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hot chocolate festival: week one & two (2016)

Ah yes, the start of the new year brings new resolutions, but also marks the return of the annual Hot Chocolate Festival presented by C...

Ah yes, the start of the new year brings new resolutions, but also marks the return of the annual Hot Chocolate Festival presented by CityFood Magazine (which may actually go against everyone's favourite resolution of eating healthier and keeping fit ;D).

The first location I headed to was The Last Crumb for 'His Lordship's HC'- a vanilla Earl Grey hot chocolate. It came with a vanilla bean butter cookie that I enjoyed due to my love for vanilla. The drink itself was quite nice- I'm not too crazy about tea, but the Earl Grey flavour wasn't overpowering and I actually found it quite comforting as it was a drizzly day (of course), and it was perfect for warming me up. The price of this was $6.30.

Next up was French Made Baking, which, if you've read my hot chocolate posts before, is consistently one of my favourite spots. This year was no different, I'd have to say. Last year, I raved about their Dulcey Valrhona white chocolate, so of course I couldn't miss out on their 'Magic Beans' offering- tonka and vanilla bean infused Dulcey white chocolate. I'm not really sure what I could say that I haven't said over and over again- it's sweet but not sickeningly so, and it's so unbelievably creamy and smooth. You can try this on February 3rd, 7th, and 11th (and it's $6.60!) The rosemary and sea salt puff pastries were a nice contrast- so crisp and savoury.

Gem Chocolates has once again outdone themselves with their creative menu. I stopped by for 'Give Yourself to the Dark Side'- an extra dark hot chocolate with whip & a chocolate Darth Vader mask for $7. Unfortunately, I tried to prop up the mask on the whip cream to get a nice picture, and....Darth Vader ended up acting out a scene reminiscent of Titanic instead.... :'( The hot chocolate itself wasn't anything particularly unique or exciting, but I'll be returning to Gem two more times in February, so keep an eye out for that! 

Bella Gelateria is yet another place that needs no introduction, I'm sure. My friend Anika and I stopped by for 'Before 9' and 'Bx3' and our total was $14.99 for both (~$7.50 for one!) Before 9 is a peppermint infused hot chocolate- the peppermint wasn't too strong, which is great, but I found that post-sip, you're sort of left with this chocolate...film in your mouth? I'm not quite sure how to describe it, but it'd probably be a good idea to have a bit of water on hand. As for the Bx3, it was pretty much just banana bread in liquid form, and we both were really impressed by it. Before 9 comes with a rice crispy (nothing special), and Bx3 comes with a slice of Erin Ireland's famous banana bread. Yum!

Next up on the list? Mink Chocolates. They've been a sort of hit-or-miss for me in the past, as I found their offerings to be very gimmicky (but I guess whatever grabs the public's attention, right?) I was prepared to give them a miss yet again, but in the end, I couldn't resist trying 'It's A Clusterfluff', which is really quite a "normal" drink by their standards, haha. This is a milk chocolate based hot chocolate with torched marshmallow fluff on top, and you get handed a sparkler on the side. Thanks to my friend Christina for holding on to mine- I really struggled to get a picture before it burnt out completely! As for the drink- I was really pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It is a bit on the sweeter side though, and I'd definitely recommend mixing the fluff completely into the drink as opposed to trying to eat it- the taste on its own wasn't too appealing to me. Once again, Mink's drink is one of the most expensive ones at $8.95.

Going to Chocolate Arts was yet another first for me. They're located right by Granville Island, for those who've also never been. I'm telling you this now so you know that they're accessible, because you should definitely stop by for 'The Creamsicle'. Another white chocolate based drink- it was so light and frothy yet only mildly sweet. The blood orange sorbet in contrast was refreshing and tart- I ate half of mine, then dropped the other half into my drink, which only made it even better. The macaron reminded me of Terry's Chocolate Oranges- I've never liked those, but...this was more chocolate than citrus. All of these together cost $8.35 with tax.

Butter Baked Goods- one of my favourite bakeries based on presentation and location alone, haha. I tried 'The Fluffernutter', which is a white chocolate based hot chocolate with peanut butter and butterscotch marshmallows and a peanut butter marshmallow slice. Now, I really loved their oreo hot chocolate last year, but this year was a bit of a letdown for me. The hot chocolate itself is really very mild- almost like a sweet milk. Only after mixing my marshmallows into the drink and causing it to dissolve with the peanut butter and butterscotch did it really taste like anything. As for the slice...I'm not sure if it's something they decided to omit or I just wasn't given one? :( At $5.25 though, the price is quite reasonable!

The last place for this recap is Soirette! I rarely go there due to its location (not that it's really that far when I do decide to go, but yenno...laziness), but I do really like their macarons! Both Anika and I wanted to try 'Peach Perfect', so off we went. Was it worth it? Heck yes! Their white peach hot chocolate had just the right amount of sweetness, and the light fragrance of the white peach is something you can really taste in each sip. I realized that there were actual pieces of white peach pulp in it, which I really loved. The white peach macaron that it comes with has both buttercream and also a bit of peach gelée in it. At $6.95, I really recommend this one!

IN SUMMARY aka tl;dr

  • french made baking: $6.60
  • chocolate arts: $8.35
  • soirette: $6.95
  • mink chocolates: $8.95
  • the last crumb: $6.30
  • bella gelateria: $7.50
EHH.........IT'LL DO
  • gem chocolates: $7
  • butter baked goods: $5.25
That's all for now, folks! Stop by for my week 3 recap next week :)

hot chocolate fest: week 1 & 2

By Rosalind Chow

  • The Last Crumb Cafe

    By Rosalind Chow

  • French Made Baking

    By Rosalind Chow

  • Gem Chocolates

    By Rosalind Chow

  • Bella Gelateria

    By Rosalind Chow

  • Mink Chocolates

    By Rosalind Chow

  • Chocolate Arts

    By Rosalind Chow

  • Butter Baked Goods

    By Rosalind Chow

  • Soirette

    By Rosalind Chow

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