Chocoholics are sure to get an unforgettable fix this month as cafes across Calgary get creative with hot cocoa in the second annual YYC Hot Chocolate Festival.
For the month of February, restaurants, cafes, and hotels across the city will craft uniquely delicious hot chocolate recipes exclusively for the event, and then fight for the title of “Calgary’s best hot chocolate 2013.”
The event is designed to raise money for Meals on Wheels.
Meals on Wheels, a non-profit organization that delivers healthy meals to people in need, kicked-off the month-long festival Feb. 1st at Inglewood chocolatier, Choklat.
“It went very well. There were quite a few people,” said Ryan Wenger, who handles the organization’s client sales and marketing.
Participating vendors, which include the Purple Perk, Jelly Modern Doughnuts, and Gravity Espresso and Wine Bar, will donate a portion of the proceeds they receive from their signature hot chocolates to Meals on Wheels.
“None of the recipes are traditional chocolate, milk, and whipped cream. Everyone really gets creative with their specialty hot chocolate because it is a competition,” said Wenger.
Vie Café’s entry is a sumptuous spicy Chile Raspberry Hot Chocolate, while the Sheraton Cavalier Hotel’s Cocoa-Nut Avalanche Hot Chocolate features a decadent blend of chocolate bean, and almond flavoured liqueur.
These are just a few of the hot chocolate flavours Calgarians can enjoy this month.
A full list of participants and flavours can be found at www.yychotchocolate.com.
Calgarians can vote for their favourite hot cocoa online.
At the end of the festival, Meals on Wheels will compile the ratings to crown Calgary’s favorite hot chocolate.
The idea for the festival was sparked by a Meals on Wheels volunteer who had heard of a similar festival in Vancouver.
The event launched for the first time in 2012, and was a huge success.
“We were so thrilled with the positive response from Calgarians,” said Janice Curtice, Meals on Wheels’ executive director, in a media release.
Almost two dozen vendors created signature chocolate drinks for last year’s inaugural event.
“In comparison, Vancouver’s first festival only had seven vendors, so we had done really well,” said Wenger.
The vendor that raised the most money last year, the International Hotel, managed to bring in an impressive $2,100 for Meals on Wheels from selling its Bernard Callebaut Caliente Hot Chocolate.
“That went a long way in helping our clients,” said Wenger.
Due to the success of last year’s event Wenger said that it was a no-brainer to bring back the festival for a second year.
The 2013 competition is set to be even bigger than last year’s.
At this point last year, the festival had fewer vendors than it currently does, Wenger said.
And he is expecting more vendors to sign on as the event gains momentum.
Although many of Meals on Wheels’ clients are seniors, it caters to anyone in need.
The organization also makes over 200 sandwiches a day for the working homeless at the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre.
It also provides hot soup to more than 900 school-kids twice a week. Both of those efforts are subsidized completely by fund-raising events, including YYC Hot Chocolate Festival.