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Staff Picks: YYC Hot Chocolate Fest 2024

By Ramiro Bustamante Torres, Ansharah Shakil, Dianne Miranda, Reyam Jamaleddine, Leonie O’Sullivan, March 10 2024—

During this year’s YYC Hot Chocolate Festival, the Gauntlet staff went around and tried as many spots as we could. Overall, this is what they had to say about the ones they got their hands on.


Caramelized Honey and Orange Hot Chocolate — 3.5/5

Calgary Climbing Centre (CCC) — Chinook

According to the CCC, this is based on one of their desserts and it really translates well into a hot chocolate. The orange flavour isn’t overpowering but it’s not hidden in the hot chocolate. Once you finish it, there is a caramelized orange as a treat, unless you ate it first.

Birthday Bliss — 3/5

The Bullet Coffee House

This one is only for those with a true sweet tooth, if you can’t handle much sweetness, it will take you out. The drink contains a white chocolate base, with whipped cream, a rice krispie and sprinkles. Take it with some water to wash away most of the sweetness. Also, brush your teeth after lest you want a cavity. 

Baklava Hot Chocolate — 4/5

Fringe Coffee House

An incredible combination this year, the nuttiness of baklava mixed with the smoothness of hot chocolate made this drink one of my favourites. It wasn’t too sweet and the subtle pistachio accented the drink, not take away from it. 

Creme Brulee French Hot Chocolate — 3/5

LIC’s Ice Cream Shop

Visually it looks simple but seeing the cup fill up from a chocolate fountain added to the experience. Due to the richness of the chocolate, it’s meant to drink slower unless you’re not afraid of your sugar going up too fast. The caramel bits on top and the surrounding marshmallow don’t give it the creme brulee flavour that the name suggests. 

I’m Hazelnuts About You — 4.5/5

Canela Vegan Bakery & Cafe

Out of all the drinks I had, this one was the best blended and the name really follows through with the drink. It was a simple drink but it had the hazelnut flavour, a smooth hot chocolate base and the whipped cream on top did not overwhelm the drink. Not every drink has to be a crazy concoction, sometimes keeping it simple is better.

Maple Waffle Hot Chocolate — 3/5

Higher Ground Cafe

The first few sips were tasty and enjoyable but the further into the drink the more overwhelming the syrup was as a whole. Drinking it too fast would mean a lot of sugar at once but if you let it sit too long, it’ll be a Frankenstein sort of flavour that wasn’t something I expected. 


Barbie — 3.5/5

Canyon Meadows Cinemas

Pink hot chocolate is one of the greatest inventions ever. This pink peppermint hot chocolate, while being a bit too milky, is a sweet treat that tastes just like it looks. The cherry candied popcorn on top of the whipped cream is a delicious addition, but be careful to eat it all before it melts into the drink. 


DunkArosso — 3.7/5

Rosso Coffee Roasters 

The DunkArosso has an almost deceiving look of being too sweet with its creamy hot white chocolate base topped with colourful sprinkles that melt into this abstract swirl of deliciousness. Despite this, it has a perfect balance of warmth and richness, especially with the addition of the cookie to dunk. It is difficult not to ask for a whole box of cookies because of this perfect pairing. 

Tiramisu Hot Chocolate — 3.6/5

Alforno Bakery

The Tiramisu Hot Chocolate is a testament to one of what Alforno Bakery does the best — their signature tiramisu. The housemade mascarpone cream and whipped cream wonderfully balance the kick of sweetness of the decaf espresso syrup. The lady finger garnish ties the whole drink together providing this soft feeling and decadent taste a tiramisu gives you. 

Toffee Butter Carrot Cake with Salted Cream Cheese Foam — 3.5/5

Sammie Cafe

If you’re a carrot cake lover like me, this one’s for you. However, despite the drink’s contrasting combination of the salted cream cheese foam, carrot cake tuile, carrot cake crumble and the cream cheese custard rim, it’s missing the warm, soothing and luscious vibes hot chocos give you. Lastly, the drink was pricey since really half the drink was mostly the salted cream cheese foam. 


The Element of Imagination — 4/5

Element Cafe 

The Element of Imagination is the perfect description of what this hot chocolate is. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly which flavours are used in this cup of hot cocoa so the element of imagination comes into play. It’s not too sweet leaving it to be the perfect any-time-of-day treat. 


Wonka Popping White Hot Chocolate — 4.5/5

LIC’s Ice Cream Shop

Ideal for those with a sweet tooth longing for some nostalgia. The rainbow belt skewer sets the tone and is a nice added flare to this whimsical drink. Topped with luscious cream and dusted with popping candy that playfully dances around the inside of your ears, it’s a treat for the senses. While I’m not usually a fan of white hot chocolate, this one stands out for its beautifully rich flavour that strikes a perfect balance, without being overly sweet.

Crème Brûlée French Hot Chocolate — 5/5

LIC’s Ice Cream Shop

This drink does not disappoint. As you walk inside the shop, your eyes are drawn to cascading tiers of a fountain flowing with French milk chocolate, which is used to fuel this cocoa. The hot chocolate is hidden below a creative brim of tastily toasted marshmallows. To seal the deal, a wedge of caramelized sugar brûlée adds the perfect touch to this delightful drink. It’s undoubtedly the most enjoyable hot chocolate I have ever indulged in! 

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