Now here’s a bright idea: a festival devoted entirely to HOT CHOCOLATE!
This makes my kids all kinds of excited, and me, too! The 6th annual HOT CHOCOLATE Festival is happening right now in my city of Vancouver. There’s over two dozen bakeries, restaurants and cafés offering incredibly delectable takes on HOT CHOCOLATE, with interesting flavours like Vanilla Earl Grey (The Last Crumb), Honey Bun with chili honey (Terra Breads), and lots of non-dairy options, too, like Coconut Hot Chocolate paired with a small scoop of chocolate vegan ice cream (Ernest Ice Cream). Sweet!
So, how does a HOT CHOCOLATE festival work, you ask? Here’s the scoop: each participating business offers 2 or 3 signature HOT CHOCOLATE recipes on their menu paired with an accompanying topping or tiny sweet treat for patrons to come try during the festival dates of January 16-February 14. There are also specific flavours only offered on certain days during the festival at certain locations, so there’s lots of variety. The idea is brilliant, and it gets people out and about to new locations around the city, and the HOT CHOCOLATE festival is a fundraiser organized by Cityfood Magazine for the Downtown Eastside women’s job training program, so it’s a feel-good do-good event on all sides.
And I love that this festival is highlighting the fantastic imaginations of our city’s best creators of chocolate, and getting Vancouverites tasting some drinkable confections. The Vancouver HOT CHOCOLATE Festival is also very social, so go check out #hotchocolatefest on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to enter their HOT CHOCOLATE photo contest, for more ideas and for deliciously drool-worthy pics.
Now, if you can’t make it to the festival, let me make a suggestion…
Try your hand at creating some fun HOT CHOCOLATE concoctions of your own. There’s no rules at home! I’ve tried all sorts of flavour combinations with my kids starting with milk, hot water, soy or almond milk with cocoa, chocolate chips, hot chocolate mix or sometimes (a lot of times) just with Nutella (you don’t even need actual chocolate to make HOT CHOCOLATE, by the way). And you can add cinnamon, vanilla, orange rind, anything you like for a little flavour flourish. Whipped cream and sprinkles are always fun for kids, and I love Oh She Glow’s recipe for Coconut Whipped Cream.
Or make a plan on a chilly day to go compare flavours at several different cafe’s in your neighbourhood. Order one to share and taste test with homemade score cards for each location. Bring some crayons for colouring and for filling in the scorecards for best chocolatey taste, creamiest whipped cream, favourite sprinkles, yummiest marshmallows, deepest chocolate colour, etc. Have a discussion on what makes the best HOT CHOCOLATE and recreate it at home. Note: we like to schedule a family dance party or perhaps a balloon party to work off all that sugar afterwards!
The Vancouver HOT CHOCOLATE Festival is happening until Valentine’s Day, just in time for some creamy, dreamy, chocolatey love! Take your lovey, your littles, or just yourself for a well-deserved chocolatey quiet time. Click for a complete listing of the HOT CHOCOLATE Festival vendors & flavours.
And now it’s time for me to stop writing and start sipping. Are you hitting any of the HOT CHOCOLATE festival spots in Vancouver? Do you make your own HOT CHOCOLATE at home?
Here’s how to sign HOT CHOCOLATE with your kids…please be careful if you’re sipping and signing!
To sign HOT in American Sign Language, start with an open claw-hand in front of your open mouth then bring hand down and swing it away from your body (like something that’s too HOT to touch)
To sign CHOCOLATE, hold one hand in a ‘C’ shape circling on top of your other flat hand: