I meant to post this earlier but hopefully there is enough time left for you to go and check it out. Last month, I found out that the 2nd Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival was taking place from January 14 to February 14. The festival is exactly what you think it is. A group of Vancouver's top chocolate makers offer special versions of their hot chocolate to raise funds for the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre. The list of flavours are endless and come in dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate and even non-dairy. Some standout ones include orange blossom flower, Italian honey nougat with roasted hazelnut and match with yuzu marshmallow.
My first reaction was: There was a hot chocolate festival last year? How did I not know this?
My second reaction was: I have to go. Have. To. Go.
But I'm a lazy chocoholic and none of the participants were within a 10-minute drive radius. So I bided my time and waited for my opportunity to come. Finally, I received an invite to try out the Dine-out Vancouver 2012 menu at a restaurant across town (post to come later) and I quickly googled the area.
Success! Three options were close by but I went with Thomas Haas. It IS ranked number one on Urbanspoon and my birthday cake last year from them was just too fantastic.
I dropped by the store before dinner and found it tucked away in an inconspicuous little spot along Broadway. It was packed even though it was half an hour before closing and people were still coming in when I left.
Despite being tempted by the other flavours they offered, I went with one of my favourite flavours: Classic Hot Chocolate with Soft Caramel and Fleur de Sel. It was served with two warm Chocolate Sparkle Cookies which brought the right amount of sweetness to the saltiness of the hot chocolate.
Contrary to expectations, the soft caramel and fleur de del were not infused into the liquid but were used as toppings. This in no way negatively affected the flavour but actually enhances the experience by layering in different textures. The soft caramel cream was cool against the warmth of the liquid and the bits of sel were crunchy pops of flavour. The hot chocolate was so rich and creamy that it just slid down my throat like molten gold. You barely finish one sip before wanting to take the next again and again until the cup is empty.
At this point, if you are still not convinced, then there is nothing I can help you with. However, for all others, quickly go to City Food Magazine to find out where you can get a cup of heaven.