It goes without saying that kids love hot chocolate, but what about adults? If the hot cuppa choc at your local cafe leaves you a little underwhelmed, the annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival is here (January 18 -Valentine’s Day) with spicy, fruity, boozy, vegan, ice creamy and inventive chocolate concoctions to please all palates from connoisseurs to kids!
Vancouver’s top cafes, bakeries, chocolatiers and ice cream makers dazzle with creative takes on the classic hot chocolate plus an accompanying amuse bouche. It’s a chocolate lovers dream with 44 participants offering 114 unique hot chocolate flavours over 26 days. Check out the anniversary classics for guaranteed hits.
And did we mention melt-in-your-mouth homemade marshmallows?
Unique Taste Sensations
- Trip to Lachua (Anniversary Classic)
A cardamom-infused Guatemala drinking chocolate. Served with a Champurradas (corn cookie).
- The Bees Knees (Anniversary classic)
Lavender-infused hot chocolate. Served with a lavender and honey marshmallow cookie. Location: 49th Parallel + Lucky’s Doughnuts
- Lucky Orange (Gong Xi Fa Cai)
Crafted with house-made Mandarin orange-infused chocolate sauce and paired with a fortune cookie dipped in orange-infused chocolate-coated with sprinkles of pop rock candy like the crackling of Chinese New Year firecrackers. Location: Everbean Café
Vegan or bust
This isn’t even the half of it! Vegan everything is having a moment.
- Cocoanut (Anniversary Classic)
A creamy, vegan-friendly, coconut milk-based, passionfruit dark hot chocolate. Served with your choice of pate de fruit (vegan). Location: Cadeaux Bakery
Oat milk hot chocolate made with dark Callebaut chocolate.Served alongside house-made Hobnob cookies. Location: Glenburn Soda Fountain
- Ancient Wisdom
Raw dark chocolate with healing mushrooms and a light spice. Served with a GLOW chocolate heart (vegan and keto-friendly with no refined sugars.) Location: Buddafull Provisions
- Scent of Spring
Vegan wild sage dark chocolate with mint and orange. Paired with Lemongrass and Mango Praline. Location: Koko and Monk
Ice Cream or Gelato
- Let’s get this Cardi Started
Inspired by their cardamom ice cream, this sweet, milk hot chocolate is delicately spiced with organic and fair trade cardamom. Paired with Pecan Cinnamon Swirl ice cream. Location: Earnest Ice Cream
- Amethyst Kiss
Violet-infused white hot chocolate, sprinkled with flower petals. Served with a violet and cassis sherbet, mini waffle cone. Location: La Glace
Drunken Hot Chocs
- The Tispy Unicorn
Cheering on the Unicorn with a Strawberry and Peach Schnapps hot chocolate featuring Cacao Barry Zephyr 34% and topped with house-made Cotton Candy. Served with a ‘Peach Sparkle’ macaron. Location: Soirette
- Black Forest in a Cup (Anniversary Classic)
A 67% dark hot chocolate with Black Forest kirsch chantilly and brandied cherry. Served with a baked chocolate truffle. Location: Thomas Haas
Pro tips for families
Split it: These hot chocolates are rich, rich, rich! They are full-on desserts. If you’re planning on going to few spots, consider splitting one.
Try out different flavours and places: Experience a variety of tastes – go boozy for after dinner, creamy for post-kids-activities and plant-based for a vegan experience.
Post a pic: Upload and tag your favourite (or most photogenic) hot choc with @hotchocolatefest and you could win one of many prizes including gift certificates valued at $500, $300, $175 and $75
Hot Chocolate Festival
January 18 – February 14th
Get the full hot chocolate line-up at hotchocolatefest.com
Partial proceeds from the fest go to for the The Downtown Eastside Women’s Job Training Program of the PHS Community Services Society as run by East Vancouver Roasters, Growing Chefs and Fresh to Families.
Harriet Fancott is the Editor and Social Media Manager for Vancouver Mom. She has over 20 years experience in the arts, tech and mom-based blogging arenas. She lives in East Vancouver with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring all that Vancouver has to offer from festivals and events to playgrounds and beaches to sushi and ice cream (although not together).