After a long afternoon of learning how to make fresh pasta with Pasta Famiglia, I strolled over to the nearby Nymph East - the new location of CocoaNymph which opened this fall. It has all the old goodies but in a new fresh location that has great potential - including a regular offering of chocolate making workshops and a growing full-service cafe menu.
For the Hot Chocolate Festival (January 19 - February 14), CocoaNymph concocted a special limited edition beverage that shows Rachel Sawazky's skill and daring imagination: the Espionage hot chocolate, which is infused with jasmine essence and topped with juniper marshmallows. Like the chocolate bar we created together, it packs a punch, surprises the taste buds and stimulates the imagination.
Personally, I was reminded of the thick "Shokolada" that Maestro Secundus Minutius Hora poured out to Momo when she visited the heart of time. It's the kind of beveragethat makes you stop in your track, contemplate, and savour every moment. Which is the key for happy living!
Visit CocoaNymph West (3739 West 10th Avenue & Alma) or East (4 West 7th Avenue & Ontario) to enjoy a cup of this thick elixir; or buy a hot chocolate making kit to brew at home with your own choice of marshmallows and possibly other addictive additions... I am now planning my 4th annual Valentine's Tea Party and am scheming which is dedicated to broken hearts and tragic love stories. If you have any suggestions for a chocolate brew along these lines (or any other crazy hot chocolate and marshmallow combinations) I'll be most grateful! So do leave a comment! I might just send you an Espionage chocolate bar as a thank you, you know...
I heard about the hot chocolate festival pretty late - when it was already halfway through. And of course, I had to at least make a pilgrimage to Cocoa Nymph (3739 West 10th Ave. @ Alma) and try her legendary hot chocolate. All of my visits there were purely business so far, and very busy at that - so I never actually just sat down and enjoyed a cup of hot CocoNymph before! Fortunately for me, Rachel was taking a little break, and we were able to just hang out, relax, chat and enjoy her company as well as a few other regular customers and friends whose faces I already recognize (and sometime can even guess their name right...). CocoNymph should be a weekly pilgrimage to Kitsilano just for that atmosphere alone. And did I mention they do live music shows there - almost every weekend?
Back to hot chocolate: You can find 4 flavours on a regular basis - white, milk, dark and dark spicy (inspired by the original Aztec power drink), made on site from real wholesome ingredients and topped with Rachel's marshmallows.
During the hot chocolate festival there is a new limited edition flavour at CocoaNymph every week - for both the hot chocolate AND the marshmallows, which are made on site from scratch!
The first week, it was the reverse switch - white hot chocoate topped with a milk chocolate marshamllow. Second week it was hazelnut hot chocolate topped with Crown Royal marshmallows. Last week - Earl Grey hot chocolate topped with Guilt inspired marshmallows (made with orange oil and juice!). The Earl Grey was sold out that weekend, but I have I tried the Guilt-y, orangey marshmallow, and am thrilled to report they are utter bliss and I just can't wait for the Earl Grey infused hot chocolate to return.
This week, the special flavour is a black-pepper infused hot chocolate topped with salted caramel marshmallows! Salted caramel is CocoaNymph's signature flavour - the first bonbons Rachel made and got this business started were her salted caramel chocolates. Her most popular confections are the English Toffee (highly salted and crunchy) and the SeaNymph bar (with sea salt and crushed pieces of the above-mentioned English toffee).
I sipped the dark hot chocolate, topped with the salted caramel marshmallows, which really balanced it well - and made it very easy to drink up what turned out to be a whole cup of heavy cream (!) with melted dark chocolate. This is hard core hot chocolate indulgence, yet I had no trouble at all getting to the bottom of it...
The experience was inspiring, and I'm really intrigued by the combination of tea and chocolate together... Or any infusions into liquid chocolate... Mmm... Maybe an idea for something to serve on my Valentine's Day "Spice It Up" Tea Party next Sunday? What do you think?
Last but not least, I'd like to use this opportunity to mention a giveaway via Vancouver Foodster Magazine - who are giving away a box of chocolates from CocoaNymph (value of $60) and a Roses et Chocolat mini + chocolate bar (value of $60 as well). All you need to do is comment, and tweet about it, and you will be entered :-)
P.s. In the photograph: Top right is white hot chocolate topped with vanilla marshmallow. Bottom left - dark hot chocolate with salted caramel marshmallow.