The “Sweet As” Hot Chocolate Challenge™ inspires Central Hutt hospitality businesses to design decadent hot chocolates that are fun, amazing and sometimes a bit crazy to help us celebrate winter. These winter warming hot chocolates offer pure hot chocolate enjoyment making winter a bit more fun!
The challenge, into its seventh year, will see fifteen hospitality operators including cafes, restaurants, a couple of pubs and a bakery in Lower Hutt’s City Centre, create their own signature hot chocolate drinks for people to enjoy throughout the school holidays.
This year the challenge takes place between 8-25 July. Information on participating cafes and their hot chocolate will be available on the “Sweet As” website and as a downloadable booklet from 7 July.
After enjoying one of the official hot chocolates, grab your phone and scan the QR Code to vote. The hot chocolate with the most votes wins the title ‘Sweetest Hutt’s Hot Chocolate’.
Hutt City Council founded this challenge to inspire local city centre cafes to be creative as well as draw people out to the City Centre during winter, becoming a much-anticipated annual fixture.
Hutt City Council City Centre Lead, Cyndi Christensen says “More recently than ever we have members of the public contacting us months in advance wanting to know when the challenge is going to take place. The hospitality retailers are already thinking about their signature hot chocolate well ahead too because the challenge has become synonymous with creativity, innovation, and there’s nothing else like it in Aotearoa. More often than not, Café owners don’t want to miss out because they see the benefits it reaps for businesses, especially after the impact COVID had last year on our local businesses.”
Since its inception in 2015, hospitality businesses have reported an increase in new customers – some have experienced an increase in sales of 85% and others have reported an increase in dollars up to $10,000. Last year was particularly hard for the hospitality industry but more than a third of cafes reported on how the Challenge helped them through a post COVID period with one café doubling business.” said Christensen.
Originality and creativity are once again shown through with this year’s entries, there is something for everyone, from outrageous to elegant to kid-friendly.
Back again by popular demand is Buzz cafe’s famous Death by Hot Chocolate Party on 17 July and for the first time Hot Gossip will be offering a mid-winter movie showing and hot chocolate party. Cutlers Gastropub will also be running a Hot Chocolate Happy Hour with three hot chocolates to choose from!