The Yarra Valley is poised to host its annual Hot Chocolate Festival to help warm up winter visitors to one of the country’s premier food and wine regions.

Created by the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery, this third annual festival will herald Australia’s celebration of a love of chocolate with 31 decadent hot chocolate creations over 31 days in August from 1 August to 31 August.

Seven new ‘limited edition’ hot chocolate flavours devised by the Chocolaterie’s world‐class European chocolatiers and local baristas will be introduced each week of the Festival.
The menu will include Nutty Salted Caramel, Tiramisu, Chilli Bomb, Mint Madness, Cherry Delight, Roasted Macadamia, Berry Explosion and many more that draw on local Yarra Valley produce, supplies from their kitchen garden and of course, the very best Belgian couverture chocolate. All will be served with a choice of milk, dark or white chocolate pastilles, a shot of couverture chocolate and a hand crafted giant marshmallow.

“Hot chocolates are certainly a hot trend and last year’s Hot Chocolate Festival, proved it,” declares Yarra Valley Chocolaterie’s Managing Director, Leanne Neeland. Over 6,000 hot chocolates were created during Australia’s second dedicated Festival and the 2014 event attracted over 45,000 visitors, while over 1,000 people participated in special hot chocolate tasting sessions held daily throughout the month.

“This year we’re set to present a totally new discovery of couverture chocolate creations to really celebrate winter, our love of chocolate and local produce!” Leanne said.

Visitors during the Hot Chocolate Festival can also enjoy free chocolate tastings and watch European chocolatiers at work handcrafting over 250 different chocolate products ‐ and when hot chocolate drinking is over, kids can run and play in the landscaped grounds, sculptures and orchard.

For a quick fix closer to the city, here are some of the trendiest spots to get a cuppa of the best chocolate in town.

Australia’s first liquid chocolate brew house, Mörk, is now open in North Melbourne, offering a mouth-watering range of chocolatey beverages and small, custom created bites. Set in what was once a 1960s bakery warehouse, the concept store has been decked out in furniture and adornments made in Melbourne, including porcelain cups designed especially for Mörk by Melbourne artist Missing Ear and handcrafted by Melbourne-based Tufts.

Koko Black is a familiar name among chocolate lovers in Melbourne and is nestled in some of the most iconic landmarks of Melbourne, including the Strand Arcade and Queen Victoria Market. This artisan chocolatier sticks the better part of a block of their finest dark choc into your mug, making for a deep and rich drink. Diners flock to Koko Black to try out their famous chilli chocolates, either in the form of a delicious spiced up truffle or a creamy drink with a kick.

Italian café Brunetti is known for many things, mainly their wide selection of desserts that will have you spoiled for choice. Not to be outshone by the tantalising cakes and pastries, Brunetti’s hot chocolate is a stand out beverage that features a dark indulgence with a fun crunch-filled sip of cereal puffballs. Best of all, Brunetti is easily accessible with two branches right in the city centre, but with how popular the café is, good luck finding a seat!

As winter draws to a close, a comforting cup of chocolate is just right to warm up your soul before we move into the warmer months of spring. With no shortage of boutique cafés and chocolatiers carefully handcrafting beautiful chocolates and beverages, hot chocolate is a must try the next time you visit Melbourne.

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