Oh yes, today was a good day. Today was accented with delectable, bittersweet chocolate delight.
I had intentions to go to Bel Cafe, and I did, but their beverage was made with whole milk that could not be separated from the recipe itself, so I subtly said I’d buy something else instead and then promptly left… Awkward.
My change of plans took me about 15 minutes away to Gastown, where I discovered East Van Roasters and their featured item for the first two weeks of the festival: The Hive.
‘Hives for Humanity’ honey dark drinking chocolate.
Served with a honey nib caramel.
The presentation was so elegant and simple! I had also not expected a full beverage, but rather what apparently is referred to as “Belgian drinking chocolate”, which is when you basically drink melted down chocolate ganache (that is what I got from the lady from whom I ordered the drink, at least); I learned this was not the case when I was served what looked to be regular hot chocolate and I had to buy a new one with soy so my stomach didn’t rally on me (take note of this if you go visit which you SHOULD!). I also appreciated the glass of water to help with cleaning my palette.
I should also note: East Van Roasters was designed to train and employ women residents of the Rainier Hotel, a hotel that had attempted to provide a radical treatment approach to addiction and substance abuse. Unfortunately, the program’s funding was terminated, but women have been able to work at EVR. EVR creates organic “bean-to-bar” chocolate and coffee that is roasted and prepared on site! Say whaaat?! That was quite exciting to me – IS quite exciting to me.
Moving along, the drink came with a “honey nib caramel” – hmm? I wasn’t sure what to expect this to be, but I was pleased to find a small treat inside the wrapped wax paper!
It was full of sweetness and was chewy and delicious. There were cocao (that is pronounced “cah-cow”) nibs on the inside that made the texture experience quite exciting.
The drink itself? Well, it was very creamy with the soy milk (recommended over almond milk by the barista), and by creamy I mean smooth and full-feeling in its texture; its flavour matched this description as well. It almost seemed salty at the tip of my tongue, but as it crossed through my mouth I realized it must just be the dark chocolate bitterness resembling salt (but salt and chocolate are delicious when combined), and it broke up the smoothness of the drink overall in a pleasant way. It was full-bodied, and had a dark and smooth taste that was really helped along by the sweetness of the honey throughout the entire drink. It was overall an extremely pleasant experience to consume – would HIGHLY recommend! They have drinks something like this all year-round, it would seem. I look forward to trying the Earl Grey version during the second half of the festival.
I’m disappointed that my hours spent studying in this cozy shop distracted me from taking my “completion” photo, so here is a complimentary photo of finding my delightful caramel nib inside its wrapping paper.
Visit this one for sure! It was created for a good cause to boot.