Alas, it was a herculean task and despite my best efforts, I came up short.  In the end, I sampled only 47 of the some 60 varieties of hot chocolate offered for this year’s Hot Chocolate Festival.  Still, 47 hot chocolates in 24 days aint bad, especially considering I took those four days off to visit mom in Montreal.  This year, I doubled last year’s score.  And, next year, I vow to do even better!

So, what were the standouts?  Well, what follows is my list of the Top 5 Hot Chocolates of this year’s Hot Chocolate Festival!

When all was said and done, six hot chocolates actually made by top 5 list.  After much consideration, I decided to offer a Top 5 +1 for good luck!

Honorable mention goes to…


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).



Phaun’s Fancy: Made from 64% dark chocolate with parmesan and fresh nutmeg.  Served with a side of Umami No. 5 fudge

Available: At Cocoa Nymph 3739 W. 10th Ave (at Alma), Vancouver



Banana Split: Made from 36% Valrhona Caramelia chocolate and topped with walnut marshmallows.  Served with banana pound cake.

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



Trio of Chocolate: The base of this hot chocolate is 66% Mokaya chocolate by Michel Cluizel. Served with a disk of 45% Kayambe milk chocolate and white chocolate ice cream.

Available at: Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe 1059 Alberni Street



Hera’s Habit: Made from 50% deep milk chocolate with malted milk balls.  Served with vanilla bean cinnamon shortbread.

Available: At Cocoa Nymph 3739 W. 10th Ave (at Alma), Vancouver



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.)


Congratulations to all the winners.  I’m hoping I’ll get to see you again soon.  REAL soon.

Continuing Stargate: Atlantis rewatch with…The Eye!

1Ah, now this is more like it!  Akemi was on the edge of her seat (or, actually, her side of the bed) throughout this episode.  She loved it.  Action!  Suspense!  Humor! And, best of all, those dazzling visual effects!  She was blown away by the the sequence of Atlantis shielding itself within seconds of the giant wave crashing down on the city (“Always very last minute your show!”) and also had high praise for the Teyla-Sora showdown (compliments of our former SGA stunt coordinator James Bam Bam Bamford).  She continues to enjoy McKay, greatly appreciated seeing her favorite Dr. Beckett, and is even warming up to Sheppard.  She had one big bump = McKay dressing his arm wound OVER his sleeve.

Overall: “I liked it a lot.  I’m getting used to this city.  At first I thought not as good as SGU’s ship but now pretty cool.”  And then: “I’m beginning to like SGA too!”

A couple of years ago, I offered some thoughts on this episode (and the next one) in one of my Trip Down Memory Lane entries:

June 13, 2012: Dark Matter at Comic Con! Save Lennox the dog! Days of Stargate Past, Atlantis! The Eye and The Defiant One! Vote on our favorite Stargate mid-season two-parter for a chance to win!

16 thoughts on “February 14, 2014: The Hot Chocolate Festival Top 5! Plus 1 for good luck! Our Stargate: Atlantis rewatch continues with…The Eye!

  1. How would you figure that the guy that came up with the KFC *TRIPLE* Down burger (the one with the donut bun) would like the Paula Deen White Trash Train Wreck the best? Never would have guessed it. 😉 🙂

    Totally agree with Akemi on “The Eye” – I loved every minute of it. I have give great credit to Torri and David for sitting through those scenes with the water and wind – it must have been pretty harsh. I think on the DVD commentary it mentions that it took a couple of days overall to film? BRRRR.

    I laughed at the last scene with Rodney and his over the jacket *bandage*, which was of course completely pointless done like that. So glad to hear that Akemi is warming to the show – it only gets better and better!

    Speaking of storms, the big one that was supposed to hit hear last night was a completely yawner. In the end we only got about 10cm of snow, which quickly turned to a light rain. No downpours, no wind, not much of anything. Well, except for extremely icy sidewalks this morning. That was not fun.

  2. Happy Akemi’s warming up to SGA (and Sheppard 🙂 ), good luck next year with the chocolate, these look particularly yummy.
    This episode was just spectacular in all the ways you mentioned. And Badass Shep is sooo incredibly sexy!

