I was busy with Football Sunday festivities yesterday and, as  result, missed a day in my ongoing quest to sample every hot chocolate being offered at this year’s Hot Chocolate Festival.  To make up for lost time, we actually tripled our output today, sampling six different flavors.  I know, I know.  This is a marathon, not a race.  I should be pacing myself.  True but, if you’re two people, it’s so much easier to order to different hot chocolates each seating rather than a single one for sharing.

So, in contrast to Saturday’s head to head battles, today’s was a head to head to head contest pitting hot chocolates from Bella Gelateria, Chocolate Arts, and Terra Breads.

Dingding!  Round #2…


Aloha Sweetie: Barry Callebaut White Hot Chocolate with hibiscus flower.  Served with mountain berry marshmallow and lemon sugar cookie.

Available at: Terra Breads  2380 West 4th Avenue (@ Balsam)

I’m guessing the tartness of the dried hibiscus was intended as a counterpoint to the sweet richness of the white chocolate, but I found the sweetness muted by a thinness in consistency that just brought the sour accents front and centre.  The mountain berry marshmallow and lemon sugar cookie were, however, terrific.


Put De Lime in De Coconut: Single origin Venezuela chocolate with organic coconut and kalamansi lime.  Accompanied by a toasted coconut shortbread.

Available at: Chocolate Arts 1620 West 3rd Ave., Vancouver (Kitsilano).


This was Akemi’s favorite and, while I wasn’t quite as enthusiastic, I did enjoy the coconut kalamansi combination.  Akemi appreciated the fact that both of aforementioned flavors didn’t upstage the chocolate but, for my part, I thought they got a little lost.  Great coconut shortbread cookie!


Monkey’s Lunch: gBAR made from banana liquer and swirls of “To Die For” Banana Bread crumb. Served with a slice of Erin Ireland’s “To Die For” Banana Bread alongside.

Available at: Bella Gelateria, 1001 West Cordova Street.


Ah, a variation of one of last year’s Bella Gelateria entries, improved by the replacement of banana bits (I wasn’t a fan) with a banana liquor gelato bar.  Fear not, tea-toddlers.  It wasn’t at all boozy but packed with an intense banana flavor that married wonderfully with the silky hot chocolate.

The Verdict: There were no bad entries here, but  it ultimately came down to equally inspired preparations: Put De Lime in De Coconut vs. Monkey’s Lunch.

Winner: Monkey’s Lunch (Bella Gelateria).

Round #3…


Call Me a Cab: Cacao Barry Extra Brute Hot Chocolate with Cabernet, cinnamon and pear.  Served with a pear crisp and a cocoa sugar cookie..

Available at: Terra Breads  2380 West 4th Avenue (@ Balsam)

I appreciated the intensity in flavor here, big and bold and spicy.  If the chocolate had been a little, I’d have rated this one higher.


A Snowball’s Chance in Hell: Single origin Mexican chocolate with Mexican chili poured over house made chocolate ice cream. Accompanied by a flourless chocolate cookie.

Available at: Chocolate Arts 1620 West 3rd Ave., Vancouver (Kitsilano).


I’m a sucker for showmanship and a hands-on dining experience, so this one was right up my alley.  Some assembly required.  In this case, the pitcher of hot chocolate is poured into the bowl of chocolate and both are simultaneously enjoyed.  I loved it.  The ice cream cooled the hot chocolate down enough to what was my ideal sipping temperature while the heat of the hot chocolate lent the ice cream that partially-melted consistency I adored.  I was a little leery about the Mexican chocolate but it was surprisingly good, packing a nice spicy, lingering throat punch.


London Foggy: gBAR flavoured with vanilla and Earl Grey tea.  Served with Erin Ireland’s “To Die For” Banana Bread.

Available at: Bella Gelateria, 1001 West Cordova Street.


Another creative entry from Bella Gelateria.  This time, the chocolate is complimented by a vanilla and Earl Grey gelato bear.  Very good but, alas, paled in flavor comparison to its banana-flavored partner on this night.

Verdict: Again, not a bad drink in the bunch.  A little easier deciding this round though…

Winner: A Snowball’s Chance in Hell (Chocolate Arts)

Great!  8 down, 50 to go – although I appear to have lost my wing-woman as Akemi has informed me she is tapping out.  I’ll be holding interviews for her replacement in the coming days.  Do YOU think you have what it takes?

Tomorrow = You have questions, I have answers!  The A.K.A. project, secret episode titles, why petitioning NetFlix won’t bring back your favorite Stargate.

25 thoughts on “January 20, 2014: Hot Chocolate Festival Rounds #2 and #3! Aloha Sweetie vs. Put De Lime in De Coconut vs. Monkey’s Uncle! Call Me A Cab vs. A Snowball’s Chance In Hell vs. London Foggy!

  1. I’ll be holding interviews for her replacement in the coming days. Do YOU think you have what it takes?

    Definitely not for me, but Barb might give it a go.

    So who’s your pick for the Superbowl? Broncos or Seahawks? I’m with Seattle for now (despite the trash talk by #25), solely because I’m not an Elway fan. But I don’t really have an emotional stake in this one, so I’ll just sit back, relax, and enjoy the game (I hope).

  2. I am soooo jealous, Joey! And with a snowstorm on its way, I REALLY want some good hot chocolate right about now.

    The kitties must sense the coming storm, too. I went to check on hubby (he’s battling the same cold I had last week), and this is what I found:


    This is probably the closest the boys have gotten to sleeping together (without it ending up in a wrestling match). I’m really jealous! I wanna join them, but I don’t want a relapse so I’m off to sleep in the ship room. Hopefully hubby will be sniffle-free in a day or two and I’ll be able to rejoin the pride. (I thought it was the sick animals that get exiled, not the healthy ones!)


