19 of the weirdest flavours to try at the Hot Chocolate Festival this year

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The sweetest time of year in Vancouver is almost upon us: The 8th annual Hot Chocolate Festival takes place over the four weeks leading up to–and including–Valentine’s Day.

All of the participating “Chocstars” have been revealed, along with all 75 of their combined creations. While many don’t stray too far from the traditional route of smooth, sweet, creamy chocolate drinks, others are known to raise the bar and get wild and downright weird.

Mink Chocolates, who have definitely raised a few eyebrows with their creations every January, are still leading the pack of crazy and creative for the 2018 Hot Chocolate Festival. They’re going to be brewing up one sipping chocolate made with donkey’s milk, and another that basically sends up Vancouver’s love of Avocado Toast (yes, in hot cocoa form).

Other ingredients you’ll find on this list of 19 of the wildest, weirdest flavours in the Hot Chocolate Festival this year include beets, tomato, raspberry, vinegar, turmeric, caramelized sunflower, liquid gold, wine, mushrooms (with aphrodisiac properties!), charcoal, popcorn, carrot cake, rosemary, and pretzels.

If you have an adventurous palate, we’ve culled the craziest hot chocolates from the bunch to help you narrow down your choices.

MINK CHOCOLATES

HOT ASS HOT CHOCOLATE
Parisien dark sipping chocolate made with donkey’s milk. Served with animal crackers. Available: January 20 – February 14 (or while supplies last)

TRIXIE IS A HIPSTER
Ganache hot chocolate made with a fresh avocado. Served with Melba toast. Available: January 20 – February 14

Koko Monk Chocolates

COLD TESTAMENT

koko monk hot chocolate festival
Koko Monk Chocolates/Facebook

Pineapple and ginger hot chocolate with apple cider vinegar. Served with a Bailey’s Irish Cream Praline. Available: January 20 – 26

A NONCONFORMIST PLEA FOR AN IMAGINARY SUMMER
Tomato and raspberry white hot chocolate with rose. Served with a dark chocolate-dipped, sun-dried fig. Available: January 27 – February 2

Gem Chocolates

GEM & THE RED BEAN STALK
A red bean hot chocolate. Different and delicious! Served with a red bean brittle stick. Available: February 6 – 12 (No festival participation Feb 13 – 14)

Soirette Pastry Boutique

LIQUID GOLD
Chestnut and caramelized sunflower hot chocolate featuring Cacao Barry Alunga topped with Liquid Gold. Served with a Chocolate Sunflower Truffle. Available: January 20 – February 14

Temper Chocolate and Pastry

MY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION
Tumeric white hot chocolate made with Valrhona’s Ivoire white chocolate and almond milk. Spicy yet smooth. Paired with an all new “Temperbit” – an almond butter, oat energy bite. Available: January 20 – February 14

Trafiq Cafe & Bakery

GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM!
Sweet and condensed milk blended with “Los Beans” coffee extract and 74% Belgian dark chocolate, finished with a lemongrass-lime mousse. Serve with a cinnamon butter cookie. Available: January 27 – February 9

The X Team – James’ Gelato at Mahony & Sons

ERIN’S DELIGHT
A blend of Erin Ireland’s animal product-free, #PBY (plant-based yummy) banana bread and a GLOW Chocolate blend featuring South American mesquite. Served with, of course, a slice of that amazing banana bread. Available: January 20 – 31

SKINNY GIRL
A Canadian combo of BC white wines (Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc), Canada Spring Water and heirloom organic GLOW chocolate with hints of cherry. Served with a delicious GLOW chocolate. Available: February 1- 14

IN THE MOOD
Heirloom Ecuadorian cacao mixed with potent aphrodisiac maca root and cordyceps mushroom – Ceylon cinnamon, organic chili plus romance! Served with a delicious GLOW chocolate. Available: February 1 – 14

East Van Roasters

MAD CAMPER
Charcoal-blackened 70% single-origin Madagascar drinking chocolate sprinkled with smoked salt. Accompanied by a Madagascar chocolate-enrobed, house-made marshmallow. Available: January 20 – February 2

Chocolate Arts

IF YOU CAN’T BEET ‘EM, JOIN ‘EM
A blend of Cacao Barry’s Inaya 65% dark chocolate and beet juice. Earthy and delicious! Served with chocolate-coated beet chips. Available: January 20 – February 14

Chez Christophe

chez christophe hot chocolate festival
Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie/Facebook

OFF THE BEET’N PATH
Made with 34% Zephyr white chocolate and black sesame, then topped with a fresh beet sauce. Served with a financier. Available: January 20 – February 14

AT THE MOVIES
This one pops out – 42% Ecuadorian, single-origin milk chocolate with popcorn-infused whipped cream, corn nut sprinkles and caramel sauce. Paired with chocolate-covered corn nuts. Available: January 20 – February 14

Eternal Abundance Organic Market & Cafe

THAT SALTY ROSEMARY
A salted rosemary hot chocolate. Served with a salted rosemary shortbread. Available: February 1 – 14

HOT CHOCOLATE CHAGA
A house-made, BC wild chaga mushroom-based hot chocolate. Served with a house mix of “superfoods”. Available: January 20 – February 14

Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionery

KNOTEN TO IT
Pretzel-infused, salty, white hot chocolate. Served with a sugared pretzel cookie. Available: February 3 – 9

Bel Café

WASCALLY WABBIT
Carrot cake hot chocolate with Valrhona Dubey 32% blonde chocolate, warm spice and carrot crema. Accompanied by a cream cheese truffle. Available: January 20 – February 14

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Lindsay is the Managing Editor of Vancouver Is Awesome, and the co-host and co-producer of the Vancouver Is Awesome Podcast. A fifth generation Vancouverite and life-long foodie, Lindsay also serves as a judge for the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. Previously the Food Editor of Daily Hive, Senior Editor of Vancity Buzz, and Editor-in-Chief of LAist.com, in her past life in L.A. she earned an MA in English, attended culinary school, and was an English professor. Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancouverisawesome.com // Twitter/Instagram: @squashblossom