HoCho Fest Day 13: Twisted Romance

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What a sunny day we had here!

With good company at my side, today’s hot chocolate festival visit took me to a spot I visited during last year’s festival: Gem Chocolates. To the unprimed eye, one may mistake the location for a small Bell outlet, based on its simplistic white and blue exterior – but when you walk inside, you are greeted with not the latest cell phones, but the delicious aroma of chocolates crafted by the store’s visionary, Glenn.

Uncertain about the flavour, I ordered my Twisted Romance with soy milk rather than almond (slight uncertainty on Glenn’s face as he took my run-on-sentence order); you see, the second of three drinks offered at Gem’s is flavoured with Aussie black licorice (that’s how they’ve spelled it online, at least). As it has been some time since I indulged in anything of this flavour due to my acquired childhood aversion to it, I thought that the soy milk would cause less of a fuss flavour-wise.

You’ll go gaga over hot chocolate made with Aussie natural black licorice. 
Served with chocolate-dipped natural black licorice. 
Available: January 25 – February 2

I was surprised by my fondness of the drink – perhaps it was because I was being inducted into the black licorice world by way of creamy soy milk absorbing the stronger taste and not being shocked by it. AA and I both agreed that it was a very nice surprise! And beautifully topped with, what we eventually discovered was, chocolate dipped licorice (I couldn’t get a hold of it until I got to the bottom of the drink!).

Alongside the drink, I was expecting the item listed online: chocolate-dipped natural black licorice. Out of kindness I’d like to think, Glenn acknowledged that A and I shared one beverage, and he gave us two types of treats: One, the chocolate-dipped licorice, and the other his “Zebra” creation. The Zebra (he pronounces it “zeh-bra” not “zee-bra”) is a “natural Australian black licorice infusion in dark ganache”… and it is delicious.

The beverage was consumed with slight haste, as the sun was shining directly into the store window and was melting our chocolate and making it feel quite like summer time. Once complete, we turned our attention to Glenn, and I asked how he creates a black licorice-flavoured hot chocolate; his response was lengthy and sounded very impressive. Though I do not recall the process, I do know that he expressed his wishes for me to have tried it with almond milk, because it would have been a lighter milk and may have showcased the flavour a bit more. Kindly, again, he shared the raw ganache with us – prior to being added to a drink – and I think it would have been very good with almond milk!

Amidst all of the enlightening conversation, I also learned why the shop is named as it is! But perhaps you should go speak to Glenn about that yourself, as it will give you a good excuse to enjoy a treat.

Their next flavour has cherry and fig, so that should be fun!

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