The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival is a local excuse for people to treat themselves to mugs of gourmet hot cocoa from some of the city’s best cafes.
The next Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival is scheduled to run from January 13th until February 14th in 2024.
See below for information about the event, including a list of participating venues and menus. Or, if you like jogging and cocoa, then see our article about Try Events to learn about the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Run (which takes place in March and is unrelated to the Hot Chocolate Festival).
Hot Chocolate Festival
2024 marks the 14th anniversary of Vancouver’s Hot Chocolate Festival. The event runs from January 13th until February 14th (which is Valentine’s Day). The event in 2023 featured 143 flavours from 66 vendors at 95 different locations. Expect this to be the same in 2024.
Close to three dozen cafes, bakeries and chocolatiers throughout the region usually participate in the event by offering extra special gourmet cups of hot chocolate on their menus. Even a few gelato and specialty ice cream shops join in too!
Each place offers a special selection of hot chocolate creations during the festival. Ingredients include everything from white chocolate to dark chocolate, Belgian chocolate, exotic whipped creams, cookie crumbs and even ice cream!
It’s not really a “festival …”
The festival isn’t so much a “festival” as an excuse to indulge, warm yourself up and try different cafes around town. In fact, often when you go to a venue you have to look around for their Hot Chocolate Festival menu. It’s a pretty subtle “festival,” but the drinks are good and usually somewhat out of the ordinary.
At the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival don’t expect parades, balloons, live entertainment, fireworks or even craft activities and face painting for children. It’s not that kind of festival at all. Again, it’s an excuse for a unique cup of hot chocolate, but a good one!
Given that Vancouver’s winter can start to get dreary by the end of January and early February, any excuse to indulge in something like hot chocolate is a welcome opportunity!
Some venues that participated in the 2023 festival included the following. We expect these venues to feature again in 2024:
(Note: Venue and menu details were subject to change.)
Downtown Vancouver Locations (in 2023)
- Cadeaux Bakery – at 172 Powell Street in Gastown. It offered three special drinks in 2023. One was a mix of honey and chocolate served with a honey-glazed pastry. Another had a warm colour scheme and included white chocolate, strawberries, oranges and a snickerdoodle. The third was a dairy-free dark chocolate drink with a pirate theme.
- East Van Roasters – an artisan chocolate and coffee shop that uses organic fair trade beans in Gastown at 319 Carrall Street in Gastown. 2023 festival treats included a carrot cake spiced drink (January 14th to 28th) and a pistachio and cardamom white chocolate drink (January 31st to February 14th).
- Mink Chocolates – at 863 West Hastings Street not far from Canada Place. There were four different drinks on offer throughout the 2023 festival, each featuring a different type of chocolate. All were served with a ganache-filled chocolate heart.
- Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Café – a chocolatier patisserie and cafe in downtown Vancouver at 1059 Alberni Street. In 2023 one hot chocolate was a mokaya and pepper beverage with a chocolate cigarette and tablet (January 14th to 29th). The other offering was pure hot chocolate with whipped cream and vanilla choux caramel on the side (January 30th to February 12th).
Elsewhere Within the City of Vancouver (in 2023)
- Gem Chocolates – at 2029 West 41st Avenue (near Kerrisdale Park). Its 2023 creations included a caramel and apple fusion (January 14th to 21st) along with an orange blossom hot chocolate (January 23rd to February 2nd) and an extra-dark hot chocolate (February 3rd to 10th).
- 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters – with locations at 2902 Main Street in the Mt. Pleasant neighbourhood and at 2198 West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano. 2023 flavours were cardamom and rose petal-infused dark hot chocolate (January 14th to 28th) and a birthday cake-inspired hot chocolate (January 29th to February 12th).
- Beaucoup Bakery & Café – at 2150 Fir Street in Kitsilano. Its Hot Chocolate Festival specials were inspired by Hong Kong-style afternoon tea sets. The first included Milo and vanilla (January 14th to 31st) and the second had spiced milk tea and coffee flavours (February 1st to 14th).
- Bel Café – at both 1780 West 3rd Avenue in Kitsilano and 801 West Georgia Street at Howe (at the beautiful Rosewood Hotel Georgia). Its 2023 drinks were white chocolate matcha with edible gold flakes (January 14th to 29th) and a dark hot chocolate with activated charcoal whipped cream (January 30th to February 14th).
- Butter Baked Goods – at 4907 MacKenzie Street (at 33rd Avenue). In 2023 it offered a hot chocolate with mint, one with strawberry, and another with white chocolate.
- Eternal Abundance – an organic vegan grocery store and cafe at 1025 Commercial Drive (a couple of blocks from Venables). It served cinnamon white hot chocolate (January 14th to 31st) and berry dark hot chocolate (February 1st to 14th). The first came with an orange snickerdoodle and the second served with an almond biscotti.
- Koko Monk Chocolates – a chocolatier at 1849 West 1st Avenue in Kitsilano. In 2023 there were three hot chocolates on offer at different times of the festival. For example, there was one with passionfruit and peppercorn and another with chili white chocolate a couple weeks later.
- La Glace – an ice cream shop at 2785 West 16th Avenue. It offered three different drinks throughout the entire festival. One of the options was a roasted cashew float with white chocolate.
- TrafiQ Café & Bakery – at 4216 Main Street. This place served vanilla pineapple hot chocolate, maple sesame hot chocolate and orange masala chai tea hot chocolate.
- Uno Gelato – at 2579 West Broadway. Festival menu items for the 2023 season were a vegan hot chocolate with Medjool dates and a dark hot chocolate with maple syrup and coconut drizzle.
Elsewhere in Metro Vancouver (in 2023)
- BjornBar Bakery – at 3053 Edgemont Boulevard in North Vancouver. It served pineapple and coconut white hot chocolate as well as almond and whipped cream dark hot chocolate.
- Caffe Artigiano – a coffee and pastry shop at both 4010 Main Street in Vancouver and 3154 Highland Boulevard in North Vancouver. Its 2023 hot chocolate flavours were cookie crumble and dark chocolate passionfruit.
- Chez Christophe – at 4717 Hastings Street in Burnaby and 1558 Johnston Road in White Rock. In 2023 it served a chili, cinnamon and maple syrup hot chocolate (January 14th to 27th) as well as a butter-beer white hot chocolate (January 28th to February 11th).
- Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionary – at 4090 Hastings Street in Burnaby. In 2023 year it served a strawberry hot chocolate and a blueberry lemon hot chocolate.
- Mon Paris Patisserie – at 4396 Beresford Street in Burnaby. 2023 treats included your choice of a red fruit and floral aroma hot chocolate or a passionfruit coconut hot chocolate.
- Thomas Haas – a chocolate and pastry shop with locations at 2539 West Broadway in Vancouver and at 128-988 Harbourside Drive in North Vancouver. 2023 offerings were a white hot chocolate with apple and butter cake, as well as a milk hot chocolate with tahini and a side of almond sesame cake.
In 2019, in addition to participating venues adding extra special drinks on their menus, there were a few cooking classes too.
On January 23rd and 30th, 2019, there were Italian Hot Chocolate Throughout The Ages classes that featured different styles of regional Italian hot chocolates. The events took place from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the Trattoria at the Italian Cultural Centre at 3075 Slocan Street. The cost for each was $60.
On February 6th there was also a Hot Chocolates of the World cooking class at the Trattoria restaurant at the Italian Cultural Centre. This time the class was about hot chocolates from Italy, Colombia, the Philippines and Mexico. The cost for this event was also $60.
The cooking classes did not take place in 2021 or 2022 due to COVID-19 restrictions. As of early January, they didn’t happen in 2023 either.
For the most up-to-date information, see the Italian Cultural Centre‘s calendar of events.
Tips & Advice
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most of your Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival experience.
TIP #1: Remember, it’s a season of exotic drink specials more than a festival. Don’t expect anything flashy – just mugs of extra-delicious hot chocolate.
TIP #2: Don’t drive across town for your hot chocolate and then drive immediately back. That would be silly! The drinks are good, but not that good! Instead, if you happen to be in an area and you love exotic chocolate treats, check out a participating place nearby. Or, if you see something you definitely want to try, then explore the surrounding area either before or after or combine it with a trip somewhere else.
TIP #3: Note that some places offer a choice of “official festival drinks” throughout the full festival season. Others though offer just one drink per week, so you don’t get a choice. That being said, however, of course all venues offer regular menu items every day of the week too.
TIP #4: Most places serve their drinks with a biscuit, macaron, scoop of gelato or other small treat, but not all.
TIP #5: Depending on your tastes, most of the drinks offered each season are delicious and decadent. Others, however, are arguably a bit weird (or at least not for everyone). Personally, for example, I think I’ll leave the flower-scented hot chocolates to others (who I’m sure will appreciate them more than me).
TIP #6: Don’t just visit the above places during the Hot Chocolate Festival and just for their festival specials. Participating venues are some of the region’s finest cafés, chocolatiers and bakeries. Check out their full selection of menu items any time of year!
TIP #7: Looking for a way to burn off all the hot chocolates and other goodies you consume over the winter? Then check out the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Run which takes place in early March!
Visit the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival website for more details and the full list of participating restaurants.
For a list of great restaurants, click Lower Mainland Places to Eat and Drink.