Who doesn’t love a steaming hot cup of chocolate on a frosty day? In honour of this internationally beloved beverage, the first annual Okanagan Hot Chocolate Festival is here. Successful festivals have been operating in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal for years so Food Tours Kelowna decided to launch our own celebration.

From January 17th until February 14th, hot choco fans can travel around to participating restaurants to taste their unique offering. And don’t forget to take pics and share posts of yourselves sipping hot chocolate using #exploreKelowna. There is a contest for the best photo and a wonderful charity component to this delicious festival as well. The website has all the info: okanaganhotchocolatefest.ca

The website has a Flavour Map and some participating vendors offer food pairings to try along with their hot chocolate flavours.

Here are a few of the participating local Hot Chocolatiers to entice you:

1. Sandrine Chocolate & French Pastry

Who better to know how to make a perfect cup of hot chocolate than a chocolate maker…-or in this case should I say chocolat?!  Located right beside Orchard Park on Dilworth, prepare for a nose full of joy when you walk into this authentic French bakery and chocolate shop. To accompany your cuppa, choose one of Sandrine’s delectable pastries or macarons.

2. QB Gelato & Bakery

Owned and operated by two local sweeties, Victor and Kevin, QB is home to absolutely amazing gelato. With a focus on using fresh local ingredients in their gelato, last year, these two artisans expanded their offerings to include baked goods and a variety of desserts. The lunch offerings are great and the freezer section allows you to take home treats for later. Hot chocolate will be right up their alley.

3. Frankie We Salute You!

Also known as FWSY, this is THE destination for plant-based cuisine in Kelowna. Seriously mind-blowing meals that could convert any carnivore. The drinks list is local focussed, and everything is delicious, so I am imagining a super fabulous hot chocolate creation. They are tucked in off the highway in the Landmark District.

4. Bean Scene

Kelowna’s fave locally owned and operated mini-chain of awesome coffee shops (also the first in house coffee roasters) are aaaalllll aboard for this chocolatey festival. Bean Scene has shops in four locations making it easy for you to access their version of hot cocoa. Visit them at their Pandosy Village shop, Landmark Centre HQ, on Bernard Avenue or their North shop located on the corner of Ellis and Doyle.

5. BoxcAr at BNA

Coffee shops and bakeries are not the only ones signed up to partake in the chocolate fun. There are restaurants around town also in the game. BoxcAr is an extension of the delicious brand created by local CrAsian food truck creators and is Kelowna's o.g. bánh mì and steamed bun pit stop. Located at the super cool brick BNA Brewing building downtown, I can’t wait to try what they are whipping up for the festival!