Our tour of the ongoing Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival continues with not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE new concoctions!

The festivities continue through to February 14th, so plenty of time to check out the delectable offerings: January 04, 2014The Hot Chocolate is Here!

Round #8…


Evita: gBAR flavoured with salted caramel – Argentina style.   Served with Erin Ireland’s “To Die For” Banana Bread.

Available at: Bella Gelateria, 1001 West Cordova Street.


Hmmm.  I found this one a little confused.  All of the various hot chocolates on the menu use a standard base (your choice of milk, dark, or very dark chocolate) to which is added a flavor accent in the form of a gelato bar.  In the case of the Monkey’s Lunch, it all worked.  The banana gelato married well with the chocolate and the banana bread was the perfect accompaniment.  And, while I love the banana bread, it seemed like an odd accompaniment to this hot chocolate.  Also, unlike the Monkey’s Lunch, the flavor of the salted caramel gelato got lost, presumably because of the heavier hot chocolate to bar ratio.


Nut Your Traditional Hot chocolate: Chipmunks will chatter over this hot chocolate flavoured with peanut butter.  Served with a berry marshmallow.

Available at: Last Crumb Cafe, 3080 Main Street (Main and East 15th), Vancouver.


I suppose you can eat the marshmallow separately, but I preferred to dunk it in the hot chocolate so that it gradually melted, imparting the drink with a unique berry sweetness to counterbalance the slight saltiness of the peanut butter.  This is about as close as you can get to drinking peanut butter and jelly.  And it’s damn good.

The Verdict: I’m a sucker for peanut butter.  I love salted caramel too but, for some reason, its flavors were strangely muted in the Evita.

Winner: Nut Your Traditional Hot Chocolate (Last Crumb Cafe)

Round #9…


Paula Dean White Trash Trainwreck: A 70% dark chocolate ganache with condensed milk, salted kettle chips, and vanilla whipped cream.  Served with a 72% dark chocolate wafer.

Available at: Mink Chocolates, 863 West Hastings St., Vancouver. On the park (cross street, Hornby.)


An assembly of ingredients as inspired as its name, bursts of sweet and salty, silky, whispy, and crispy.  It seems like a bizarre combination but it works.  Really, REALLY well.  The hot chocolate base almost attains a consistency just short of pudding. Shatter the chips, mix in the whipped cream, and you’ve got one of the most fun flavors of the festival so far.  And damn delicious to boot!


Hot Toddy Float:  You’d stay warm and cozy even in the peaks of Grouse Mountain with this buttered rum hot chocolate blended with wild mountain honey ice cream.

Available at: Soirette Macarons & Tea 1433 West Pender Street, Vancouver. (Coal Harbour)


I might have enjoyed this one a little more in a regular cup instead of a take-away cup, but it was quite good nevertheless.  My only complaint was that, by the time my drink hit the table, the honey ice cream was no longer solid.  In fairness, it may have been intentional – which is too bad since two of my top hot chocolates of the festival so far (Chocolate Arts’ Snowball’s Chance in Hell and Thierry’s Trio of Chocolate) executed the hot/cold contrast to great effect.


Peppermint Patty: Made from 70% Valrhona guanaja chocolate infused with organic peppermint and vanilla bean chantilly.  Served with a double fudge cookie.

Available at: Bel Cafe, 801 West Georgia Street @ Howe (at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia)


Yeaaaargh!  The first misfire of the festival!  Lacking any discernible sweetness, this drink was like taking a mint buckshot to the throat.  It was so intense in its mint flavor that I thought it might work better as a topical muscle relaxant instead of a drink.

Verdict: Thick chocolate ganache, kettle chips and whipped cream?  UNREAL!

Winner: Paula Dean White Trash Trainwreck (Mink Chocolates)

Joining us on today’s tour was blog regular Kathode who took time away from her busy schedule to watch me achieve a sugar high unlike any other.

The chocolate line-up at Mink
The chocolate line-up at Mink.  I picked up a few.  For later.  MUCH later.
I snap a pic for my blog of Kathode snapping a pic…for her blog?  How meta.
I snap a pic for my blog of Kathode snapping a pic…for her blog? How meta.
I bet her dog has a matching hat.
Wait!  Are you supposed to drink this or apply it to your feet?

21 flavors down.  We’re one third of the way to the finish line!

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular M. Reed.  Condolences on the loss of her beloved dog.  Condolences.

23 thoughts on “January 27, 2014: The Hot Chocolate Festival Tour Continues with Rounds #8 and #9!

  1. It’s funny that the mint one at Bel Café actually SOUNDS like the tastiest one (in my opinion). Execution is everything, I suppose.

    So sorry to hear about M Reed’s dog, my sincerest condolences to them.

    I do have some good news here though – after five long months of being in the hospital (and me visiting most days), my step-mom is FINALLY getting placed in her nursing home of choice on Wednesday. She is very happy about it, but as I expected is also a bit nervous, going from the known to the unknown. She has been doing a bit better lately again since Christmas health-wise as well. I’m so relieved, especially at the prospect of getting my life a little bit back to normal and having to travel less.

    Speaking of travel, I might just wind up going away for the weekend!

  2. Thanks for treating me to chocolate and other yummies, Joe! It was fun hanging with you and Akemi. She’s as awesome in person as your blog would have us believe. (Well, you are too, but it was obvious from your writing that you would be.) The liquid lunch got me through the afternoon session of my conference — unlike the dude next to me, who was audibly snoring through half the talks. He clearly should have had more hot chocolates during the lunch break!

  3. Five year old me would tell you, “God don’t make no trash.” Besides, Paula Deen is an old money train wreck. Your Vancouver hot chocolate name is not culturally accurate.

