The 11th annual Meals on Wheels YYC Hot Chocolate Fest is happening February 1 to 28, and with more than 90 different hot chocolate creations to choose from, this year’s festival promises to be the biggest and most diverse hot chocolate event Calgary has seen to date.
In addition to being a delicious way to celebrate our local cafes, restaurants, breweries and chocolatiers, each participating location will also donate a portion of proceeds to Calgary Meals on Wheels programs to help provide nutritious meals to those in need,
Although there are obviously more than 10 must-try hot chocolates to check out during the month-long festival, we’ve comprised a list of interesting options to help you get started.
From a deconstructed Italian hot chocolate from Cravings Market to a hyper-local vegan libation from For Goodness Bake, to a creative pistachio-based beverage from Fonda Fora, here are some of the most interesting hot chocolate options to try during YYC Hot Chocolate Fest.
As the winner of last year’s “Best Spirited Hot Chocolate”, Cravings Market has created another sure contender for this year’s crown with the Crema Di Arachidi Cioccolato.
The deconstructed Italian hot chocolate is made with fresh roasted peanuts, hot caramel-peanut sauce, salted peanut and caramel whipped cream, and Cadello 88, along with a salted caramel éclair roll accompaniment.
Fonda Fora - Pistachi-o-Paradise
From its marshmallow whipped cream top to its vanilla bean and pistachio-infused syrup, Fonda Fora’s Pistachi-o-Paradise truly has it all.
This highly creative hot chocolate beverage also comes complete with chocolate syrup steamed with 2 per cent, oak, or soy milk, along with a generously-portioned crumbled pistachio topping, a masa-based gluten-free cookie on the side, and the option to add dark rum and green chartreuse to tie it all together.
For Goodness Bake - The Local Smokeshow
For Goodness Bake’s aptly-named Local Smokeshow features a hyper-local collection of dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan ingredients that range from a salted peanut butter cup from Hear Me Raw and a scoop of Campfire Vanilla Twist Vice Cream from Cookie Mama to a skewered slice of Smokey Maple Bacun from Veghammer and a Mini Frenchie Cookie from The Preachy Vegan Chef.
Inner City Brewing - Oh, Snap!
If you prefer a bit more body in your hot beverages, Inner City Brewing’s Oh, Snap! features a rich and flavourful fusion of its Road Home Gingersnap porter along with almond milk, syrup, marshmallow cream, and candied ginger for a beautifully balanced finish.
Lina’s Italian Market - Cristalli
Lina’s Italian Market has developed a modern, elegant, and innovative hot chocolate made with melted chocolate and a thick house-made balsamic-brown sugar syrup. If that wasn't creative enough on its own, the Cristalli is finished off with a fluffy whipped cream and a sprinkling of balsamic candied crystals that melt into the beverage when stirred.
Monki Breakfast Club and Bistro - Cinnamon Toast Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate’s are inherently nostalgic, so why not go one step further with the Cinnamon Toast Crunch-inspired offering from Monki Bistro?
Made with hot chocolate, cinnamon toast-cereal milk, caramel drizzle and topped with whipped cream, cereal crumbles, and a half cinnamon bun, this nostalgic libation is like a delicious portal to simpler times.
Monogram Coffee - Sesame Oat Hot Chocolate
If you’re not a fan of the frills and would prefer something simple, yet deliciously satisfying to sip on, look no further than Monogram Coffee’s Sesame Oat Hot Chocolate.
Monogram’s hot chocolate is made with dark chocolate, creamy sesame, cinnamon, vanilla, and caramelized honey, then steamed with oat milk and topped with a toasted Made by Marcus marshmallow.
The Nash - The Hot Pink Jigarthanda
The Nash and Off Cut Bar are doing a decidedly different interpretation of hot chocolate than the rest on our list and we are definitely here for it. The Hot Pink Jigarthanda is an adaptation of a famous celebratory drink found in Southern India made with pink hot chocolate, rose water, candied nuts, vanilla, cream, a selection of fine spices, and the option to add a generous serving of Ruby Port.
Regrub - Dulce De Leche Hot Chocolate Spoon Bomb
While it may potentially wind up being the messiest drinking experience on our list, Regrub’s Dulce De Leche Hot Chocolate Spoon Bomb could very well be the most fun you’ll have with a hot chocolate during YYC Hot Chocolate Fest.
The immersive coffee-based creation comes complete with a creamy dulce-dripped rim, fluffy marshmallows, melted chocolate, and a “spoon bomb” as a creative conduit to ignite the experience.
Ten Degrees Chocolate - The Castaway Spirit
With a noticeable absence of banana-based beverages available during this year’s festival, Ten Degrees Chocolate should be a go-to destination for all the banana-lovers out there.
Made with in-house bean-to-bar dark chocolate, coconut, banana, and coconut milk, along with the option to add an ounce of banana liqueur and a coconut banana brulee, The Castaway Spirit is definitely a must-try.