10 Creative Drinks to Try During YYC Hot Chocolate Fest 2024

More than 115 restaurants and cafés around Calgary are putting a unique spin on hot chocolate drinks from February 1 to 29.

Vendome Café’s Maple French Toast Hot Chocolate. Photo courtesy of Vendome Cafe.

Everyone loves a cup of hot chocolate on a cold, winter day, but what makes it even better? When it also supports a good cause.

Every year in February, YYC Hot Chocolate Fest brings together dozens of restaurants and cafés in a friendly competition to see who can create the best hot chocolate, which is judged and voted on by the public. A portion of all proceeds goes to Meals on Wheels to help support its mission to end food insecurity in Calgary. The festival raised more than $115,000 in 2023.

This year, more than 115 restaurants and cafés have created one-of-a-kind hot chocolate creations, which will be available from February 1 to 29. At the end of the month, awards are given for the most sold drink, top-rated hot chocolate, top-rated spirited hot chocolate and most creative drink. You can vote on the festival’s website or by downloading the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest app for Android and IOS.

Here are just a few of the creative drinks you can get during this year’s festival.

 

Watermelon Rose from 8 Cakes

Photo courtesy of 8 Cakes.

This year, 8 Cakes has come up with a nutty and floral hot chocolate creation. The thick and complex dark chocolate and tahini cocoa is complemented by a floral strawberry rose whipped cream and fruity pink watermelon coulis. It’s garnished with a fun watermelon rose cookie that adds an extra touch of uniqueness.

529 Riverfront Ave. S.E., 403-455-2253, 8cakes.com

 

Miso Banana Hot Chocolate from Approach Café & Bar

Try this sweet and salty take on hot chocolate from Approach Cafe & Bar. Miso brings the salt and nuttiness, while chocolate, banana and lime add a sweet and creamy smooth flavour. Puffed rice and sesame on top add some nice texture.

75 Shawville Link S.E., 587-603-6201, approachyyc.com

 

Elvis’ Shake, Rattle & Roll from Boogie’s Burgers

Photo courtesy of Boogie’s Burgers.

Inspired by Elvis’ favourite sandwich, Boogie’s Burgers’ festival entry includes peanut butter, banana and a special blend of chocolate. The adult version of this drink adds peanut butter whisky and creme de banana to the mix.

1, 908 Edmonton Tr. N.E., 403-230-7070; 2129 33 Ave. S.W., 403-454-2902, boogiesburgers.com

 

Black Forest Hot Chocolate from Community Natural Foods

Photo courtesy of Community Natural Foods.

Community Natural Foods has created a healthy take on the classic flavour combo of chocolate and cherries. Featuring a chocolate base and a five mushroom elixir blend for natural energy, it’s topped with cherry syrup, coconut whipped cream and a Holy Fudge brownie. Try it at the Beltline and Crowfoot locations.

1304 10 Ave. S.W.; 850 Crowfoot Cres. N.W., 403-930-6363; communitynaturalfoods.com

Baklava Hot Chocolate from Fringe Coffee

Photo courtesy of Fringe Coffee.

Fringe Coffee has created a whimsical baklava-inspired drink this year. The combination of dark chocolate, pistachio syrup and salted caramel will tickle your tastebuds, while the green whipped cream and crushed pistachios make it a photo-worthy creation. This drink can be made dairy-free with almond or oat milk whipped topping, too.

4628 Bowness Rd. N.W., 403-288-6923, fringecoffee.ca

 

Crème Brûlée Salted Caramel from Hey Sugar

Photo courtesy of Hey Sugar.

This hot chocolate is based on the bakery’s best-selling crème brûlée doughnuts. Made for caramel lovers, the salted caramel hot chocolate comes with a caramel topper for crunch and a toasted marshmallow rim.

297, 9737 Macleod Tr. S.W., 403-930-0455, iloveheysugar.com

 

Tsuut’ina Sage Tlikonituwa from Little Chief Restaurant

Photo courtesy of Little Chief Restaurant.

This hot chocolate from Little Chief Restaurant at Grey Eagle Resort & Casino is inspired by Indigenous flavours. Made with dark chocolate, it’s infused with a sage and caramel syrup, and topped with a toasted marshmallow and cinnamon frybread.

3779 Grey Eagle Dr., 587-390-1400, greyeagleresortandcasino.ca

 

Winter Glazed Hot Chocolate from Paradigm Spark

Photo courtesy of Paradigm Spark.

This cozy drink from Paradigm Spark is meant to give the feeling of curling up by the fire and watching the snow fall on the trees. Rosemary and elderflower syrup add the wintery feeling, with grated black cardamom adding a slightly smoky touch to this unique take on hot chocolate. You can try the drink from February 1 to 11 at its current location, or at its new location on 17th Avenue S.W. starting February 17.

2040, 2600 Portland St. S.E.; 110, 108 17 Ave. S.W., paradigmspark.com

 

Toffee Butter Carrot Cake with Salted Cream Cheese Foam from Sammie Café

Photo courtesy of Sammie Café.

Carrot cake might be a divisive dessert, but this drink may change some minds for the better. Imagine flavours of toffee butter carrot cake topped with cream cheese foam, all finished off with sprinkles of carrot cake crumble and a crunchy carrot cake tuile.

113, 2205 33 Ave. S.W., 403-457-9682, sammieyyc.ca

 

Maple French Toast Hot Chocolate from Vendome Café

Photo courtesy of Vendome Café.

Start your morning off right with this brunch-inspired drink from Vendome Café. The base of this hot chocolate is maple and white chocolate, and it’s finished off with whipped cream and a cinnamon sugar French toast stick.

940 2 Ave. N.W., 403-453-1140, vendomecafe.com

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