Hot chocolate is a quintessential winter drink, and it gets its moment in the spotlight during the annual YYC Hot Chocolate Fest. From February 1 to 28, you can order special hot chocolate creations (including some spirited hot chocolates) at businesses around the city, and then rate your favourite ones online. At the end of the month, the winners of Calgary’s best hot chocolate, Calgary’s best spirited hot chocolate and the Cup Runneth Over Award will be announced. Last year, Calgarians had 90 hot chocolate drinks to choose from, and in the end, The Bean Stop took home the title of best hot chocolate and Vendome Cafe took home the title for best spirited hot chocolate.
This year, there are dozens of new hot chocolate creations to try. But the best reason to try one? When you buy a hot chocolate from one of the participating businesses, local non-profit Calgary Meals on Wheels will benefit from some of the proceeds.
Here are some of the drinks you can try during YYC Hot Chocolate Fest this year
A made-in-house marshmallow is the perfect finishing touch for this gluten-free hot chocolate from Cornerstone Music Cafe. Consider stopping by to try it on one of the nights where the cafe has live music.
139 14919 Deer Ridge Dr. S.E., 403-278-3070, cornerstonemusic.ca
Head to the Fairmont Palliser’s Oak Room Lounge to get your hand on this spiked hot chocolate, which is served in a cup rimmed with chocolate and crushed waffle cone pieces.
133 9 Ave. S.W., 403-262-1234, fairmont.com
This is not your conventional hot chocolate. Family Squeezed’s white hot chocolate root beer float is topped with everything from a popsicle to cotton candy.
Family Squeezed at CrossIron Mills, 261055 Crossiron Blvd., Rocky View; Milk Milk Lemonade at Local Flavour, Southcentre Mall, 100 Anderson Rd. S.E.; familysqueezedlemonade.com
The Hyatt Regency isn’t fooling around with its spiked hot chocolate. In addition to milk chocolate, the drink features kahlua, cayenne and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire.
700 Centre St. S.E., 403-717-1234, calgary.regency.hyatt.com
Milk Milk Lemonade, one of Family Squeezed’s sister companies, is offering up a white hot chocolate that looks like it has a unicorn horn thanks to some strategically placed cotton candy and chewy candies. You can also order Family Squeezed’s white hot chocolate root beer float here.
If you like a little bit of spice in your hot chocolate, you’ll probably like this one from Oolong Tea House that features chai, vanilla, cocoa and ginger Rooibos. Ingredients like gingerbread whipped cream, ginger snap cookie pieces and cinnamon finish the drink off.
110 10 St. N.W., 403-283-0333, facebook.com
This year, downtown restaurant Paper Street is offering a spiked hot chocolate called Te Fiti 43.
102, 630 8 Ave. S.W., 403-457-2700, paperstyyyc.com
A tuft of pink cotton candy tops the Cocoa Troll hot chocolate at Primal Grounds, which is set up in Crossroads Market.
Crossroads Market, 1235 26 Ave. S.E., facebook.com
This year, Sauce Italian Kitchen & Market’s hot chocolate features one of the best toppings: a whole cannoli filled with vanilla cream and sprinkled with crushed pistachio. The drink itself is also infused with pistachio and vanilla.
3326 17 Ave. S.W., 403-727-7627, sauceitalianmarket.com
Go skating at Bowness Park Lagoon, then pop into the nearby Seasons of Bowness Park eatery to try the tres leches white hot chocolate.
8900 48 Ave. N.W., 403-202-5065, seasonsofbownesspark.ca