1My Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival tour continues with visits to…

1Bengal Dream: Milk chocolate with sweet spices (chai) served with caramelized honey and orange palmier.

Available: February 2 – February 14 at Bel Cafe 801 West Georgia Street @ Howe (at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia)

http://www.belcafe.com/

A little sweet but some very nice flavors.  The palmier packed quite a sweet punch as well.

1Pretty in Pink: White chocolate with rose and raspberry, served with a vanilla bean shortbread.

Available: January 19 – February 1 at Bel Cafe 801 West Georgia Street @ Howe (at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia)

http://www.belcafe.com/

As Akemi pointed out, white chocolate-based hot chocolates are the toughest because, all too often, the sweetness of the white chocolate overwhelms the other ingredients.  Conversely, attempts to balance the flavors can result in overkill.  In this case, however, it worked – a perfect marriage of white chocolate and rose.

1Raspberry Beret: Raspberry-infused white, milk, or dark Belgian hot chocolate. Prepared fresh to order, by blending whole chocolate pieces into steamed milk, topped with vanilla whipped cream, served with a trio of Bittered Sling-infused meringue cookies by Kale & Nori Culinary Arts.

Available: Every day of the festival at Blenz 708 Thurlow St. (at West Georgia), Vancouver.  (Downtown Central).

http://blenz.com/

Fairly bursting with raspberry flavor but never overwhelming the chocolate, this one was a pleasant surprise although it was a little thinner than the offerings at some of the other places we’ve checked out on this tour.

1Shirokuma: White hot chocolate with Japanese matcha, served with a trio of Bittered Sling-infused meringue cookies by Kale & Nori Culinary Arts.

Available: Every day of the festival at Blenz 708 Thurlow St. (at West Georgia), Vancouver.  (Downtown Central).

http://blenz.com/

Shirokuma is Japanese for polar bear (shiro = white, kuma = bear) and is apparently, according to Akemi, a very popular flavor back in Japan. While good, the sweetness of the chocolate overshadowed the delicate matcha flavor.

1Both hot chocolates were accompanied by a tasty assortment of meringues compliments of Kale & Nori Culinary Arts.

1Cherry Bon Bon: Hot Chocolate with Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa and sour cherries, topped with house-made sour cherry marshmallows, and served with a pecan fruit crisp.

Available: February 1-14 at Terra Breads  2380 West 4th Avenue (@ Balsam)

Weak and surprisingly devoid of any real chocolate flavor.  I actually wondered whether real chocolate was used.

1Blond MystiqueRoasted white chocolate, candy cap, and cognac hot chocolate.  Served with a brown butter Caramelia financier. (Candy cap is a unique small mushroom, that when dried, has the aroma and flavour of earthy maple syrup.

Available: Every day of the festival at 1 Water Street, Vancouver (In Gastown)

http://www.secretlocation.ca/

Everyone else found it too boozy but I loved this incredibly flavorful drink.

1Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels: Smoked cinnamon mocha with chocolate marshmallows and caramel powder.  Served with Manjari chocolate brownie.

Available: Every day of the festival at 1 Water Street, Vancouver (In Gastown)

http://www.secretlocation.ca/

Fine but, ultimately, it just tasted like a flavored coffee.

111Aphrodite: Nyangbo and parsnip hot chocolate, topped with whipped chocolate ganache and parsnip milk jam.  Served with English Breakfast gelato.

Available: Every day of the festival at 1 Water Street, Vancouver (In Gastown)

http://www.secretlocation.ca/

A gorgeous, multi-layered drink.  A lot going on here.  This was everyone else’s favorite.  For my part, I couldn’t get past the parsnip flavor.

1Monty’s Heat: A spicy hot dark chocolate.

Available: February 2-8 at Gem Chocolates 2029 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver.

www.gemchocolates.ca

Some very nice, deep flavors that didn’t really pack a whole lot of heat. A very good drinking chocolate but a little weaker than some of the others we’ve sampled.

1One In A Million: Hot chocolate made with Maranon (the world’s rarest chocolate), served with a chocolate-dipped madeleine.

Available: January 30 – February 10 at Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe 1059 Alberni Street

http://www.thierrychocolates.com/

Delicious, possessed of a nice rich fullness, I only wish it had been a little thicker.

23 thoughts on “February 6, 2013: The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival Tour II!

  1. You haven’t had a bad cup of raspberry hot chocolate yet! Okay, I know it’s 64 degrees outside at the moment, but now I need to go get a cup. I have a flavor right now called warm oatmeal cookie. It’s rather good.

