Lower Hutt is warming up for the annual “Sweet As” Hutt Hot Chocolate Challenge™ and for the first time will host a series of events throughout the challenge when it gets underway next week.

The challenge, which runs from tomorrow – (World Chocolate Day – July 7 ), until July 24, involves local cafes putting forth a signature hot chocolate creation and customers voting for their favourite concoction. The challenge is believed to be the only one of its kind in Australasia.

“The challenge has become such a huge hit on the winter events calendar we felt it was the right time to develop it further and introduce fun activities and events that will run throughout the course of the challenge.

“This allows for more activities around the wider Hutt City as the challenge is focused solely on hospitality operators in the CBD. This is huge for the region and really puts us on the map. Lower Hutt is certainly the place to be in July!” says challenge founder, Cyndi Christensen.

A record 20 hospitality operators including cafes, restaurants, pubs, a bakery, and a sweet shop in Lower Hutt’s City Centre, have created their own signature hot chocolate drinks for people to enjoy throughout the school holidays.

Customers will be given the chance to vote for their favourite hot chocolate via QR codes available at each café with the winning hot chocolate declared at the end of the challenge.

Events which will run during the challenge include a Biscoff Hot Chocolate and Donut Scoff! hosted by Fix Federation, where a selection of people will be challenged to smash back a donut and Biscoff Smash Hot Chocolate before their fellow contestants; French Hot Chocolate Tastings at The Chocolate Story; and a Death By Chocolate evening at Buzz café for unlimited hot chocolate and topping treats; Hot Chocolate Karaoke and a Sweet As Hot Chocolate Quiz Night at Cutlers and ‘Design you own Superhero’ custom made hot chocolate designs sketches using technology never used before in New Zealand at Hudson’s.

The Southend Business Group will host three community events called “Design Your own Hot Chocolate” featuring a mystery box of ingredients to make and taste a novel hot chocolate.

Hutt City Council City Centre Lead, Cyndi Christensen says “We are really pumped about the events on offer and love the innovations and creativity of ideas from the cafés.

“The record number of hospitality operators taking part, including several newcomers, is testament to the impact the challenge has on their business in many ways. We can’t wait to show off the Hutt Valley to the rest of New Zealand and can only encourage people to make the most of it. Bring it on!”

Originality and creativity are once again shown through with this year’s entries. Customers can be treated to the country’s first ever frozen hot chocolate from Jojo Sweet Treats, a traditional ‘PB&J Smores’ house made flame toasted marshmallow hot chocolate at Bellbird café, to a savoury style Miso and Umami flavoured gourmet hot chocolate at Espresso High, to a drink involving everything with Biscoff at Fix Federation and even a flamed orange, Irish cream and wicked white chocolate decorated with one of three superheroes at Hudsons.

For the full list of the 2022 Hot Chocolate Challenge participants and events visit https://www.facebook.com/sweetaschallenge/

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