The Hot Chocolate Festival is a gleaming beacon of hope in dreary post-Christmas Vancouver. Each January, Vancouverites are treated to a parade of decadent hot chocolate creations from the city's top bakeries and dessert spots. It's a fun chance to go out of your way to see places around the city that you keep meaning to check out!
This is not the kind of hot chocolate you used to drink at Denny's or McDonald's as a kid. These gourmet hot chocolates are made with premium ingredients and even some unusual flavours. These flavours are crazy inventive, enticing and at times hilarious! Each flavour has a crazy name, so be sure to read the descriptions to get a sense of what it will taste like.
This year, there are 74 flavours to try across 29 different venues! The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival runs from Saturday, January 19 to Thursday, February 14. Whether you're craving floral, citrus, smokey or downright savoury hot chocolate this winter, there's a totally unique flavour that's going to be your favourite at this year's festival!
Here are the most extra flavours and wild pairings you can try at this year's Hot Chocolate Festival
The Umami Experience
Get it at: East Van Roasters from Jan 19 – Feb 1
One of the strangest concoctions this year is this entry from East Van Roasters. They're serving up a "tamari caramel drinking chocolate made with 70% dark single-origin chocolate." It's paired with wasabi chocolate almonds! This one is perfect for those chocolate-lovers who don't like overly sweet things.
YOU ARE FIRED!
Get it at: Thomas Haas Chocolates from Jan 19 – Feb 14
Thomas Haas is getting strangely political this year with their offerings! This one really brings to mind President Donald Trump without actually name dropping. It's a "caramelized 'blonde' chocolate, slightly 'burned & agitated' with sea salt, and a 'fake & hollow' chocolate sphere" and they serve it with an overbaked shortbread cookie. I'm pretty sure they're calling Trump a salty, fake tanned blowhard in the sweetest way possible!
New Year, New Me!
Get it at: Cadeaux Bakery from Jan 19 – Feb 14
This hot chocolate is perfect for those trying to keep their healthy lifestyle rolling in the New Year! Well, not really, but their detox-inspired white hot chocolate is steeped in ginger and spices. It's served with a healthy-ish Goji berry granola bite!
The Dazzling Mermaid
Get it at: Soirette from Jan 19 – Feb 14
Soirette dazzled us before with their cute unicorn hot chocolate! This year, they're doing up a mermaid-inspired version! It's a "wild blueberry cheesecake and butterfly pea white hot chocolate" that comes with an adorable seashell macaron! It'll be a beautiful blue drink that will be perfect for Instagram.
Young, Dumb And Full Of Kumquat
Get it at: Perverted Ice Cream from Jan 19 – Feb 14
Perverted Ice Cream is throwing their hat into the ring with this refreshing Asian citrus inspired entry. It's a white hot chocolate with kumquat and yuzu. It comes served with a meringue kiss that tastes like citrus and passionfruit.
Get it at: Gem Chocolates from January 19 – 25
Lavender and blackberry are the one-two punch of this entry by Gem Chocolate. It's based on a popular flavour of chocolate that they sell year-round! This will be a darkly purple decadent treat.
Istanbul - Tokyo: Double Kicker
Get it at: Koko Monk Chocolates from Jan 26 – Feb 1
This hot chocolate will take you from Istanbul to Tokyo! It's a crazy blend of matcha and Turkish coffee. This white hot chocolate is made with coconut milk so it's totally vegan.
Who You Calling A 'Conehead'?
Get it at: Mink Chocolates from Jan 19 – Feb 14
This hot chocolate takes the cake for the most original serving! You'll get a hot chocolate the size of a cortado coffee served in a chocolate-lined edible cone. Mink makes literally the best chocolate in the world (it won that title), so you won't want to miss out on this treat!
The Bees Knees Squeeze
Get it at: Chez Christophe from Jan 19 – Feb 13
This delightful drink is a "white hot chocolate flavoured with lemon and honey." If you're suffering from a cold this season, then I think this one will be a huge relief to you! Plus, it's served with a cream cheese treat to round out the comforting and soothing experience!
Get it at: Beaucoup Bakery from Jan 19 – Feb 14
This French bakery is my favourite place in the city to go for an almond croissant. They're entering the hot chocolate festival this year with their lemongrass white chocolate latte and pairing it with a macaron that echoes the lemongrass flavour with a twist of kumquat.
Neither Sun Nor Rain
Get it at: Koko Monk Hot Chocolate Lounge From Feb 9 – 13
Do curry and chocolate go together? Find out with this vegan smoked curry dark hot chocolate made with coconut milk. It's paired with a fruity lemongrass mango praline. This unusual hot chocolate is sure to turn a few heads and taste buds this year!
The Big Smoke
Get it at: Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionary from Jan 19 – 25
In Burnaby, this classic soda shoppe is serving up a sophisticated smoky oak-infused dark hot chocolate. It comes with a salted maple bacon truffle to double the smoky goodness.
Squeeze Your Own Lemon
Get it at: Uno Gelato from February 2 – 14
I hope that this drink becomes available year-round because it sounds absolutely incredible. It's made with raw coconut water and coconut milk made in house. They infuse it with a blend of dark chocolate and Erin Ireland’s famous lemon loaf. You'll also get a scoop of their delicious gelato with your drink!
Crazy Rich Pandan
Get it at: Mon Paris Patisserie from Jan 19 – Feb 14
Did you catch Crazy Rich Asians last year? This hot chocolate is blasted with a blend of delicious Asian-inspired flavours. It's a pandan milk hot chocolate decked out with whipped cream, freeze-dried durian (eat at your own risk) and a sprinkle of toasted coconut.
Prettier In Pink
Get it at: Bel Cafe from Jan 19 – Feb 2
Tart raspberry and mellow rose flavours blend in this pretty white hot chocolate. If you're looking for the girliest hot chocolate on offer at the festival this year, then look no further! It's served with a raspberry Meyer lemon macaron to add to the fanciness.
The Salty 'C'
Get it at: Bjornbarn Bakery from Feb 2 – 8
If you love salted caramel, then this white hot chocolate from North Van's Bjornbarn Bakery is going to be your favourite! It's served with dark chocolate bark and a flourish of Fleur de Sel.
Get it at: Butter Baked Goods from Jan 19 – Feb 14
Butter's hot chocolates are always so precious! This year, they're inspired by traditional English flavours. Their white hot chocolate taste of Earl Grey tea and lemon zest. It's served in an adorable fine china teacup with a scone and jam on the side.
Vegan Midnight Spice
Get it at: Cartems Donuts From Jan 19 – Feb 14
Vegans can delight with this spicy dark hot chocolate made with almond milk and spiced with cayenne and cinnamon. Pair it with any doughnut you like, but they recommend the vegan classic Chocolate Glaze.
Izanagi & Izanagi
Get it at: Trafiq Cafe & Bakery From Jan 19 – 24 and Feb 1 – 7
Japanese flavours inspire this hot chocolate that's made with Hamasaen matcha and pistachio. It's made w34% Cacao Barry Zéphyr white chocolate and served alongside a matching matcha opera cake.