Lifestyle

Seventh annual Hot Chocolate Fest hits Calgary

Participants from across the city will compete throughout February for the title of Calgary’s Best Hot Chocolate in the seventh annual YYC Hot Chocolate Fest.

Shelley Fink, the owner of TotaliTea, said she’s been participating for the last four years largely because of the support the festival gives to a charitable cause.

In addition to being a delicious local event, YYC Hot Chocolate Fest raises money for Calgary Meals on Wheels, a local not-for-profit that delivers healthy, well-balanced meals to people who, according to their website, “are in need of a meal service to maintain independence in their own homes, regardless of age or circumstance.”

“I think it’s such a great cause to raise that money for Meals on Wheels,” said Fink.

“Basically, that’s the bottom line.”

Chris Mattock, the marketing and communications coordinator for Calgary Meals on Wheels, said the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest is the not-for-profit’s signature event, adding that it raised more than $35, 000 in 2017.

TotaliTea’s entry is called “Spread S’more Love” and consists of a double chocolate black tea with a toasted marshmallow flavour shot, chocolate syrup, and steamed milk topped with whipped cream, graham cracker dust, chocolate dust and mini marshmallows.

Fink said the drink is sweet, but since it’s tea-based it’s not as thick and syrupy as a typical hot chocolate, which may attract people who like less sugary drinks.

One dollar from each hot chocolate purchased at TotaliTea will go to Calgary Meals on Wheels.

SAIT’s The Odyssey Coffeehouse is entering for the third year, offering up their “Flirty Chai,” a white hot chocolate mixed with chai concentrate and beetroot powder to give it a vibrant pink colour.

Alex Zarnowski, the assistant operations manager for SAITSA, said the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest is a great opportunity to get The Odyssey’s name out to people who aren’t at SAIT, while at the same time helping the community.

“It’s a really fun competition to be part of,” said Zarnowski.

This year, The Odyssey will be donating $2 from every drink instead of the $1 they were donating in the past.

Boogie’s Burgers is participating for the first time this year, and their hot chocolate has a unique twist.

The restaurant specializes in milkshakes, and releases a feature one every month.

For February, Boogie’s Burgers’ feature milkshakes will double as their Hot Chocolate Fest entries, which include a Nanaimo bar frozen hot chocolate and a spirited version with Frangelico and spiced rum.

“We’re really excited to see how it goes,” said Zoë Fullen, the brand manager for Boogie’s Burgers.

After a customer tries a participating beverage, they will be able to go to yychotchocolate.com and rate it out of five stars.

The YYC Hot Chocolate Fest runs from Feb. 1 to 28.

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