  4. Man all those look sooooo good. Today was National Chocolate Cake Day, really! Is there a National Hot Chocolate Day?

  5. Oh man I could live on that Train Wreck. I might not live long but I’d be sooooo happy!

  6. @M Reed: So sorry to hear of your terrible loss. May sweet memories remain.

    Finally got moved to Tampa! We got movers to move us this time. Next time, I pack my own stuff and do it all myself. This is a disaster! We’re missing a bunch of stuff and they managed to break quite a few things. I can’t find so much stuff and it’s starting to really bug me. Still, the dogs and my grandkid are having a blast! 🙂 The chips with the ganache would sit very well with me right now, Joey. 🙂

  7. The names are almost as fun as the concoctions themselves. Glad to see you making such good progress on the tastings. I also wish to add my sympathies to M. Reed. It’s a terrible thing that our four legged children/friends/companions are only able to share a fraction of our lifetimes with us. All the more reason to make them as good for dog and owner as possible, and something that translates into some sort of life lesson about life in general.

  8. hot chocolate flavored with peanut butter sounds interesting. i wonder if they were going for a peanut butter & jelly thing by including the berry marshmallow?

  9. I have made hot chocolate from scratch with whole milk, cocoa and tiny marshmallows. I might try adding peanut butter next time. I’ll let you know how it comes out. 🙂

    Hello Kathode!

  10. @ M. Reed – So sorry to hear about your loss…sending hugs and comforting thoughts your way.


    Just finishing up a 14+ hour paperwork marathon, and I’m exhausted! Started this morning cleaning out old files, organizing last year’s files (for hubby’s business), and then doing the same with our personal stuff. It’s a chore I dread every year, and usually break it up over a couple/few days, but I got into the zone, as it were, and saw the whole thing through to the end. At least all my tax stuff is now ready for the accountant (with the exception of a couple things I’m waiting for in the mail), and my file boxes (one for business, one for personal) are all cleaned out and ready for 2014.

    Aaaaand I’m ready for bed. 😛



  11. @das I am envious, you sound so organized, I need a lesson. Dread tax time, even though I do pile papers for it. Where is easy peasy? Need to twitch my nose or wave my magic wand and presto chango,,haha, nope didn’t work.
    Oh well I am enjoying Joe’s adventure thru the chocolate jungle, thanks Joe for the pictures, even without descriptions I am happy. yumm. Are you gaining weight or losing it running from place to place sampling. again yum and thanks.
    ~hey to kathode, glad you got to enjoy the chocolate and Joe and Akemis company.
    ~M.Reed, sorry for your loss{{{hugs}}}.

  12. So it is possible to achieve a chocolate high! I was wondering recently if such a marathon of chocolate tasting results in a hangover-like feeling. You should expect a recognizable low after this festival is over. Take care.

  13. I’m so sorry M Reed! Most of us have been through it and it’s never easy. Sending a big hug your way.

    I’m glad that Akemi rallied for the hot cocoa tasting. Yay that Kathode got a break from her conference to join in!

    gforce: Great news on your step mom and I hope all goes well with the transition. It will be me next week. My mom is having surgery and I’m going up there to help out for a few days. I don’t think it will be anything serious but she is working herself up into a tizzy.

    Deni: I’m glad the big move is over. How is Tampa?

    Das: Arg, taxes! I’m working on ours bit by bit. I have all my information but the 1099 from our new H.S.A. It’s our first year with an H.S.A. and I can see it costing us a good bit our refund. 🙁

    I’m loving the new season of Sherlock! It’s one of the best mystery shows out there.

    That Evita sounds yummy! The Paula Dean one…I’ve never heard of putting potato chips in cocoa. I’ll take your word that the chips worked. Don’t think I’ll try that one though.

  14. @Tam Dixon: I have no idea how Tampa is, been stuck in this house trying to decipher the movers’ “secret code” to our boxes. 😉 I’ve always been very organized when I move and this nonsense of wading through boxes is new to me. Meanwhile, Cody has decided that the screened-in patio is a two way portal to the back yard and Casey is convinced that piles of clean linens are a good place to pee. Mikey’s having a tough day sans Mommy, the rain made everything muddy (including Mr. Two-Way Portal and his cohorts), so all in all, I’d say Tampa is a tough place to live! It’ll get better. Right? Right? 🙂

  15. @ Airelle – Back in the day I was extremely organized – OCD organized (though not quite on the level of Mr. Monk). But I was single, living at home, with very few responsibilities and no electronic distractions, so organizing things was my specialty. Everything had a place. I could immediately go to a drawer or cabinet or file and find exactly what I was looking for. Now with SO many distractions and responsibilities and so little time I am far less organized. I’m also a procrastinator (I’ve always been one, but I’m much worse now), so some of my 14 ~hour paperwork marathon included looking through papers and other bits of saved information that I set aside throughout the year, always meaning to address but never quite getting around to it. Well, I got around to it yesterday, and have a giant bag of shredded paper to prove it! (I also somehow managed to shred one of Mr. Das’ 1099s, but lucky was able to print out another online. At times I’m TOO efficient. 😛 )

    @ Tam Dixon – The new Sherlock season has been AMAZING!! They’ve just outdone themselves this go round, and I can’t imagine how it can ever be topped. The mix of suspense/mystery with such wickedly clever humor (or should I say ‘humour’? 😉 ) just has me tickled to death! 🙂


  16. @MReed – So very sorry to hear about your dog, my thoughts are with you. He was beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    @Joe – I love mint everything so would be extra disappointed that it wasn’t nice. The potato chips one was bizarro. I’ve not seen any Hot Chocolates like these in Melbourne. Is it a Vancouver or Canadian thing?


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