YYC Hot Chocolate Fest Summary

Sorry that I haven’t been posting about our adventures as often, we had a lot happening in February with YYC Hot Chocolate Fest, and a lot that happened personally.  Since my last post we actually visited nine more locations during the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest.  I thought I would summarize and let you know what our favourites were.

Shortly after visiting Tea Factory we visited one of our favourite local cafes, Red Bush, for their entry of YYC Hot Chocolate Fest.  Last year’s entry was one of my wife’s absolute favourites, so she was very excited to visit and see what their creation was.  Their Hot Chocolate was called Mayan Magic, it featured a cream puff, homemade caramel, and a light dusting of cracked pepper.  It definitely did not disappoint my wife, she absolutely loved it.  I quite enjoyed it myself.

The following week we visited Rosso, where we tried their Marble Magic Hot Chocolate.  It was a combination of Milk Chocolate and White Chocolate with a dusting of Toasted Coconut on the whipped cream.  It was very tasty.

We then visited Luke’s Drug Mart to try their Madagascar Dark Drinking Chocolate.  This was a very interesting drink to say the least.  Literally we received a shot glass of pure liquid chocolate with a dollop of creamy Chèvre goats cheese.  It was gritty hot chocolate, it was very unique.

Next up, Caffe Artigiano with their Salted Cara-Mellow Hot Chocolate.  It is always a treat to go downtown to this location.  When the barista was completed the drink she handed the whipped cream, caramel, and chocolate dusting to me.  I got to put whatever amount of each I wanted on my drink, I got so excited that she knew who I was, but then I realized that she was letting everyone who ordered their hot chocolate do the same.  I guess this way you can make it however sweet you would like with the caramel.

Near the middle of February we visited Bowness’ Light Cellar.  This was a very interesting experience.  We walked in to a bar where you can get food and beverages all using the products they sell in their mini mart.  Light Cellar won last year’s YYC Hot Chocolate Fest, so we had high expectations of the beverage we were about to receive.  It was absolutely amazing.  My daughter loved it, the matcha was very flavourful and the chocolate rimming the glass was a lovely touch.

We found ourselves in the North East the following weekend where we tried Fiasco Gelato’s Red Velvet Drinking Chocolate.  Their hot chocolate has always been a favourite in our family, so adding Red Velvet anything would be absolutely amazing.  They just added a marshmallow that was coated in Red Velvet cake, which made the hot chocolate have chunks in it.  Both my wife and daughter found it difficult to drink with these chunks, but the flavours were very good and it was a great idea.

Next we headed down to Kensington where we visited Higher Ground to try their two entries, one spiked, Spiked Orange White Hot Chocolate, and their Salted Caramel and Coconut Cocoa. The Spiked Orange White Hot Chocolate is absolutely amazing, the best way to explain what it tastes like is “Terry’s Chocolate Orange on Crack”.  It has an absolute warmth about it when you are enjoying this adult beverage. The Salted Caramel and Coconut Cocoa has a great flavour, but you cannot really taste the Salted Caramel, it has more of a coconut flavour.  It kind of reminds me of a Bounty Chocolate Bar.  Higher Ground has definitely done a great job on their flavour combinations.  I believe their Spiked Hot Chocolate will do very well in the grand scheme of everything.

The next weekend my wife and I visited Boxcar Cafe to try their IXcacao Hot Chocolate, which was Hot Chocolate with a kick.  The lady told my wife that the drink was going to be spicy, but it was a nice spice, not to bad.  It was one of my wife’s favourites that she had.

The following week we found ourselves at the Bridgeland Market trying their Peppered Petals and Cocoa beverage.  We had tried to come down here a previous week and when we arrived they were all out of the Peppered Petals, so we made a point that we would be back.  Before we came down we gave them a call to confirm that they had everything.  The drink was different in a way that they made the hot chocolate with rose water, it really added a level of flavour.  Besides the cracked pink peppercorns on the top, both my daughter and wife really enjoyed these hot chocolates.

As February drew to a close, we decided on the last night we had to go back to one of our favourites, Red Bush, and have another of their hot chocolates.  We went just before closing and they let us stick around after the shop had closed so we could finish our drinks.  I have to say that in all the time we have been doing this, Red Bush is the only place that has never asked us to leave when the cafe has closed.  We got to chat with the owner and asked where she was sitting in the running of YYC Hot Chocolate Fest, and she said second and asked us to vote if we enjoyed our beverages.

Last year during YYC Hot Chocolate Fest we only got to visit eight locations, this year when you include the launch we attended we tried 23 different drinks.

I think one suggestion that we came up with is similar to the launch, having different places featured at the Calgary Farmers Market each weekend so people can try their creations.

After the 28 days these are our Top Five Hot Chocolates;

  1. Red Bush- Mayan Magic
  2. Bridgeland Market- Peppered Petals and Cocoa
  3. Box Car- IXcacao Hot Chocolate
  4. Analog- Corbeaux Hot Chocolate
  5. Tea Factory- Matcha Made in Heaven

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After 28 days of the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest, over 2650 ratings were collected, and more than 20,000 hot chocolate were sold, and more than $35,000 was raised.

Calgary’s Best Hot Chocolate

  • Winner: The Bean Stop – Taj Mahal Hot Chocolate (unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to try this beverage this year)
  • First Runner Up: Red Bush – Mayan Magic (Our Favourite)
  • Second Runner Up: Light Cellar – White Chocolate Matcha Kiss (this was a very good hot chocolate)

Calgary’s Best Spirited Hot Chocolate

  • Winner: Vendome – Aztec Hot Chocolate (we didn’t get the chance to try this one, but heard it was delicious)
  • First Runner Up: Eaglequest Golf Course – Canadian Maple Whiskey Hot Chocolate (we tried this at the launch without the whiskey and it was delicious)
  • Second Runner Up: Midtown Kitchen – Amaretto Float (sounds interesting)

The Cup that Runneth Over Award (most Hot Chocolates Sold)

  • Winner: Euphoria Cafe – 1605 Hot Chocolates Sold (they sold over 57 a day… amazing! they also won this award last year)
  • First Runner Up: Higher Ground – 1520 Hot Chocolates Sold (they sold over 54 a day)
  • Second Runner Up: Rosso Coffee Roasters – 1720 Hot Chocolate Sold between five locations