The Hot Chocolate Festival is an annual event at the Chocolaterie. Every August they have 31 different flavours of hot chocolate - some old, some new - with eight available each week. When I attended the event last year, I had a banana flavoured hot chocolate as banana is not only one of my favourite fruits, but also my favourite flavour of anything.
This year, I tried the Mint Madness (mint chocolate holds a special place in my heart - and mouth), and Daniel tried the Salted Caramel Popcorn.
As you may or may not be able to tell from the photo, the different flavours are merely due to some extra decorations that are put on top of their regular hot chocolates - which are actually just mugs of hot milk accompanied by a tiny tub of chocolate, as seen in the photo, which you are meant to whisk into the milk.
Daniel's hot chocolate had a handful of popcorn pieces, and mine came with a disk of chocolate with some mint flavouring drizzled throughout, which was delicious, but once you're finished with that, it's just like any old regular hot chocolate. Their chocolate does taste exceptionally good, so these drinks were still far from disappointing.
When lining up to order, you are mercilessly teased by the array of mouth-watering desserts that are on display. Last year I tried their trio mousse pictured on the far left, and it was incredible (but, as I do adore chocolate mousse in general, perhaps I was a little biased).
This year I aimed to buy more memorabilia rather than food, so I managed to walk past nearly all the desserts without caving... until I saw the macarons. In my defence, they were under $2, and I only bought one, so I still felt as though I did a good job.
There are a lot of cool things to buy at the Chocolaterie. Most people I saw had baskets full of items; it honestly looked as though they got one of everything. There are a lot of small, individual chocolates to buy, such as the ones pictured above, but there are also a lot of big ones too - such as a one kilogram block of chocolate, and a metre long block of chocolate, which I saw many people posing with.
Other novelties include giant chocolate freckles; Australian themed chocolates with names such as "Valley Bush Tucker"; gourmet chocolates with flavours such as "macadamia and salted caramel" (and whose wrapping features beautiful paintings of the Chocolaterie that one could nearly mistake for a Monet), plus a bunch of big hampers that are filled with a range of different items.
Some things that I didn't manage to get a photo of (probably because it was too crowded - or I was distracted by all the sweets around me) were all the ice creams available. There was a lot, and they all looked delicious, but it was far too cold to even think about trying one. There were also big glass windows that you walked passed to see into the kitchen where they make all the chocolate, alone with some large chocolate "ornaments" on display, that I wasn't able to photograph.
In the end, I didn't end up spending too much money. After I bought the two hot chocolates and the macaron, I picked up a gift tag and a card (that I will never use, but will rather blu tack onto my office wall) and a little bundle containing a Junior Hot Choc Moo Mug, a tiny whisk and some white chocolates in the shapes of gingerbread men - they even have little hearts outlined on their chest, it's almost impossible to eat them!
Even though it is a little pricey, and probably quite far for most people (it's roughly an hour from Melbourne CBD), I do recommend visiting the Chocolaterie at least once in your lifetime. It is a lot of happiness and excitement in one place - and not just because of the visitors, but the workers too.
I'm not usually a huge chocolate fan (apart from chocolate mousse and hot chocolates - which I have daily during winter), but I am a sucker for novelty things, and I do love seeing all the different ideas they come up with. Plus, there's just something magical about all that sweetness in one place.
Until next time,