CALGARY -- When it comes to dreaming up a winning cup of hot chocolate, it’s all about new and original ideas according to corporate chef Daryl Kerr at Cravings Market Restaurant. They’ve won the competition before and are always looking for ways to delight the taste buds of Calgarians.

“We just want to come up with something that blows people away when they eat it,” said Kerr “And they’re like we haven’t seen anything like this or tasted anything like this before.”

This year the restaurant wanted to create more of a Canadian-themed drink, so they came up withsomething they call Cherry Blossom Bliss. Over 70 establishments have signed up to compete for the city's favourite cup of hot chocolate for 2021.

This is the third year Mike O’Brien and his family have helped judge it by sampling drinks and rating them on the event’s app.

“This is fantastic,” said O’Brien. “It’s certainly something to look forward to and having part of it as a fundraiser for the charity Meals on Wheels, it’s wonderful.”

YYC Hot Chocolate Fest

Raising money for Meals on Wheels

Robyn Weatherly is a spokes person for the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest and says in 10 years in Calgary it’s raised over $164,000 for Meals on Wheels.

“(Participants) can choose a hot chocolate from amazing selection this year and go try it,” said Weatherly. “A dollar from each hot chocolate and two dollars from each spirited hot chocolate (go) to Calgary Meals on Wheels to support Calgarians.”

The charity saw a 30 per cent increase in demand for its services in 2020.  Stephanie Ralph, the philanthropy and communications manager says a lot of that is due to the pandemic.

“I think there’s about 16 to 18 people in our production area and if you think about that last year they made nearly 800,000 meals,” said Ralph. “We always say we haven’t missed a day of scheduled deliver and we did not miss a day during the pandemic so we’re very proud of that.”

Ralph says the agency is seeing a larger variety of people using the service now.

“We are servicing students, we’re servicing individuals of all ages,” said Ralph. “Families are using our service so really honestly anybody in Calgary can access Calgary Meals on Wheels and that’s one thing we’d like to make sure people know.”

“Calgarians just seem to want to support their community right now,“ said Weatherly. “Whether it’s sipping hot chocolates at local businesses that are struggling or giving back here at Meals on Wheels, it’s been amazing to see.”

Learn more about YYC Hot Chocolate Fest here: