Whooooooooa… We’re half-way there…
WhoooooOOOAA! Chocolate everywheere…
February 1st! I do not know where the month of January went, but I recall glimpses of events and timetables and a lot of chocolate towards the end. As a student, I find this point in the Hot Chocolate Festival challenging: Professors are beginning to remind their classes about upcoming assignments while doling out assessments, and the hot cocoa locations are farther away as I cross more and more off of my list.
Who doesn’t like a bit of a challenge, though?
HoCho #9: Red Cadillac, Koko Monk Chocolates (~$6.50)
Located just before Burrard Street on 1st Ave, Koko Monk Chocolates prides themselves on flavours that come from the foods themselves – no artificial flavours or preservatives to make their chocolate confections, beverages, cookies, and macarons taste as delicious as they do. Last year, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed a curry hot chocolate from them.
This year, however, I enjoyed a salted almond hot chocolate with peppercorn, made with almond milk – and this time, the almond milk was included in the drink! I did not have to specify my non-dairy preference – I do appreciate intentionally vegan items in the festival.
The Red Cadillac was a rich, dark chocolate that sat heavily on the tongue. When stirring the drink, the hot chocolate dripped with a thick viscosity off of the spoon. Aligning with the values of Koko Monk, the salted-almond flavour came not only from the almond milk, but from crushed almonds added to the chocolate blend; they added a gritty texture that appeared every few sips.
If you like dark, less-sweet hot chocolate (with a little bit of peppercorn for *pop* at the end), you would probably enjoy this drink!
Ah, Thomas Haas – if you follow them on Instagram, you know that they don’t just pride themselves on incredible confections, pastries, macarons, and hot chocolate – they also love the outdoors, biking, and the city they reside in!
This stop has been a favourite of mine in past festivals, and I was not to be disappointed this year. Of the two available cocoas, MS and I indulged in the Pep Me Up – a 70% cocoa drink with peppermint and some chartreuse:
a French liqueur made by the Carthusian Monks since 1737 according to the instructions set out in the secret manuscript given to them by François Annibal d’Estrées in 1605. It is composed of distilled alcohol aged with 130 herbs, plants and flowers. The liqueur is named after the Monks’ Grande Chartreuse monastery, located in the Chartreuse Mountains in the general region of Grenoble in France. (Wikipedia article here.)
I enjoyed this drink made with almond milk, as I find the almond milk made the dark chocolate a little lighter on the palette, and it allowed the peppermint notes to become more prominent.
While the struggle is often all-too real to find a seat in this place, I highly recommend it if you appreciate artful chocolate drinks and you want a little something sweet on the side.
HoCho #12: Chartreuse Milkshake, Uva Wine Bar & Bittered Sling ($14.95)
It’s Friday night, and it’s 10:00PM – it’s too late to get a Hot Chocolate Festival drink!
What? You mean there’s a location opened until 2:00 in the morning from which I may acquire a festival beverage? … And there are two alcoholic options?
Uva Wine Bar offers three festival options this year, one of which follows a more “hot chocolate” template, and two that are “hot chocolate inspired” cocktails. My company and I, late on Friday, went for the second of two cocktail options – the Chartreuse Milkshake.
This drink did not actually contain any dairy of which to speak, but it was shaken (not stirred), and had cacao bitters sprinkled atop its foamy surface. The flavours showcased in this drink were orange juice and lime juice with a hint of gin, making a sweet and tangy drink that was very easy to sip.
Italian doughnuts accompanied the beverage – two large, served-hot, cinnamon-sugar coated doughnuts with some sweet substance drizzled across them and their serving plate. They hit the spot after a long shift that left my blood sugar low!
Do you like orange juice? Does a sweet-sour combo sound appealing? Is alcohol something you’re into today? Try this stop on Seymour Street.