Calgary woman samples dozens of hot cocoas at YYC Hot Chocolate Fest in memory of her late mother
Hot chocolate mixed with Prosecco. Tiramisu flavored sips. Spicy hot drinks served with golden biscuits.
Katie Klingvall has tried them all. Or at least she’s trying to as Calgary’s YYC Hot Chocolate Fest continues.
She and her mother, Gillian Klingvall, started it about five years ago when they got lost looking for the best cocoa in town. This year, however, she’s traveling around with only her mother’s photo, continuing the tradition without her.
“She passed away in January, and that was our thing … We would always share one,” she said in an interview with The home track Wednesday.
“I wanted to honor her in a way, so it was a huge motivator and to some extent a distraction to do so many and take her on yet another adventure.”
Klingvall has tasted 48 hot chocolates so far this year. She brings a framed picture of her mother to every place and takes a new picture of her with each cup.
“It’s nice because I’m taking a moment to think about her and think about what she would have thought about it,” she said.
YYC Hot Chocolate Fest has been held every February since 2011, bringing together more than 100 coffee shops across the city – and beyond – to whip up their finest chocolate creations.
This year there are more than 170 different drinks to choose from and customers can vote for their favourite.
HEAR | Katie Klingvall describes the best hot chocolates she’s tried so far:
A few dollars from every purchase supports Calgary Meals On Wheels, which aims to provide nutritious, affordable meals to everyone in need.
One of the reasons Klingvall and her mother enjoyed their tradition is that they supported the cause.
Klingvall says the most hot chocolate she’s ever tasted in one day was eight. Her mother drew the line at four.
“I mean, probably the amount I’ve done, she’d be like, good heavens, which I can’t blame her for… I’ll say I’m not finishing them all,” she laughed.
“But Calgary Meals on Wheels is for a good cause, [and] She was a very, very charitable person. She loved working with her community… she also loved doing this with me because she knew it was going to charity.
Konnor Weed, events coordinator at Calgary Meals on Wheels, said he’s heard from people traveling from Edmonton to try the frothy creations during the festival or from companies taking a trip during their lunch break, but Klingvall may be their biggest be a fan
“I am very happy to hear that our festival can bring joy to someone who is going through a difficult time in their life,” he said. “Every little bit really helps us.”
The organization hopes to raise $100,000 by the end of the festival.
Klingvall is doing her part, but she said she doesn’t think she’ll be logistically or physically able to test every hot chocolate available.
However, it’s nice to see all the different locations and unique drinks, part of the adventure that she and her mom loved.
“There are so many smaller independent businesses that are part of that,” she said. “They are amazing and put their heart and soul into creating these beautiful hot chocolates.”
At the end of the month, Klingvall said she’s usually ready not to see another cup of hot cocoa for the rest of the year.
Still, she enjoys the trip.
“I would like to continue because it was something we did together.”