As I mentioned in a recent blog entry (assuming you were paying attention) The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival kicked off today. Running from January 18th to February 14th, it features over 60+ flavors (although I only count 58 flavors including a special off-the-menu 99% dark drinking chocolate offered at Bella Gelateria. The list of numbered varieties at the city food site mysteriously jumps from #36 to #41, skipping four spots) at 20 different locations around the city.
This year, in an effort to keep pace, Akemi and I will be sampling two different hot chocolates a day and pitting them, head to head, on the way to naming our Top 5 Festival Favorites. Last year’s winners were a nice mix of the classic and the crazy:
#5: Malteaser: Barley malt-infused hot chocolate served with salt caramel malt truffles. (Thomas Haas)
#4: The Josiah: Basil drinking chocolate topped with housemade strawberry marshmallows. (Cocoa Nympth)
#3: Italian Honey Moon: Honey nougat and hazelnut made with Avalon Organic milk and Michel Cluizel chocolate served with Erin Ireland’s “To Die For” Banana Bread. (Bella Gelateria)
#2: Armoury Amour: Cocoa Barry “Madirofolo”– a single plantation chocolate, kissed with raspberry and served with a mini lemon and basil ice cream sandwich. (Chocolate Arts)
#1: Jasmine: 64% dark chocolate – origin: Ecuador. Infused with jasmine and served with choice of chocolate square. (Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France)
Today, we hit two different chocolate hot spots, pitting Cocoa Nymph’s Aphrodite Delights against French Made Baking’s Magnifique Brunette!
The Aphrodite: 72% dark chocolate, with mango rosemary puree and almond milk (vegan and dairy free). Served with a side of rosemary anise fudge.
Available: At Cocoa Nymph 3739 W. 10th Ave (at Alma), Vancouver
The rosemary in the rosemary puree was so subtle as to be almost non-existent. Not necessarily a bad thing as I’m still unconvinced that chocolate and rosemary make a good mix, but if if you’re going to advertise rosemary, it should taste a little like rosemary. The mango was element was there but not overpowering. The chocolate, as fruit-accented chocolates often do, was possessed of a lingering subtle sourness. Despite being prepared with almond milk, the drink was thick and rich. The side anise-rosemary fudge (the rosemary was a little more pronounced here but not that much more, possibly owing to the contrasting flavors of the dark hot chocolate). I also had two PB&J truffles which I think I’d preferred minus the J.
Magnifique Brunette: Valrhona Araguani Dark Chocolate (72%) with coconut milk and toasted coconut. Served with “Congolais” (coconut macaroon dipped in chocolate).
Available: French Made Baking 81 Kingsway, Vancouver
A beautiful-looking cup but ultimately lacking in fullness of flavor. The drinking chocolate was thin, no doubt owing to the coconut milk base, and the contrasting temperatures – the heat of the liquid chocolate and the coolness of the topping – were more interesting than appealing. I wasn’t a fan of the coconut shavings that added texture but not much in the way of taste.
VERDICT: Alas, even though I’m not a huge fan of the ubiquitous fruit and chocolate combo, this one wasn’t even close.
WINNER: Aphrodite Delight (Cocoa Nymph)
A big thanks to those offering their heartfelt congratulations on my making this list: http://www.bellmediapr.ca/Network/Bell-Media/Press/Bell-Media-Announces-29-Drama-Projects-in-Development
But, before we get a little ahead of ourselves and start checking the t.v. listings for the premiere date, allow me to dull your enthusiasm with little a reality check. The project listed, along with the 28 others, has not been ordered to series. It is merely “in development”. Now don’t get me wrong. Development is a significant first step toward getting a show on the air and not many people attain this coveted initial stage in the production process. My neighbors to either side of me, for instance, do NOT have any projects in development at any of the networks. Neither does the guy who runs the second-hand bookshop I occasionally frequent. My uncle Vic, despite his wonderfully humorous anecdotes, has no development deal. Those Wassup Guys? No development deal. (Well, okay, they had one back in 2000 but I imagine it must have run its course by now). Real Housewives alum Dina Manzo and Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham? No development deals. No, wait. I stand corrected. They DO have developments deals. Never mind.
Anyway, my point is that having a show in development is nice, but actually having a show on the air is awesome – and one does not necessarily lead to the other. In theory, yes, but in practice – as I learned with Dark Matter – not always the case.
So all this to say thanks, but let’s temper our expectations. Our project is one of 29 under consideration at this point. But if we do get the green light, you’ll be the first to know.
After Paul and me. And our agents. And friends and family. And, possibly, anyone within a thirty foot radius when I receive the news.
And, while we’re on the subject, let’s offer another round of congratulations to two people (and former Stargate vets) I overlooked (after overlooking first Lawren Bancroft-Wilson and then Mark Savela). Congratulations to Andy Mikita who picked up a nomination in the Best Direction in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series category for Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story. Also, congratulations to Michael Shanks who received a nomination in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series category, also for Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story.
I went over the full list of nominees and believe I’ve congratulated everyone I know. In the event I’ve been remiss and you or someone you know has been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award, please leave your name, nomination category, and production for which you have been nominated in the comments section of this blog and I will rectify the oversight in my next entry.