Whether you’re looking for a warm activity to beat the cold or for a cute date idea, the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Fest is the perfect idea. It’s the chance for you to take an adventure across the Vancouver area and try new renditions of hot chocolate!
Vancouver’s Warm Yearly Tradition
If you’re familiar with Dine Out Vancouver, HCF is similar to it. Since 2011, Vancouver has been hosting a Hot Chocolate Fest to promote local businesses and to help people endure the coldest month of the year. As more and more businesses are opening, they are also participating in this yearly event. Many patisseries, cafes, and bakeries join in this fun event.
You might be wondering what the differences are between the cafes’ hot chocolates. In actuality, these cafes make their own original concoction of hot chocolate. The hot chocolates could be infused with berries, flowers, or even chilli flakes. Some places will also offer a little treat to go with the hot chocolate to elevate the flavour.
Although advertised to be in Vancouver, there are locations spread as far as Surrey. However, if your plan is to hop a few cafes in one day, it’s best to go to Downtown Vancouver. The entire event runs from January 15 to February 14, 2022. (If you haven’t planned something for Valentine’s Day, nothing’s more romantic than walking around Vancouver while drinking hot chocolate.)
It’s very important to plan accordingly. Prices and availability between stores will vary. As these hot chocolates are not your ordinary drinks, expect to pay between $7 to $15 for a cup. Some drinks are also only available on weekends at a certain time. On top of that, some shops offer multiple flavours, so be sure to look at the menu so you know what you really want.
CISM Philippines’ Hot Chocolate Fest Picks
There are so many different cafes so it’s understandable if you’re not sure where to start. That’s okay because CISM has a few places to recommend.
- Beaucoup ($5 – $12)
Location: 2150 Fir St, Vancouver
Beaucoup has created some flavours that are a little familiar to the Asian community. You can either pick their strawberry Pocky hot chocolate or one based off of Korean honey butter chips called “Smooth Like Butter.”
- Beta 5 Chocolates ($5 – $12)
Location: 409 Industrial Ave, Vancouver
Beta 5 is offering some unique flavours this year. Most notably, they’re making a flavour that combines Thai curry flavours into hot chocolate. If that’s a little too adventurous for you, there are more common flavours like banana or mint.
- Fife ($5 – $12)
Location: 64 East 3rd Ave, Vancouver
Fife is upping their game with an impressive kind of hot chocolate this year. Their ‘Goddess in a Cloud’ is an absolute must-try as it combines Oolong tea and chocolate. You can grab one of their artisan breads while you’re there too.
- Glenburn Soda Fountain ($5 – $12)
Location: 4090 Hastings Street, Burnaby
Glenburn throws back to old-time diners, with candies and milkshakes, but they’re here for the Hot Chocolate Fest. They have really cool combinations like butterfly pea tea and white hot chocolate or you can get a classic coffee and ganache chocolate mix.
- Swiss Bakery ($5 – $12)
Location: 143 East 3rd Ave, Vancouver
Swiss Bakery is one of the many cafes that offer vegan hot chocolate. Their dark chocolate nutty drink is the perfect choice for people who are straying away from animal products or have other dietary limitations.
Dealing with Covid and Supply Shortages
Due to Covid restrictions, many of the cafes have reduced their service to take-out only. So another thing you might need is a walking route. It’s a great way to sightsee in Vancouver since the city is surrounded by nature.
Also with the flood and snowstorms recently, Vancouver has been hit hard with a supply shortage. Be ready to switch your choice if the store you’re at doesn’t have some of the ingredients for a certain hot chocolate.
Vancouver has so many local treasures, it would be a shame to miss out on them. No better way to do so than to participate in the Hot Chocolate Fest. As always, respect the store’s rules and follow Vancouver’s health orders. Bon Appetit!