Being a chocoholic myself, sugar rushes are no strange phenomenon to me. Experiencing that sugar rush is so worth the judgmental stares, the alertness and the tingly sensation of having chocolate envelop you. Why? Because chocolate makes the world better.
Chocolate doesn’t lie. Chocolate doesn’t judge. Chocolate won’t betray you (except maybe in the form of diabetes later on in life, so consume in moderation!). From taunting Dairy Milk Silk Ads to constant commericals about dry fruit celebration packs, chocolates come in all shapes and sizes.
Life tip: If you put chocolate in any other sweet dessert, whether its sponge cake, tiramisu, ice cream or even a smoothie, it’s bound to enhance the flavor. Also, cocoa beans have been known to produce several advantageous side effects as well. Consuming dark chocolate even reduces the incidence of several. So who’s complaining? Not me.
The next time you’re deciding what exotic land to travel to and you’re a chocoholic like myself, remind yourself the treat you’re in for if you go to one of these 10 places in countries around the world that are popular for their fabulous chocolate:
#10: Cologne, Germany
Cologne is known as the “chocolate” capital of Germany. Why, you ask? It is home to the Stollwerk Chocolate Company, the rumored second largest exporter of chocolate to the United States.
On celebrating its 150th anniversary, a museum was created to establish and put on display its chocolatier prowess. Since then it has grown into a grand museum by the name of “Imhoff Stollwerk Museum” which celebrates choolate around the world and offers little tidbits of history (and tidbits and samples of chocolate as a bonus!).
They also apparently have a giant chocolate fountain. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head to Cologne!
#9: Tain L’Hermitage, France
This one is going to be tricky because we can’t really pronounce its name but its worth the effort learning it now because you’re in for a treat (literally). In the heart of the wine country and only a train ride away from the famous city Lyon, it is home to the globally renowned chocolate producer, Valrhona.
The “Valrhona Ecole du Grand Chocolat” is, as its name implies, a school where professional chefs, caterers and chocolatiers are born. They even host three day courses where amateurs learn the tricks of the trade.
Valrhona is officially one of the leading chocolate producers in the world.
#8: Hershey, Pennsylvania
I can vouch for this one myself because I’ve been here! A fun museum-like-exhibition building where children swarm, there is an exciting 3D mystery chocolate Reese’s buttercups movie to watch, a train ride around town and an opportunity to create, decorate and manufacture your own Hershey bars with your favorite toppings and flavors with the press of a few buttons.
Who needs to make babies when you can make your own Chocolate (and print your name on the cover to patent it?).
#7: NYC, New York
The city, among other treasures and entertainment galore, is no stranger to good chocolate shops. What makes this location unique is that chocolatiers from all over the world swarm to this magnificent city to project their skill, thus increasing competition which ultimately benefits us consumers from having several different options.
Visitors can take the New Cuisine Chocolate Tour or the Luxury Chocolate Tour, where you can learn about the history of these chocolate shops.
The best shop is reputed to be Jacques Torres Chocolate, with his famous champagne truffles, rich hot chocolate and pain du chocolate.
#6: Villajoyosa, Spain
Called the “Chocolate City”, Spain does in no way lag behind any of these other countries in terms of chocolate production. This city’s chocolate history began in the 18th century when it began importing chocolate from South American nations like Venezuela and Ecuador.
Spain’s oldest gourmet producer, Valor, has been up and running successfully since 1881.
Villajoyosa’s chocolate museum also discloses secrets about how their local favorite chocolate recipes are made (Churros is a local speciality that must not be missed).
#5: San Francisco, California
Destination to several chocolate lovers, the Bay Area is one of the oldest locations for the markings of chocolate history within the United States.
Ghirardelli Square is an expansion on the old Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, formed during the California Gold Rush.
#4: Oaxaca, Mexico
Mesoamericans were the world’s first chocolatiers and continue to dominate with a large share of production. Residents in this small town have embraced and accepted chocolate as a significant part of their culture and are not surprised when they are offered chocolate in different forms when they stroll down the street (a stroll we definitely wouldn’t mind taking!)
The chocolate is made with old family recipes and made manually, by mixing with hand with the old-fashioned charm.
#3: Barcelona, Spain
Home to not just magnificent footballers, Barcelona was home to finest chocolate from over the world due to being the first Europeans that traveled and experienced chocolate.
The first chocolate making machine was built there in 1780. Museo de La Xocolata, boasts everything from chocolate sculptures to hot chocolate.
#2: Zurich, Switzerland
Switzerland consumes more chocolate per person than any other country, and serves as a hub to world renowned chocolate makers like Nestle, Cailler, Lindt, Toblerone etc.
For a truly unique experience, the Swiss Travel System, along with Cailler-Nestle, offers an excursion on “The Swiss Chocolate Train.”
#1: Brussels, Belgium
The entire country is chocolate paradise with 12 chocolate factories, 16 chocolate museums and over 21000 chocolate shops. The city has Godiva and Leonidas, the biggest chocolate companies in the world.
The Musee de Cacao gives informative sessions on how chocolate is made. And why would we refuse a tour of that from the finest chocolatiers in the world?