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January 11, 2013
The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival is Back!


Vancouverites love their chocolate.  Our city boasts some of the best chocolatiers on the planet, and now ...

The VANCOUVER HOT CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL returns for its 3rd year!
January 19 - February 14, 2013

Taking place at cafes, chocolate shops and bakeries across the city, the Vancouver Festival was the first and largest of its kind in North America, and most likely, the world!


WHAT'S NEW :

Joining the 23 participants for the first time this year is Beaucoup Bakery, Chocolate Arts and Soirette Macarons & Tea.  Also new, Vancouver-based Blenz Coffee will be joining the Festival's' Food Artisan Support Program' by sponsoring local small food producers at two of their cafes.  Along with hot chocolate drinks created just for the Festival, Blenz Alma will be featuring custom-ordered chocolate bars created by Chef Wendy Boys' Cocolico Chocolates. While Blenz Thurlow will be serving sweet meringue cookies infused with flavours from the Bittered Sling Collection by mixologist Lauren Mote and Chef Jonathan Chovancek of Kale & Nori Culinary Arts.

And for the first time, the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival is welcoming a satellite participant. Reubens Chocolates of Port Moody will make their Festival creations available to hot chocolate lovers living outside the City of Vancouver.

French Made Baking, Leonidas Chocolates, The Juice Truck and Bel Cafe are just four of the 14 participant vendors returning from last year. See them starring in the Festival's new VIDEO.


WHAT'S FUN :


With over 60 flavours to choose from, it's going to take at least a month to try them all. Although one dedicated festival goer has sworn to sample them all in one day. That's impressive, but so is the creativity on display in the 2013 lineup.  Some of the edgiest hot chocolates include: 

* Terra Breads'  "Stand Up and Stout"  - a chocolate drink blended with R&B Brewing Stout and topped with beer-flavoured marshmallows.

* Soirette Macarons & Tea's  "The King's Cup" is a rockabilly combo of peanut butter and banana - an ode to Elvis.

* Chocolate Arts'  "When Pigs Fly" hot chocolate will come adorned with bacon-flavoured marshmallows.

* And Cocoa Nymph's "The Ayala" is a jasmine-tinted hot chocolate with juniper or gin-like marshmallows.

* Beaucoup Bakery's "Burning Clove" suggests a smoky love poem to chocolate.

* While Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France's "Rose of Ecuador" kisses Ecuadorian chocolate with the juice of crushed rose petals.

* Thomas Haas Chocolates' "The Lumberjack" will be crafted with hot chocolate infused with maple syrup that's been aged in Bourbon barrels. 

* And Bella Gelateria's  "The Gold Medal" will be a pecan and maple syrup-flavoured hot chocolate based on the gelato that earned owner James Coleridge 1st place at last years International Gelato Festival in Italy.


But no worries if you are a chocolate purist. Many of the vendors will also be offering serving at least one drink made with unflavoured, hi-cocoa content chocolate only.  Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe's "One in a Million", for example, will be made from Maranon, the world's rarest chocolate.

Some hot chocolates can even claim to be healthy, such as Gem Chocolate's "BC Blue Booster" - a blend of high anti-oxidant content cocoa and blueberries.  While Schokolade Artisan Chocolate's "Mount Fuji" combination of chocolate, ginger and matcha might well ward off a visit from the seasonal flu bug. The Juice Truck will specialize in non-dairy hot chocolate drinks for those who are lactose intolerant, and most vendors will gladly substitute dairy for coconut, soy milk or almond milk on request.


WHAT'S MORE:


Regardless of flavour, all drinks are guaranteed to be deliciously photogenic, and in that light, festival goers are invited to enter photos of their drinks to an online TweetUp contest that could earn the lucky winner gift certificates from all participating vendors. It's a $500 VALUE and a great way to extend the Festival throughout the year.

For the festival-goer's dollars, all drinks will come with extra goodies that either reflect each shop's culinary specialty or were made by supplier partners such as Erin Ireland's To Die For Banana Bread and Beta 5 Chocolates. Partial funds from all Festival sales will be donated to restaurateur Mark Brand's new charity project,  A Better Life Foundation, a project that aims to create a self-sustaining meal program for people in assisted living and low-income housing on Vancouver's  Downtown Eastside.


Yes, the lights of Christmas are gone and it's going to be a long grey stretch until spring, but If anything can banish the chilly gloom of January, this cheerful Festival can.
After all, it's a scientifically proved fact that  "CHOCOLATE MAKES YOU HAPPY."


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LINKS and WHERE TO GET MORE INFORMATION:


WEBSITE: All information including quick guides to the drinks by vendor, date, flavour (and soon, maps), can be accessed via:
www.cityfood.com/events/hotchocolate

VIDEO:  http://vimeo.com/57020845# (or at website link above.)

FACEBOOK: Festival news and updates will be posted at  /CityFoodMagazine

TWITTER: Twitter hashtag: #HotChocolateFest

POSTER: poster

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