  3. But if you missed a day, you need to double-up, not just add one. You will not make. It through 60 or 50-something

  4. I would have picked A Snowball’s Chance in Hell as well. I don’t like my hot chocolate to be too hot and I like my ice cream slightly melted. What a brilliant idea!

    If I was in Vancouver I would totally volunteer. As a coffee and tea non-drinker, hot chocolate is the only hot drink I can have so I regard myself as a bit of an aficionado.

    In fact, you’ve inspired me! Over the coming weeks I shall be sampling the hot chocolate delights (and I use that term VERY lightly) of Bath.

    I’m looking forward to hearing more about A.K.A. I assume it’s just at pilot stage and hasn’t had a series order yet. Still, getting a pilot is half the battle. Dare I say it will be smooooooth sailing after that?

  5. Hey Joe
    I’m afraid I can’t join you, the 25 daily commutes would kill me (not to mention I’d be broke after the first airfare). 🙂


  6. with the incoming cold spell, all of those entries sound terrific, but I do lean towards that ice cream and hot chocolate concoction. I just realized that I haven’t restocked groceries for awhile, so it looks like I will be venturing out as the snow starts to stock up on supplies. And thanks to you, that will include things needed to whip up a few cups of hc. Thanks for the update.

  7. Joe, your killin’ me! I would love to be your hot chocolate wing-woman but:
    1. I couldn’t keep up with your pace (6 cups in one day?!). Well, maybe I could if I just did a couple of sips of each cup… However<
    2. I can't get time off from work right now. I'll have to plan ahead next year.

    Good luck with the snow, dasM/b>! Those kitties look like they are fiercely protecting their side of the bed or your hubby. I’m betting on the former, though. We got another couple of inches of snow last night. Just enough that I can’t just ignore it and drive over it. So I’m out to shovel snow. It’s 2 degrees. Brrrrrr.

  8. And here it is . . . my first sampling of Bath Hot Chocolate festival (can it be a festival if I’m the only person doing it and the vendors have no idea?):

    Hot Chocolate: Chocolate of indeterminate origin with milk which might have been organic. Accompanied with nothing.

    Available at: The Thoughtful Bread Company, 19 Barton St, Bath, UK

    Initially a nice, sweet and creamy hot chocolate. Not much foam on top which is a plus in my book and not too hot, either. However, as I worked my way to the bottom of the cup I noticed a grainy texture in my mouth from undissolved chocolate. Perhaps it wasn’t hot enough to melt it all or perhaps it was just cheap chocolate.

    Verdict: Not the worst cup of hot chocolate I’ve ever had but could do with improvement.

  9. Cool! Mailbag! Here are my questions:

    Do you do “keepers” in either of your fantasy leagues? If so, who are you considering keeping? I think I’m ditching my entire bunch this year. Two of my keepers from this last year got injured early on and I’ve already dropped them, so it’s not a huge loss for me.

    If one of your projects goes to pilot, who has the say on where it gets filmed? Is it based on where the production house’s offices are located? Or is it based on some form of secondary research(monetary savings, future shooting location requirements, etc.)?

    Finally, I may just be a little forgetful this morning, but have you ever done a rundown of the top five sushi restaurants in Vancouver? It seems like you would have by now, but I can’t recall it offhand. I’ll do a search. I ask because I have some friends that just moved up to Seattle and I’m already planning a trip to go visit them(It’s been three years since I was last there!) and I want to make a point of driving up to Vancouver for a day at least. I always hear so much about the sushi places up there and want to partake of them for myself. As a fellow Uni lover, I trust your judgement.

    -Mike A.

  10. Have you watched Once Upon a Time? Do you see any resemblance between Rumpelstiltskin and the 1967 Spiderman animated series version of the Green Goblin?

  11. My only question atm is one I asked a couple/few days ago – When making hot chocolate at home, do you have a favorite cocoa that you use? Something special, or just regular Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa (or whatever they have in Canada)?

    Thanks to Mike from Canada for input on this very important question, too! 🙂


  12. No questions. Too busy with work and mom recovering from an awful viral respiratory thing that has left her temporarily house-bound and needing lots of help from me and life in general. But I will read the mailbag with interest.

  13. Hi Joe

    My questions:

    1. What’s special workout do you do to work of the hot chocolates?

    2. Did you see warren Buffet is going to put up $1 million if someone picks a perfect bracket in March madness. Do you think we have a Hope in hell?

    3. What do you think of the Norway Curling Team?

    Cheers Chev

  14. @Line Noise:

    What about the Pump Room? A number of times that I’ve visited the Pump Room they had hot chocolate but I don’t know if it is on the menu full time.

  15. “Do YOU think you have what it takes?”

    You’re darn toot’in I do! Pick me! Pick me! I have one to two cups a day Monday through Friday at work. Pretty good hot chocolate too. Made with one of them fancy machines. One cup because… well just because. Two cups because I get cold in the office, and it helps keep me warm. 😉 (that’s my excuss and I’m sticking with it)

    With me, we will kick anybody else’s bee-hind. I can drink as many cups a day as you like. However, I will not let any of that other stuff they put with the hot chocolate (cakes, candy, cookies, breads) distract me. The hot chocolate must stand alone and be able to hold it’s own. And anything they put into the hot chocolate (marshmellows, cream, etc) better be good or I’m spitting it out on the floor! That’s not going to bother you, will it Joe? 😉

    What is your address, I’m coming up there?!

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