Hot chocolate lovers in the Wellington region will be salivating when New Zealand’s only hot chocolate challenge kicks off in Lower Hutt this month.
The SWEET AS Hutt's Hot Chocolate Challenge, into it’s third year, will see 13 hospitality operators including cafes, restaurants, bars and a bakery in Lower Hutt create their own signature hot chocolate drinks for people to enjoy over three weeks. Customers will be the given the chance to vote for their favourite drink by ballot or on SWEET AS Hutt’s Hot Chocolate Facebook page, with the winner declared at the end of the challenge which takes place between 13 – 30 July.
The challenge, founded by the Hutt City Council as a way to inspire local cafes to be creative and attract people to the Lower Hutt CBD, has grown in popularity since it was launched in 2015.
Council’s CBD Development Manager Cyndi Christensen received feedback from the participants reporting “We’ve not only seen a jump in cafe’s wanting to participate in the challenge but the number of hot chocolates consumed keeps rising every year. In 2015, over 3,000 hot chocolates were made and that rose to more than 5,000 last year. We are expecting this year to be even bigger and better!”
Previous winners include Gotham Cafe on Margaret Street for 'Tears of a Joker', a butterscotch hot chocolate creation and Cafe Iwi in Waiwhetu won last year for 'Hot Chocolate CAKE!!!'.
Signature drinks over the past two years have ranged from the weird and whacky to delicious flavour combinations such as cardamom and rose infusion, gingerbread and toasted coconut.
Customers will be in for a treat this year with a wide range of flavoursome and wonderful signature hot chocolates with alcohol or non-alcoholic versions to tempt any taste buds.
Christensen says “It’s a great opportunity for people to get out of the house over winter, try out new cafes they otherwise wouldn’t have usually frequented as well as bring family and friends together socially over a delicious hot chocolate! It also gives businesses in the Hutt Valley participating a real boost in terms of customers and exposure. Last year’s winner Cafe Iwi did so well they ended up making 10 litre batches daily. And many of the cafes continued to offer their signature drinks to customers because they were such a hit.”
For the first time this year, the ‘SWEET AS passport’ is being introduced where punters who vote and complete their ‘passport’ will go into a draw to win a $1,000 travel voucher by HelloWorld Lower Hutt.
The monthly Kai on High Street event will also feature a food truck competition on Thursday 20 July.
More information: Rebecca Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 205 7718