Colab Café has been crowned winners of the 2019 ‘Sweet As’ Hutt Hot Chocolate Challenge with their edible hot chocolate cup. During the three week challenge, Colab Café sold 3782 ‘Colab Cookie Cups’, and beat out 16 other hospitality operators to win the competition this year.

The competition pitted Lower Hutt cafés, bars, restaurants and bakeries against each other, where contestants had to create and sell signature hot chocolate drinks. Customers were then given the power to vote for their favourite winter treat.

Colab Café partnered with The Cookie Project, an Auckland-based social enterprise, who had created an edible cookie cup. During the competition, the drink proved so popular that Colab ran out of cups over the first weekend. Claire Matheson, owner of Colab Café, said, “We were completely blown away with the cup’s popularity; we sold 787 in the first three days and had no idea we were going to sell out, especially in such a short timeframe.”

“To be crowned the winner of this year’s challenge is really humbling. It’s been a long and hard ride with months of preparation and planning, and it’s a real testament to my wonderful staff and The Cookie Project who have put in the hard yards.”

Colab Café beat out second-place, Tutaki Café and their ‘Whero Berry Pop’ by over 2000 purchases. The competition was a way of inspiring locals to get involved, and get creative in their local café scene, as well as hoping to draw people into the CBD. Cyndi Christensen, founder of the competition, and CBD development manager said, “The challenge has really established itself and become a real hit for the Hutt valley hospitality scene. It really does get bigger and better every year.”

“The number of hot chocolates sold during the first four years of the challenge was around 15,000. This year alone, we have achieved almost 15,000. Now that is what I call success. More than 8,000 votes were cast this year in comparison with 1,100 in 2018.”

While the competition has ended, several venues are continuing their limited-time offerings until stock runs out, or for a little while longer. Colab Café intends on keeping their prize-winning drink, with an addition of a few extra flavours.