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!
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)
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.
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.