Sweet teeth rejoice. The Greater Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival has kicked off, serving creative takes on classic hot chocolate recipes, from now until February 14. Back for its 13th year, the 2023 festival claims to be larger and more creative than ever before, with local cafés across the city serving up a delicious range of classy and unique treats. We recommend sampling a few of our Greater Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival 2023 winners, featured below! —Julia Dumbrell
Vegan dark hot chocolate, passionfruit, orange, and pink peppercorn are paired to create the Scent of Earth After the Rain hot chocolate from the artisanal KoKo Monk Chocolates. For this year’s festival, the plant-based creation is deliciously paired with a vegan guava caramel praline.
Rich and fabulous, the Funfetti Hot Chocolate from Butter Baked Goods is made with white chocolate, pink whipped cream and a festival of coloured sprinkles on top. This celebration is served with a delicious wedge of the café’s famous Funfetti birthday cake.
If you love cherry, the Cherissimo from West Vancouver’s Casa Mia Cucina Mercato is a must. Bursting with flavour and refined sweetness, the café’s dark hot chocolate is served with a scoop of Amarena cherry gelato.
On West Hastings Street, Boba Run is servinga vegan Korean Jeju mandarin-infused hot chocolate, topped with a citrusy whipped cream and fresh mandarin zest. This speciality hot chocolate, named My Mandarin Squeeze, is served with a white chocolate-dipped slice of dehydrated Jeju mandarin.
The Whisk Matcha Café sets out to transport you from their cosy café to tea farms in Kyoto, via the Hojicha Express hot chocolate: an aromatic oatmilk misto using a specialty-blend of hojicha loose leaf tea and vegan milk chocolate. Visit their Kingsway local for one of the year’s most unique takes on plant-based hot chocolate.
Nelson the Seagull did not disappoint for this year’s festival, serving up the Mooi Melktart (aka Nice Milk Tart), a cinnamon-infused white hot chocolate. Topped with rooibos whipped cream and served with a South African custard milk tart treat, the creation is classy and fragrant.
Go nuts for the Mexican Revolution hot chocolate from the Drive’s Bench Bakehouse, sweetened with brown sugar, almonds and pecans. This dark hot chocolate is paired with their concha bun, or sweet Mexican bread, baked in house and filled with sweet pastry cream.
An ode to creativity with organic white miso paste, cream cheese and Valrhona 35% Blond Dulcey chocolate, the Mi-So Cheesy hot chocolate from Fufú Café is topped with house made miso cheese whipped cream and nori seaweed flakes. Head to South Granville for this particularly bold selection, paired with a classic cheesecake bar covered with Japanese rice cracker bits.