Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Hot Chocolate Festival 2018

The Tipsy Unicorn | Soirette Pastry Boutique
We are halfway through this year's Hot Chocolate festival and there have been some real winners. Most of the flavours I tried were milk or dark chocolate based because I find white chocolate to be a little too sweet. I wanted to try some of the more unique flavours like the buttered popcorn and carrot cake. Others I wanted to try purely for the visual like the magical unicorn and mini birthday cake. I am going to go in the order that I tasted the hot chocolates.

The first one I got to try was the "At the Movies" an intriguing creation by Chez Christophe. I think they truly achieved the movie popcorn taste. The 42% Ecuadorian single-origin milk chocolate was was a great choice as it really allowed the popcorn-infused whip cream to shine. Plus milk chocolate is super creamy and worked well with the butteriness of the popcorn. The hot chocolate was rounded out with corn nut sprinkles and a decadent gooey caramel sauce. The accompaniment was chocolate covered corn nuts which I loved! It was the most satisfying crunch ever and I think chocolate covered corn nuts should become a regular at Chez Christophe. 

Bel Café's Wascally Wabbit is probably the most interesting creation for 2018. Honestly Bel Café just did an extraordinary job and really captured the essence of carrot cake. The bright orange whip cream tasted like freshly grated carrots and the 32% Valrhona Dubey blonde chocolate was rich and worked well with the warm spices. The hot chocolate had pieces of nuts or whole spices, I am not sure, but it brought another great texture. Plus the cream cheese truffle - I could have a 100 more of them! Basically the perfect tangy cream cheese frosting in truffle form and the best friend to carrot cake. Unfortunately for all of us, the Wascally Wabbit was only available until February 2nd, but they are now serving Pretty in Pink which I am sure also tastes magnificent. 

I have a lot of memories at Butter Baked Goods from when I was in high school, so they are always on my list of must visits during the festival. The Birthday Wishes is just a comforting vanilla hot chocolate with pink tinted whip cream, rainbow sprinkles and an itty bitty slice of birthday cake. I wish the cake was a bit bigger because it was so miniature that it hardly was even a single bite. I also had the Raspberry Pavlova which was a dark chocolate with vanilla whip cream, raspberry meringue and dehydrated raspberries. The dark chocolate was a little too strong and the bitterness masked the raspberry. I think the addition of the dehydrated raspberries is what saved this hot chocolate for me because they were these little bursts of flavour. 

If you follow me on my Instagram (@PinkTeaLatte) you have probably been patiently waiting for me to spill the tea on Soirette Pastry Boutique. I had gone in to try the highly-instagrammable Tipsy Unicorn hot chocolate. Unfortunately for me, their front staff had quite the attitude and her rudeness just completely ruined the experience for me. Despite their hot chocolates being very good, I could only stomach a quarter of the drink before ditching it on the counter and leaving. It is uncomfortable to have someone glaring at you the entire time, especially considering I went there and spent my hard earned money only to feel unwelcome. 

Since then the owner has reached out to me and apologized on behalf of her staff and agrees that the behaviour was unacceptable and not what Soirette stands for. I frankly had no intention of ever returning, but I sincerely appreciate the genuine apology from Soirette and I really respect that. It is tough being a business owner and you cannot always be there to manage your staff. There was more to the story that ultimately pushed me over the edge, but I no longer feel the same way about Soirette and will actually be returning very soon because their stuff is DELICIOUS!

Oh and both of Soirette's hot chocolates tasted as amazing as they looked. The Tipsy Unicorn is the cutest design. The addition of strawberry peach Schnapps made the cacao barry zephyr hot chocolate a little boozy and brought another depth of flavour to the fruity hot chocolate. I LOVED THE NEON PINK HORN! Their second creation was the Liquid Gold which literally looked like molten yellow gold. It was a rich chestnut and caramelized sunflower hot chocolate that reminded me of Nutella. 

My final stop was La Glace and I went specifically for the Volcan De Glace, a molten hot chocolate cake that comes with a scoop of their Crême de la Crême and a ginger meringue kiss. I had really high expectations for this hot chocolate especially since they tried to be unique by doing a cake. The texture was like a very thick ganache and overall not very pleasant. The only saving grace was the scoop of their signature vanilla ice cream -  Crême de la Crême - so I would say skip the Volcan De Glace and stick to the ice creams. While we were there, we gave the Cocoa Goûter a taste too. It was a really good cup of hot chocolate, but nothing special. I did enjoy the Nutella brioche petite pain that came with it and it looked adorable. 

My favourite hot chocolates were the Wascally Wabbit and At the Movies because it takes a lot of skill to capture a difficult flavour in a hot chocolate. Definitely are a must try for me! The most beautiful hot chocolates were hands down from Soirette because come on - hot pink unicorns and liquid gold. Butter Baked Goods is good, but the flavours just were not balanced. La Glace was the biggest disappoint for me and completely missed the mark. 

Let me know in the comments below what hot chocolates you have tried and which ones you loved and which ones were misses for you. 

BYES

Wascally Wabbit | Bel Café 

At the Movies | Chez Christophe

Raspberry Pavlova | Butter Baked Goods
Liquid Gold | Soirette Pastry Boutique
Cocoa Goûter | La Glace
Volcan De Glace | La Glace
Birthday Wishes | Butter Baked Goods

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