Paradise! It’s the ultimate word to describe the feeling when a delicious, mouth-watering, yummy bite of chocolate slowly melts in your mouth. The hangover of this intoxicating ecstasy and fulfilling experience makes you long for more. It feels as if there is nothing better on earth than that dark brown piece of gooey chocolate. This is the effect chocolate has on every chocolate lover on earth, a feeling beyond comparison.
So get ready for an adventure in the luscious world made of chocolate that may make you crave for some while reading it. Here’s presenting you the best chocolate destinations of the world.
This is the place where all the magic as well as the fantasy of chocolate originated, where people consider chocolate as “the drink of the gods”. Oaxaca is a city in south-eastern Mexico where in a year each people consume 5.5 pounds of chocolate on an average. In today’s advanced culinary world, a lot of Oaxaca’s chocolate is made from old family recipes in old fashioned ways. There are numerous chocolate factories here, although the Abastos Market for artisan chocolate stalls, Guelaguetza, La Soledad and Chocolate Mayordomo need special mention.
Belgium is one of the finest chocolate producing countries in the world. The Belgian praline – a chocolaty layer with a soft core is the most favourite among all. This chocolate ball is filled with cream or nut pastes. There are 12 chocolate factories, 16 chocolate museums, 2100 chocolate shops and four famous locations to visit for the chocolate aficionados – Brussels, Halle, Eupen and Bruges. The special delicacies at the Wittamer Café, Pierre Marcolini, Neuhaus, Godiva, Zaabar and Mary in Sablon district in Brussels will be a mesmerizing treat for your taste buds.
The Spanish can boast to be the first among Europeans to experience the deliciousness of chocolate that is considered to be brought back from the New World, and this city has become a hub for all the chocolate- enthusiasts ever since. It has the privilege of discovering the first chocolate machine in 1780. The museum Museo de La Xocolata, features chocolate sculptures, hot chocolate, etc. depicting Barcelona’s enriched chocolate heritage. The big names like Chocolate a la Taza, Chocolates Amatller are still manufacturing world-class chocolates for more than 150 years. Other shops like Dulcinea, Fargas and Pasteleria Escriba are worthy of mention as well.
Tain-l’Hermitage is in a wine-growing district near Lyon in south-eastern France. Based in this small town in the heart of a wine-making nation is Valrhona — a French chocolate manufacturer and world-famed producer of Valrhona chocolates. The chocolate is made with natural fat from cocoa butter and no vegetable fat is added. Here not only world class chocolate is made but there is also a chocolate-cookery school, named “Ecole du Grand Chocolat” where professional chefs, chocolatiers as well as amateurs get provision to learn to make desserts of varied flavours.
World famous chocolate companies like Cailler-Nestle, Toblerone, Lindt, Treuscher and Sprungli find their origin here in Switzerland and owe their fame to this place. Zurich is the heart of chocolate production in Switzerland. For a mind-boggling experience, the Swiss travel system and Nestle in collaboration offer a pleasure trip on “The Swiss Chocolate Train”. This train departs from Montreux and reaches Broc, halting at Gruyeres. At Broc the visitors get to see the Nestle factory. Some worthy chocolate boutique names include Truffe, Schrober and Merkur.
“The sweetest place on earth” as they call it, was originally known as Derry Church but has been later renamed as Hershey, owing to the popularity of Hershey chocolates. This town is home to both the Hershey Company as well as H. B. Reese Company. Some of the eye-catching chocolaty attractions are Hershey’s Chocolate World, the Hershey Story Museum and the Chocolate Spa. Other places that can be visited are Café Zooka, Cocoa Beanery and Iberian lounge.
Often addressed as the “Chocolate City”, Villajoyosa is the home to Spain’s earliest gourmet chocolate manufacturer Valor which was established in 1881. In the 18th century it started importing cocoa beans from Ecuador and Venezuela. The very best of Valor- chocolate with churros is a special one. There is an awesome chocolate museum in Villajoyosa where this history of chocolate making is showcased along with the process of making of the local favourites. Apart from these, the other chocolate stops include Siroco, Chocolate Perez, Chocolates Clavileno, Mokafe and Jose Vinache Soriano Chocolate outlets.
New York, U.S.A
This is the place where chocolatiers from all corners of the globe have come and brought along their recipes for luscious chocolate treats. One can tour with the New Cuisine Chocolate Tour or the Luxury Chocolate Tour to know more about the history of the shops here and the delicacies made. The hot favourite is said to be the Jacques Torres Chocolate with craves like pain au chocolat (chocolate pastry), champagne truffles, rich hot chocolate and chocolate-cloaked almonds. Some of the other best chocolate shops in New York include Mariebelle, Li-Lac and Richart Design Et Chocolat, Chocolate Bar, Magnolia Bakery and Max Brenner.
San Francisco, California
A fine day in chocolate paradise cannot be completed without a visit to the “chocolatically” historical Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, California. Your chocolate tour guide will share with you the legends of the old chocolate factories in the Bay Area. You can savour the taste of fresh chocolates in free tours of factories including that of Scherffen Berger, which has made its mark in history for being the first in manufacturing chocolate bars from coco beans in America. Chocolate hotspots like the XOX Truffle, Coco Luxe, Michael Recchiuti etc. are also worth mention.
Known best as the “chocolate capital” of Germany, this city is home to the world-renowned Stollwerck Chocolate Company, which till some time before was the second largest supplier of chocolates in the United States. The Imhoff Stollwerck, locally known as chocolate museum celebrates the history of chocolate around the world and company’s 150th anniversary and has interactive exhibits, samples and a huge chocolate fountain. Other mentionable chocolate shops are Tortchen Tortchen, Weiber Confectionery, Demnitz Chocolaterie, La Maison du Chocolate, Mama Chocolate and Leonidas Chocolates.
Besides the above chocolate destinations, the Chocolate Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth, England definitely deserves a mention here. Located on the south coast of England, Bournemouth was found to be the happiest place in the UK in a 2007 survey by First Direct. Based on the theme of chocolate, the Chocolate Boutique Hotel is an awesome experience for the Choco-addicts of the world. Here you can eat, drink, breathe, bathe and sleep chocolate. Chocolate-themed rooms, delicious chocolate cocktail at the chocolate-bar, Chocolate Delight Workshops make it a memorable experience.
The unbridled love of people for chocolates has been known since around 1100 BC. There are chocolate lovers all around the world and it is not surprising if you find one who is willing to go that extra mile just to earn his chocolate. If you are a chocolate lover yourself, we suggest you include one of these above mentioned destinations in your itinerary and we promise you would not regret your decision.