HOT CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL PT 2
The hot chocolate festival continues now to February. The 3rd annual hot chocolate festival explores many culinary establishments competing in the city for the best hot chocolate in Vancouver. I already hit up some of these places last month, however, since they had other flavors to offer, they were worthy of a repeat visit.
Schokolade Café @ 2263 Hastings = I came here for the hot chocolate festival as it was one of establishments that opened late enough that I could make it during the week, a good cap to a long work week. The shop is very cute and inviting with a color scheme of different tones of brown. I found the lady at the til to be very sweet and friendly to both my girlfriend and I. We arrived closer to their closing time and she was still friendly enough to ensure that we had awesome service. I traded sips with my girlfriend so that I could experience both entries for my chocolate blog. I had the "MOUNT FUJI" which is 36% white chocolate with fresh ginger and matcha served with four pieces of artisan chocolate. This white chocolate based hot chocolate, although sweet (as white chocolate naturally is), was down played enough so that I didn't feel as though I had a cavity assault. Real ginger was used which was appreciated. Other than the pale green color I didn't even notice the matcha at all. The hot chocolate was light unlike the last white chocolate festival creation I had at LEONIDAS in which I felt I was going to have a heart attack. I can give points for creativity, however, it feel short on showcasing the main notes as intended. Even though the ginger was fresh and sharp, it wasn't infused with the white chocolate base which in most sips disappeared with me. I had the following chocolates: vegan raspberry, pomegranate, orange creme and mango jalapeno (yes you heard me). All the flavors in my mouth were a symphony that desperately craved an encore. My girlfriend had the "SWEET N' SINFUL" 100% B.C. wild flower honey with 100% dark chocolate. Served with four pieces of artisan chocolate. I didn't taste any honey at all, just dark chocolate. I forgot what chocolates she got, however, she raved about the salted caramel one. The prices for their chocolates were very reasonable. Each cup was $11.20
French Made Bakery @ 81 Kingsway = Any excuse to hit up my favorite macaroon place. The prime reason is that they had another flavor on deck which was the Earl Grey Tea hot chocolate. I am familiar with that combination as I have made many fine pastries over the years using Earl Grey and chocolate. My famous was the cupcake I made my ex boyfriend’s grandmother, the same recipe that won a cupcake competition. The hot chocolate was nothing that blew me out of the water, however, it was a comfort combination more than anything. There was more imagination in their previous week’s entry of citrus rum hot chocolate. As for the macaroons, they were as good as I remembered. My date and I shared a table with a really sweet guy named Andy whom was nice enough to indulge me in hot chocolate talk. Who says Vancouver is not friendly? Cost $12.42 (with 6 pieces of macaroons).
Soirette @ 1433 West Pender = I came back for round two since my date couldn’t have peanuts and I wanted to try their desserts. This time they had white chocolate matcha. The white chocolate was nicely balanced, not too sweet, however, could barely taste the matcha tea at all. In fact it was washed away. It went down smooth and light, however, I just wasn’t feeling the entry. Even though Schokolade’s version earlier in the week did little to impress me at least they added a ginger twist to the mix. I came back specifically to try their macaroons since they had such a colorful display and unique flavors, however, this failed for me. Their macaroons were very dry for what they were supposed to be. I liked my mango black pepper macaroon as it was nicely balanced and my date really loved the maple one. I came back for the rose panna cotta, however, I could tell at first bite that it had been sitting for some time since the panna cotta part was rubbery rather than smooth and silky as it should be. Than again I don’t expect them to be the best panna cotta in the city, that title is still held by Yaletown L'Antipasto.
Secret Location @ 1 Water Street = My GF had the "APHRODITE": Nyangbo and parsnip hot chocolate, topped with whipped chocolate ganache and parsnip milk jam. The presentation for her drink was really awesome. It came in an empty glass with a fine net made out of chocolate that disintegrated when the hot chocolate was poured in. They win first place with me in terms of presentation. The flavor notes were subtle, however, they were there if you knew what to look for. It wasn't sweet at all which was awesome considering that with the other entries, some being cavity assaults, it was refreshing to have hot chocolate that didn't need to be too sweet. They were confident in their presentation and ingredients enough to not have to go there. My selection was the "LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS" Smoked cinnamon mocha with chocolate marshmallows and caramel powder. I am not a mocha person, however, I could tell that they used quality coffee and in combination with the cinnamon and chocolate it worked very well together. Like my GF's drink this was almost unsweetened which worked in their flavor and showed confidence in their ingredients. The brownie was dense like a candy bar and very rich with high quality cocoa.