This year marked the 4th year of the Hot Chocolate Festival in Vancouver. I noticed the event the first year (2011) but it didn’t make an impact on me. I was away in 2012. And last year, I was just settling back into being back. This year, no excuses! Although 20 vendors were offering 60 flavours, I could and had to limit myself to the vendors that did not require a special trip: Bel Cafe and Thierry are plausible coffee/lunch breaks from work, Terra Breads is in the vicinity of my apartment and I’ve long wanted to check out The Last Crumb.
I feel the worst about our Bel Cafe experience and it had nothing to do with the cafe itself. A work colleague and I made a late dash across the street to Bel and I was torn between extending my break or just return to work and tying up loose ends and leaving at the usual hour.
Bel Cafe is so small and busy you can just assume there is no available seating except at this high communal table that is right at the door. So we ordered the Hot Chocolate Festival special to go. I quickly ascertained from the menu that their Hot Chocolate Festival offering price was the sum of the a la carte prices of hot chocolate and a Valrhona chocolate chunk cookie. While people who got a seat were served their hot chocolate in glass double-wall cups we had to put a lid on the whipped cream and mint leaf. The crazy good cookie kind of overshadowed the hot chocolate.
For my Thierry visit, it was planned better. I invited BIL’s girlfriend to meet me around lunch hour so I could spend an hour and savour Thierry’s offering. And it turned out that NPY was downtown for the day and able to spend some time with us, too!
I was already looking forward to a trio of chocolate but Thierry delivered more than even they indicated on the Hot Chocolate Festival website. The trio consists of (1) a disk of chocolate, (2) drinking chocolate and (3) white chocolate ice cream. There was no indication that a beautiful cream puff would appear with delicious hazelnut filling!
It seemed to me like everyone had on a visit to Main Street shops stopped in The Last Crumb except for me and NPY, and we lived the closest! So we packed up our books and head there for lunch and to study one Sunday afternoon. We weren’t the only ones studying on their upper level but the only ones indulging in hot chocolate because it was a pricey drink! The hot chocolate itself was thinner and lightly citrus-flavoured. The citrus marshmallow was fun to play with and melt and added to the creaminess.
That rapsberry chocolate cake was not part of the Hot Chocolate Festival and it pushed me over for sweet stuff!
I had an opportunity to squeeze one more hot chocolate in. NPY wasn’t going to join me again but I arranged to meet my cousin after work at Terra where I ordered their hot chocolate cheekily named Call Me a Cab because of the Cabarnet that is used. It was primarily a spicy-tasting hot chocolate that was appropriate in thickness. It was also reasonably priced compared to the other hot chocolates I previously enjoyed.
Arranging hot chocolate dates was girlfriends was a nice aspect of the Hot Chocolate Festival so although I thought I didn’t need to participate next year, I will still want to keep in touch with friends. So, I’ll be back!