For everyone who loves chocolate as much as I do, it’s time to plan a vacation swirling with chocolate tours and adventures. Nothing matches the euphoric lift after munching on a creamy chocolate delight. Here are eight destinations for immersing yourself in chocolate ecstasy on your next vacation, surely the world’s best chocolate vacations!
Belgium Chocolate Scene
Belgium reigns supreme as masters of the cocoa bean. Since the days of colonization in The Belgian Congo in the late 1800′s, cocoa has been shipped to Belgium to be crafted into dark creamy delights. Today Belgium has over a dozen major chocolate factories producing 172,000 TONS of chocolate per year. You’ll find chocolate shops to tempt you around most every corner, as the country now sports over 2,000 confectionery shops! Visit the Musee due Cocao et du Chocolate in Brussels or The Chocolate Story in Bruges. And for a full chocolate immersion, don’t miss the Chocolate Festival that takes place each year in early May in Bruges.
Switzerland Chocolate Scene
Switzerland is famous for their three top tier chocolate producers, Lindt, Sprungli and Teuscher. For a very sweet ride, hop aboard The Chocolate Train – a delicious 8 hour full day excursion. Departing from Montreux (east of Geneve on “the Swiss Riviera”), the train travels to Gruyeres, famous for their cheese, vineyards and stunning views. After a stop to sample the best of Gruyeres, it’s off to Broc, home of world famous Nestle, the chance to tour their factory and gorge yourself on their milk chocolate yummies. You’ll be ‘rolling’ back into Montreux for sure!! Visit MySwitzerland.com and enter their contest to win an assortment of Swiss Chocolates!
France Chocolate Scene
France enters the contest with chef’s favorite Valrhona. Their School of Grand Chocolate welcomes pastry chefs from across the globe to tune up their chocolate rendering skills. Novices like us are welcomed to the Tain l’Hermitage for non-professional classes during March, July and August.
London Chocolate Scene
London rounds out the scene across the pond with Chocolate Ecstasy Tours. Step off on a four hour guided walking tour of the finest chocolate boutiques of London.
AND, the USA in no slouch in chocolate offerings, just have a peak:
USA Chocolate Scene
Boston, where a thriving Faneuil Hall Marketplace has offered chocolate confections for centuries, today offers a fun loving Chocolate Trolley Tour. Visitors learn about the origin of (my favorite) – the Toll House cookie, the hot fudge sundae (I’m thinking Brighams here), the first chocolate factory in America, and who could miss the ever yummy Boston Cream Pie! This is a 3 hour tour of chocolate decadence. An alternative is the Boston Chocolate Tours and Classes who offer a variety of chocolate walking tours and in-house classes of chocolate making and tasting.
Chicago has one of the best chocolate aficionados around, Chicago Chocolate Tours.com. Valerie Beck, Chief Chocolate Lover, knows where all the chocolate delicacies are hidden from pralines to fudge topped cup cakes. All you gals will want to sign up for the Friday February 13th Chocolate and Champagne Girls Night out and couples can enjoy three days of Valentine Day celebration tours. Gotta love those flavonoids!
You’ve just got to love a city that dedicates itself to the eternal love of chocolate – as Hershey Pennsylvania has done for over 100 years, calling itself “The Sweetest Place on Earth”. Can there be any doubt that fountains overflow with sweet dark creamy goodness and the air is heavy with scent of chocolate baking? January ’09 will see the debut of the Hershey Museum chronicling the journey of Milton S. Hershey from rags to riches as he introduced great innovation to the production of chocolate. There’s great entertainment in Hershey for all ages, from the Hershey Amusement Park, to Chocolate World, to the 4 diamond Hotel Hershey Resort and it’s sumptuous Chocolate Spa. Be pampered with a whipped cocoa bath, a chocolate bean polish or a cocoa oil message. Not only will dine on wonderful chocolate concoctions, but you can immerse your entire being in chocolaty goodness – WOW.
Then there’s the all time best display of chocolate in every form conceivable at the New York Chocolate Show. Dazzling the city for three straight days each year in late October/early November, you’ll see chocolate sculpted into jewelry, couture fashions, and incorporated into every food group imaginable. This show has become so popular that there are now chocolate shows in Tokyo, Paris, Beijing, Moscow and Madrid. Or you can find hidden troves of chocolate all week long with NYC chocolate walking tours with Sweet Walks.com.
We all know that money makes the world go round, but certainly chocolate can’t be far behind!