COVID-19: NZ's only hot chocolate challenge a way to bring Wellington businesses back to life

New Zealand's only hot chocolate challenge has kicked off in Wellington this week, with cafes competing to make the most decadent and creative drink.

The challenge brings in people from far and wide and it's a tough and delicious competition.

Organiser Cyndi Christensen started the challenge in Lower Hutt six years ago and has seen it grow in size over the years, with more locals wanting a taste of liquid gold.

She said it's a great way to bring small businesses back to life.

"It raises a profile of the CBD hospitality businesses and brings more people into the city centre, especially during winter. I think the most unique one this year is an apple pie white spiced chocolate, which is really good."

Fifteen cafes have entered the competition this year, which means 15 exciting new flavours for everyone to try - from decadent desserts to artistic creations, like earl grey hot chocolate.

Even the biggest chocoholics are in for a treat. Atrium Cafe has created an orange chocolate concoction topped with fresh brownie and a flaming meringue.

"We wanted it to look amazing and taste amazing and have that 'wow' effect," head chef Anja Hajdarvic said.

The challenge is so popular even local MPs Chris Bishop and Ginny Anderson couldn't resist, and Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry is also a fan.

"The three hot chocolates I've had today - I'll have to go to the gym after this - they've all been pretty good so 10/10," Barry said.

An added attraction of a pop-up hot chocolate stop is also there this year, where for a gold coin locals can create their own drink.

The hot chocolate challenge is around for the next three weeks so that everyone, even those with eyes bigger than their stomach, can have a chocolate creation that would give even Willy Wonka a run for his money.