Hospitality Business Magazine

Lower Hutt July ‘Sweetstakes’ challenge on its way!

Smashed croissants, pandan leaves, macadamia truffle, frozen marshmallows, and drinks incorporating kiwi classics such as buzz bars, crunchies, snickers and maltesers are just some of the delicious flavours on offer for a limited time when the “Sweet As” Hutt’s Hot Chocolate Challenge™ gets underway on July 5.

The Challenge, which began in 2015, involves local cafes putting forth a signature hot chocolate creation and customers voting for their favourite.

Twenty-two 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 between 5 July and 21st July.

This year, the challenge is introducing “Sweetstake”, a fun and engaging way to win amazing prizes. To participate, customers collect three special stickers by purchasing drinks or donating to the foodbank collection for a chance to win one of six fabulous prizes. The Sweetstake draw will take place at the end of the challenge, adding an extra layer of excitement to this year’s event.

Throughout the challenge a special foodbank drive will take place where members of the public will be offered a Sweetstake stamp for any nonperishable food items donated to the food bank located at Buzz Café or CK and Co Realty office in Alicetown. Main sponsors of the Challenge, CK & Co Realty will then ‘pack the van’ and donate the proceeds to the Lower Hutt Food Bank at the end of the challenge.

James Scott, from the Southend Business Group which is organizing the Challenge, is working towards a building a thriving and vibrant community in the Lower Hutt CBD.

“Our vision encompasses all the people and organisations in the Southend, including the Food Bank and the people who depend on their support.  We understand the predicament the Lower Hutt Community Foodbank is currently in with the ever-increasing demand for kai, and the cost-of-living crisis.  Working together and providing mutual support is the surest way to achieve our goal, so we are pleased to have local businesses band together to support this important cause.”

Customers will be given the chance to vote for their favourite hot chocolate on the new Sweet As Hutt’s Hot Chocolate via  QR code at participating cafes with the winning hot chocolate declared at the end of the challenge.

“We are really pumped about the wide range of unique and delectable drinks on offer. 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!” says Scott.

Originality and creativity are once again shown through this year’s entries. Customers can be treated to a Lady Macadamia, a Bridgeton inspired generous sprinkling of toasted macadamia truffle pieces which sit atop Fix Federation’s signature whipped cream; a Butter My Pandan vegan hot chocolate combining the subtle flavour of pandan leaves at Espresso High, a frozen layer of hot chocolate followed by a frozen layer of marshmallow aptly called Freezy Mallow Elegance from JoJo‘s Sweet Treats to traditional style hot chocolates like Smore’d at Coffee’d.

For the full list of the 2024 Hot Chocolate Challenge participants and events visit