  3. I’m glad Akemi is finally warming up to the show! I gotta say, though, I don’t care how capable the Army guys were on SGU…SGA’s marines have heart! I always felt the Atlantis crew – knowing they might never get to go back – made the best of the situation and even after they connected back to Earth, I felt they had a stronger connection to Atlantis than Earth (otherwise, why would The Return have happened if they didn’t care about Atlantis itself?) I think with SGU, everyone clung to Earth, in part through the stones and because they never wanted to be there in the first place.

    I also love the trio of Sheppard, McKay, and Weir in this two-parter. They make an interesting triumverate of power for the city. And some people think McKay is weak for that cut, but he’s way stronger than they think. I love this two-parter, indeed.

    Joe, have you been watching any of the Olympics? Do you have a particular event you like?

  4. OMG the hot chocolate…gaining weight just reading this blog. The Eye is a nail biter. Cory Monteith did this one, wow so young then and was when he passed away.

  5. In the end, I sampled only 47 of the some 60 varieties of hot chocolate offered for this year’s Hot Chocolate Festival. Still, 47 hot chocolates in 24 days aint bad….

    does anyone ever get to all 60?

  6. Loving the hot choc pics, especially the treats on the side. SGA just keeps getting better, and a space cafeteria that offers jello is awesome.

    So often I read about awesome UFO sightings in which the no one videotaped incident. But god bless Okinawa, they took the most dazzling UFO witness vids ever. Now I get what people saw in Phoenix and Stephenville; even if it just turns out to be experimental drones it is still very cool.

  7. If the Eye didn’t win Akemi over, nothing would have. Loved rewatching this. Heroic Rodney, lethal Sheppard, and scary Kolya. Plus implacable momma Nature showing up for a cameo. Even Ford put up a credible showing, though browbeating our favorite Scotsman in space was rather mean. Akemi should like the next episode as well, and wait till we get to the siege!

  8. Did you find out who wrote that “fk the French” comment on the wall on the last episode of SGU?

    Did MGM blur out the words in the retail dvd?

  9. Oh my, those chocolates look good. I’m surprised the potato chip cocoa won. That maybe a combination one has to experience before judging.

    I’m glad Akemi is warming up to SGA. Bam Bam does great action sequences!

  10. How does this year’s chocolate list compare to previous years? Similar tastes, any vendors in common?

    @Deborah My thoughts exactly!

  11. Some of the more better Atlantis episodes come in later seasons, though they’re the ones with a lot of money thrown at them lol

  12. The train wreck certainly looks like a wreck but I would like to try it to see if it tastes like one too.

    The Eye is an awesome episode. I love how Sheppard takes out the Genii soldiers without even thinking twice. We see him do that with Wraith all the time but rarely with other humans. And when he tells Ford to “shoot to kill” that seals it for me.

    I just got back from a trip to London to see a show called Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense. It was hilarious! One of the best plays I’ve ever seen. If you’re in London for any reason try to get tickets. You won’t regret it!

  13. I know its mean, but I enjoyed watching everyone get all wet, I hope the rain was warm and they had lots of hot chocolate to drink after all the shots! Enjoyed watching all the characters play their parts so well, Bravo! And thanks to all Joe and Akemi’s hard work testing the hot chocolates, we have more varieties for the next show (which will be soon,right Joe?!?)

  14. We all knew The Storm/The Eye would be the thing that got Akemi hooked based upon how she felt about SGU. For the life of me I can’t seem to put my hands on the S1 DVD’s. I have the cover for it so I’m guessing the cases got separated but I have had no luck locating them. So I’ll have to do it from memory. It will be interesting to see what she thinks of Ronin. On one hand, she will like his fight scenes. On the other hand, he is quite different from Greer in personality.

    I think the Banana Bread hot chocolate would be great. I probably would attempt to eat?drink? the Paula Deen one. And Hera’s Habit, without even tasting it, made my top 5, too.

  15. My girlfriend had a similar experience with watching Atlantis, just like Akemi. She lives in Guatemala, so she had no experience with SG shows at all. We watched a couple of episodes of the 1st season, which was new to me since I started in season 4. She liked Rodney (who doesn’t) as her favorite character. It was this two-part episode (The Storm / The Eye) that hooked her. We finished up season 1, and she made us go out and purchase the 2nd season. Luckily, S2 and S3 were on sale. We watched a lot until she had to leave. SG:A is the only sci-fi show she has ever watched.

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