Sunday, 15 February 2015

Valentine's Day and the Hot Chocolate Festival

Well hello there. Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Usually this is not a significant holiday in my calendar. Matthew and I traditionally exchange a gift, eat chocolate, attempt to go out for dinner. In fact we have had a series of Valentine's dinner fails (set menus of food we don't want, single roses on tables, awkward new couples all around). But this year, for some reason, I felt particularly gung ho for it.

That reason was: Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival. For the last month, various cafes and chocolateries around town have been selling fancier-than-usual hot chocolates. We found out about this quite by accident (I think a friend tipped us off). And we have never been particularly hot-chocoate-motivated. ...Friends, I tell you, it was like the summer of ice cream all over again. I drank about 20 hot chocolates in one month. And yes, I do weigh a kilo more than I did a month ago.

We have been to:
Chocolate Arts (Fir and 3rd; dangerously close walking distance)
Bel Cafe (foyer of the Hotel Georgia, with very fancy cakes)
49th Parallel (this place has become our local and we go here too often)
Bella Gelateria (the one that opened in Yaletown; reminds me so much of Brunetti in Lygon St!)
... and Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France

Urgh, now that I am writing it all down, it is coming crashing home to me just how much goddamn hot chocolate we really have been consuming. But hey, January is a long and difficult month, slogging through the middle-to-last of winter. So what else is there to do but treat yo' self to chocolate, right? Plus, what with sober January and Feb Fast, and not drinking coffee anymore either, there are precious few joys left, I feel.

Back to Valentine's Day. Originally Matthew had to work on Saturday, so I had arranged to catch up with my good friend Ann (again; Ann and I also had hot choc last weekend, and I think even the weekend before!) at the adorable chocolaterie at 21st and Main, and work our way down Main St.

But on Friday, Matthew applied for Saturday off work, so I didn't want to leave him high and dry. Ann and I met and ate HEAVENLY local chocolate at Chocolaterie de a Nouvelle France (what a mouthful!! a big name for a tiny cafe), and then did some delightful spring dress shopping (such beautiful and stylish things!), and then rendezvoused with Matthew at 49th Parallel for yet another hot chocolate and a doughnut.

Ann, me and Matthew, and our "lumberjack" hot chocs, and maple marshmallows.

A tiny plastic hippopotamus that we found under my chair at 49th Parallel. Mascot, what?

Then Ann, Matthew and I walked to Main and King Ed, to French Made Baking, for a maracon (I was a bit hot choc-ed out, but Ann adventurously went three for three!!). And then lo, there was a second-hand bookstore next door. I mean to say, hold me back. It had an intense dusty old book aroma. I can't believe this place has been on our map this whole time, and we never knew!

By this time it was well dark, so we parted ways. Apart from the excellent company, yesterday was also delightful because of the sunny warm weather. Vancouver is green as this winter; there is not a slip of snow to be seen on any of the local hills. Even though it is the middle of February, all the bulbs are out and the trees are blossoming. Happy Valentine's weekend! xoxo

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