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On Thursday January 31st at South Centre Mall there was the annual YYC Hot Chocolate Fest Launch Party. In the central area of the mall, there were 12 tables set up and a bunch of people setting up. When we headed down to the area, we found that this year they decided to create two lines with six vendors. The two lines would significantly speed up the process so more people could funnel through and sample the six vendors.

We were first in line, that way we would be able to talk with each of the vendors while trying their hot chocolate. Thankfully because we were there early, we were able to talk to each of the vendors before we even sampled. The vendors participating this year were The Restaurant at Lougheed House, Cafe Milano, Regal Cat Cafe, Good Mood Brewery, Family Squeezed Lemonade, and Waves Coffee House. We were able to talk to five of the six vendors before starting. Unfortunately Lougheed House was running a little late.

The samples are small but you get a little taste of what the hot chocolate tastes like. If you enjoy the sample then you can head to their location and try a full hot chocolate.

Cafe Milano – Cioccolata Calda

Our hot chocolate is made in the best Italian tradition with real melted chocolate and whole milk. The result is a chocolatey and creamy drink that warms the soul!

This is a classic hot chocolate that was nothing fancy. However, the flavor was amazing, creamy and outstanding. They wanted to stick to there roots. It was refreshing to have such a classic hot chocolate. I was quite impressed because I usually like the weirder and more creative hot chocolates. Very well done. Sure to be a favourite.

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The Restaurant at Lougheed House – The Senator’s Hot Chocolate

Our Scottish roots inspired our Hot Chocolate recipe. We choose Drambuie from the Isle of Skye as the spirit to enhance our creation. We topped our delicious concoction with Chantilly cream, ground cinnamon  and mint.

They were offering a plain hot chocolate today, since they couldn’t serve with Scotch Liquor at the event. Very hot with it being the first hot chocolate, it burnt my tongue.

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Regal Cat Cafe – Ragdoll Hot Chocolate

Regal Cat Café’s Ragdoll Hot Chocolate is a delicious blend of our Ragdoll Chai Tea (locally made in Calgary by Tearrific!) infused with steamed milk and white chocolate sauce, and topped with a cinnamon paw. It can be made in milk alternatives however the white chocolate sauce contains dairy.

Regal Cat Cafe’s hot chocolate is White Chai Cinnamon Hot Chocolate. The flavours blended very nicely and it was not overly sweet, not too much cinnamon. It was a really good hot chocolate.

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Good Mood Brewery – Malt Hot Chocolate

Our malted hot cocoa   is made with milk, cocoa, and the same malted barley we use in our beer. A   simple ode to the delicious flavour of malt, topped with a giant marshmallow!

They use their malt that they use in their beers but it is processed differently. They had said that it tastes like a malteser, it did and it was very delicious. We really enjoyed this one. Big kudos for originality.

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Family Squeezed Lemonade – Cookie Monster Hot Chocolate

C is for cookie. Chocolate. Cravings. Community. Our Cookie Monster Hot Chocolate is definitely cookie monster approved. We start with a cookie crumbled rimmed cup and a base of our creamiest, tea infused, milk chocolate. This is topped with whipped cream, sprinkles and cookie crumbles. Best of all, we adorn it with a skewer of our Cookie Monster Edible Cookie Dough Balls and a Cookie Monster approved snack on top!

This hot chocolate is very sweet, they use a sweet tea infused with hot chocolate. The cookie dough ball was very good and it is a very good addition to the hot chocolate. There is cotton candy on their hot chocolate as well, it is such a cool invention again this year.

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Waves Coffee House – Eastern Sun

The Eastern Sun is a turmeric and dark chocolate drink. Made from Belgian dark chocolate chips and our Golden Turmeric Elixir, topped with whip cream and garnished with a crystallized ginger slice. The health and healing qualities of the turmeric combined with the rich dark chocolate provides you with the warmth of both the drink and that little zing of ginger finish. This drink is best with milk but is also great as a vegan friendly drink with the choice of almond or coconut milk.

This hot chocolate is very healthy with the combination of tumeric and spices. The hot chocolate has very interesting flavour. I feel the flavour was very balanced between the spices and hot chocolate, nothing overpowered any other flavour.

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After we sampled the hot chocolate we sat and watched some people go through the line. We asked a small sample of 21 people which was their favourite after the sampling and most of them replied with Cafe Milano.

Before we left we had a quick chat with the Meals On Wheels Organizers and they are so excited about the caliber of the beverages this year.

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