A bittersweet day for the hot chocolate festival and me! The only sweetness of it comes from the end of my sense of obligation to buying expensive hot chocolates and then later consuming them in greater quantities than I ordinarly would. The bitterness is the end of my contributions to the Women’s Job Skills program in the Downtown Eastside, the end of exploring new venues and their exciting specialty items for the festival, and the end of blogging about them every day. However, it has been an exciting four weeks, and the day itself was beautiful and everything (beyond the chocolate) felt very ‘right’.
My last stop of the festival seemed somehow appropriate for Valentine’s Day, as Gem Chocolates was serving up Glenn’s “Popped Cherry” hot chocolate (it is only appropriate for Valentine’s Day in a way that is slightly inappropriate, ha ha). Also, the store was decorated for the day, and employees vouched for red, sparkly ties as their uniform!
|Popped Cherry: Cherry, chocolate and fig, with a surprising pop.
Served with a dried cherry chocolate creation.
It turned out I had arrived just in time, as they were onto the last scoop of the specialty ganache for the drink! I think this is what made it difficult to detect the specific flavours during the first quarter of the beverage. Not only that, but I asked for almond milk – and they ran out of that, too! So we decided to go crazy and combine it with soy milk so as not to waste what was already poured.
Each sip was distinctively flavoured with milk chocolate, and the soy-almond milk combination made it smooth. The cocoa sprinkled on top was a nice chocolaty touch, as well (Glenn remembered that I have a no-whip preference, so the cocoa shavings sat upon delicious foam instead).
Towards the bottom of the hot chocolate, I could begin to taste some of the cherry flavour, though I do believe I truly got what little was left of the ganache, ha ha. In addition to all of this last-day-of-the-festival craziness, I missed out on the cherry chocolate creation! However, I was not disappointed by the consolation prize: A homemade chocolate fudge cookie made by a Gem Chocolates employee. It was a moist and gooey and amazingly delicious cookie to be paired with the yummy hot chocolate!
Off to birthday/Valentine’s Day dinner we went, and finished off the hot chocolate back at home. Overall, I believe that the hot chocolate was a lovely accent to what turned out to be a really excellent day.
At the end of my chocolate journey for 2014,
I am content with all of my new dining discoveries
and the time with friends and family that the festival
was able to make even more delicious and exciting.
I do not consider myself much of a hot chocolate
connoisseur, but it has most definitely been fun to
experience so many unique creations and locations!
Until next year,