  2. Parsnip in hot chocolate? Just say no.

    Otherwise, I’m jealous. Those all at least look really good. I’m not that big a fan of white chocolate really, since as you mention it’s really sweet and, well, not actually chocolate. I’d give those a try though.

    I’m now off to make myself a plain old Carnation’s Hot chocolate mix hot chocolate. Not fancy, but easy when I’m not feeling the greatest.

  3. I’m going to be dreaming about those hot chocolates tonight. Sweet dreams for me! Did you get any recipes or mixes?

  4. Hey Joe
    All I got is No Name® Hot Chocolate with mini marshmallows. Don’t think it’ll be quite the same.

    Elminster

  5. Have some doubts about some of those offerings Parsnip? hot chocolate? does not compute…. still, much of the pleasure is in the exploration, with the discovery of specially good concoctions paying off for the efforts of finding them.

  6. Still sad we’re going to miss the hot chocolate festival…but I did find a great sushi restaurant in Richardson, TX (I’m visiting a customer here for a design review). Joe, if you ever get down to Richardson, give Sushi Sake a try. I was very pleased with the quality of the sushi.

    Back to the hot chocolate; I’m hoping I can convince the good folks at Bel Cafe to make me one of those White Chocolate Rose and Raspberry drinks when we’re there a week and a half from now…wish me luck 😉

  7. Holy cow! Did you try those all in one day? My head and tastebuds would be spinning. Nevertheless, I’m jealous. So I compensated by making some Mexican hot chocolate for dessert.

    @das: Thanks for sharing those links yesterday!

  8. Christopher Heyerdahl was on CSI tonight. Very different look for him. I may not have recognized him if I didn’t see his name on the credits.

  9. Let the laughter begin….using the “keurig” container of hot chocolate to make something that pales in comparison to your haul…..envy, envy, sigh.

  10. Damn. I had yucky hot chocolate from a pack tonight. Bad enough. Then sign on to your blog. Gee thanks. Sigh. Yum. Yum. Damn. Can you send us all samples? Yum.

  11. cont… my winge
    The only good thing I can say about the Swiss Miss Keurig hot chocolate is that it was hot. It was a steep downhill after that. Tea might have been a better choice…oh well.

  12. @syliva: Swiss Miss hot chocolate is gross. It’s like drinking dirty water. A few years ago, some friends that had to work in the US for the winter had me ship them Carnation hot chocolate powder from home in Canada, because they couldn’t drink the US brands!

  13. Great, another blog entry I can’t read! Thanks a lot!

    I know it’s already been mentioned twice, but what I found most interesting about the SG1:Unleashed trailer is all the comments, both on the IGN page and it’s YouTube counterpart. The IGN consensus seems to be a majority of people who hate how SGU was cancelled and either want a franchise wrap-up movie or something to continue the series, and the YouTube page mainly doesn’t want this to be a cell phone/tablet game. They want it to be PC/Console based, meaning, they want more depth, more gameplay, more story, better graphics, the whole lot.

    This kind of excitement and frustration bubbling back up for the SG franchise is a good thing, no matter how you slice it. I was just sad to see nothing come of the other games Stargate Worlds and Stargate:Resistance. Worlds looked like it was going to be amaza-zing!

  14. Here’s the link for Stargate SG-1 Unleashed. Came from Blastr.com linked through Syfys(Cough Craig Englers) twitter lol
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra19-NoAorU&feature=player_embedded

    Not impressed personally. It says Tablet/Mobile devices only. I would play it if it was on a games console, it would be better on a games console even, you could do a proper Stargate adventure game there, and they could hire back former writers(Like you or Paul Joe) to do the story if they wanted it done right.

    Trailer doesn’t show any Gameplay or anything, it just looks like one CG video =/

  15. @das: Forgot to mention: Thanks for posting that video of Kai, the hatchet wielding hitchhiker….. That happened a couple miles from where I work. Ah, Fresno, the gift that keeps on giving!

    -Mike A.

  16. If I have found out correctly, there are about 18 venues that participates on this years Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival. It’s a challenge to visit all of them and even bigger to taste all the flavours (more than 60 – I had no idea there could be that many). I am a big fan of hot chocolate and I have found out about the festival held in my city only recently from the events held this month in Vancouver I had a difficult time choosing which places to visit and which chocolates to try, but thanks to you I know I have to try One In a Million and Aphrodite for sure. Thanks for sharing!

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