7 Haute Picks from the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival

Was ever a more delectable drink created? These 7 hot chocolate creations raise the bar on an all-time favourite

Ever wonder what your hot chocolate would taste like if you added peanut butter, beer, cognac or dried mushrooms? Vancouver’s Hot Chocolate Festival is your chance to find out

You won’t find your mother’s hot milk and cocoa in this year’s batch of Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival offerings. Ingredients like caramelized bananas, vanilla bean, chai spices and the highest quality chocolate take these hot chocolates up a few notches.

Until February 14, 23 of the city’s finest cafes, chocolate shops and bakeries are offering up to 60 unique hot chocolate drinks to warm you up during the cold, grey days of winter.

Partial funds from festival sales will be donated to restaurateurMark Brand‘s new charity project A Better Life Foundation, which aims to create a self-sustaining meal program for people in assisted living and low-income housing on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

And be sure to tweet a picture of your hot chocolate for a chance to win gift certificates from all participating vendors, valued at $500.

Not sure where to start imbibing? Try these 7 wonderful, wild hot chocolates, each paired perfectly with a tiny sweet treat to nibble on.

Soirette Macarons and Tea: The King’s Cup

An ode to Elvis, this hot chocolate at Soirette Macarons and Tea is a rockabilly combo of peanut butter and caramelized banana, with French milk and dark chocolate. Served with a peanut biscotti.

Chocolate Arts: Armory Amour

Named after the neighbourhood where the shop is located (the Armory District), this hot chocolate from Chocolate Arts is made with a single origin chocolate plus hints of raspberry. It’s rich but not too sweet.

Secret Location: Blond Mystique

This delectable drink from Secret Location contains a surprisingly delicious combination of roasted white chocolate, candy cap, and cognac. (Candy cap is a unique small mushroom that, when dried, has the aroma and flavour of earthy maple syrup.) Served with a brown butter Caramelia financier.

Beaucoup Bakery: Petal of A Rose

There’s nothing vanilla about this vanilla bean white hot chocolate with rose, made with Valrhona chocolate at Beaucoup Bakery.

Terra Breads: Stand Up and Stout

Beer in hot chocolate? It’s a combination that works when you infuse rich Cocoa Barry cocoa with local R&B Brewing Company’s Dark Star Oatmeal Stout, top it with a stout marshmallow, and serve with an oatmeal raisin cookie. Try it at Terra Breads.

Gem Chocolates: BC Blue Booster

As the name suggests, Gem Chocolates‘ offering makes this a pseudo-healthy choice with its blend of high anti-oxidant-content cocoa and blueberries.

Bel Café: Bengal Daydream

Reminiscent of India in name and in flavour, this rich, dark hot chocolate from Bel Café is flavoured with chai spices.

7 Haute Picks from the Hot Chocolate Festival