Calgary and Vancouver are my favourite to follow (and hopefully next year, taste!)
YYC Hot Chocolate Festival, Calgary
Earlier this year, I followed the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest in Calgary from afar. A few that stuck out for their over the topness were the one from Bullet Coffee House with mini donuts topped with bacon. Element café has one that tastes like passionfruit and pink peppercorn which sounds really interesting. Monki Bistro has a “cinnamon-ey post-cereal milk hot chocolate covered in caramel drizzle, whipped cream, cereal crumbs and half a cinnamon bun”.
Since I couldn’t go, I asked Cyndi aka @CanadianChocoholic and mastermind behind @happymailforchocolatelovers to report back on her favourites.
1. The Goldie hot chocolate at Kaffeeklatsch. It’s a small sized mug with a perfect balance of chocolate flavour and just the right hint of salt, topped with a beautiful marshmallow. I loved that the cacao and the vanilla came from Uganda (made by craft chocolate maker Goldie) and that if you wanted to add espresso it also came from Uganda, all ethically sourced.
2. The European style, dark drinking chocolate from Ollia that was lightly sweetened with vanilla brown sugar and a pinch of flour de set from Brittany. It was served with a trio of sable (butter) cookies (caramel, Earl Grey and a classic sable) that were delightful for dipping.
The top rated hot chocolate of the festival this year was the ‘Please Sir, I Want S’More’ hot chocolate from Cornerstone Music Cafe (image below). “A hand-crafted pillowy marshmallow, sitting atop our smooth and creamy dark hot chocolate, stacked high with our famous Oatmeal Cookie and a kiss of rich dark chocolate”.
(A special congratulation to Hermana chocolates based in Cochrane, Calgary who have temporarily stopped selling in order to care for newborn future chocolate loving baby!)
Hot Chocolate Festival Vancouver
Launched in 2011, the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival took place in January and February and had a whooping 106 different flavours on offer. A few that intrigued me:
The Cocoa Pop hot chocolate at 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters: Caramel popcorn hot chocolate made with 66% dark chocolate and a house-made buttery, salted caramel sauce. Served with a mini brioche doughnut filled with a buttery corn custard topped with salted caramel and caramel corn.
The Wasabi? Cannonball from a la mode pie cafe is a shiso-rimmed hot chocolate pool. Topped with Furikake sprinkles, wasabi chantilly and instant noodles. For the side treat there is Bac'n Me Crumble Apple Pie: chocolate-dipped bacon and brown sugar crumble on top of an apple pie.
The Emerald Paradise from Beta 5 is a white chocolate infused with the aromatics of Thai green curry (cilantro, basil, ginger, lemongrass, lime leaf).
Served with a mini version of Beta 5's signature Thai mango cream puff.
Room for Two from Koko Monk is a vegan juniper berry, dark hot chocolate with blackened ginger and a touch of Vermouth. Paired with house-made, vegan, sugar-free blueberry Lavender gelato.
I also loved the idea of this Earl Greycouver hot chocolate from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts made with 69% dark chocolate steeped in Earl Grey with a touch of bergamot and paired with a cloud shaped Earl Grey macaron with a milk chocolate ganache(it rains a lot in Vancouver).
I could go on….and might, in a future post.
This Week’s Hot Chocolate News
Easter may be over, but I was reading the 2022 Good Egg Award that rewards business models that respect people and planet. For them the winners were Tony’s Chocoloney and Whittakers and losers Mars and Valrhona (among many others)
I’ve been reading about camel milk chocolate/hot chocolate and this company in Dubai that makes them.
I missed The Library Wellington’s Easter Chocolate Lovers High Tea ….need to start travelling again.
This is the scariest thing I saw all week, a summary of how supermarket hot chocolates score in the UK (which apparently all taste better than Cadbury).
The hot chocolate at The Chocolate Chamber in Cebu City, Philappines is new on my wish list.
What’s this about talk in Congress to ban chocolate milk in New York City schools?
Production in Ghana of cocoa is expected to drop by 31% this year after difficult growing conditions.
I want one of these cowgirl peanut butter cup from Kinpod in Vancouver. I also want to try a tomato and raspberry white hot chocolate with rose from Koko Monk Chocolates also in Vancouver.
Cocoa pulp company Koa is using blockchain to show exactly how much it pays every cocoa farmer.
A truck carrying 1000 bags of cocoa caught on a highway fire in Florida, USA yesterday. I’m not even making that up.
Any links you want to share? Send them to me here.
Something to watch while sipping…
This video of a man pushing a wagon full of iPhones around the city and in doing so tricking Google maps into thinking there was a traffic jam. Absolutely no relation to hot chocolate but it made me smile.
Finally, if you liked this newsletter, could you please share it with a few other hot chocolate loving friends?
Thanks for reading and have a great week!
Chief Chocolate Sipper at www.ultimatehotchocolate.com.
Follow on Instagram @ultimatehotchoc
Changing the way we view hot chocolate, one sip at a time.