YYC Hot Chocolate Fest heats up this weekend

With a whopping 32 vendors and 36 drinks, "you're going to have to double down on Sundays if you want to try them all," said Christine Conley, Calgary Meals on Wheels community outreach coordinator.

Indulge in the s'mores, red velvet and even fruity twists on this classic cocoa concoction

Cocoa butter, chaga mushroom tea, colostrum, coconut butter, lucuma and pure vanilla bean powder come together in this smooth cup from The Light Cellar. (The Light Cellar)

Lavender mocha. Bourbon bananas. Salted caramel peanut butter.

Those are just some of the flavours you'll find at the 2016 YYC Hot Chocolate Fest, which kicks off Jan. 30.

"This year we have a whopping 32 vendors and 36 drinks, so you're going to have to double down on Sundays if you want to try them all," said Christine Conley, Calgary Meals on Wheels community outreach coordinator.

The festival has grown "exponentially" since its debut five years ago, both in terms of interest and offerings, Conley said.

This Campfire Cocoa from ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen also comes in a gluten free or dairy free variety. (ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen)

"Of course, it depends on the weather. We're always hoping for a little bit of a chilly February to encourage folks to get out there," she laughed.

"If we do end up with a Chinook one of these days, we have a couple that are doing chilled hot chocolates as well."

New flavours and common themes this year include ginger, s'mores and red velvet, Conley said. 

"Some of those flavours are fruit, so I figure, 'Hey, well, does that count? One extra serving there!'" she joked.

This smooth and savoury hot chocolate is made with cocoa, turmeric black pepper, coconut and a hint of cinnamon. The freshly ground black pepper leaves a warm finish on the palate. (Red Bush Tea and Coffee Company)

The friendly competition runs until the end of February and the winner will be decided by online votes

At least one dollar from every mug sold goes back to Calgary Meals on Wheels.


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