There are more than 300 chocolate shops listed in the Parisian phonebook, including everything from charming independent boutiques to renowned chains and awarded artisan chocolatiers who’ve been recognized around the world for innovation and excellence. Dark chocolate is the specialty here, with the French capital hosting a new breed of chocolatiers noted for making miracles from cocoa beans using high quality ingredients and original recipes. The world’s largest consumer chocolate show, held in conjunction with the World Chocolate Master Championships, takes place here every second year. Walking tours also offer the chance to taste your way around the city while learning about the history of chocolate.
Bariloche is a city in the province of Rio Negro in the foothills of the Andes on the southern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake. From regular chocolate bars to all types of fruit-stuffed chocolate, it’s a true paradise for any cocoa connoisseur. Stroll through Calle Mitre, and discover an abundance of chocolate shops and factories where the sweet treat can be purchased for a fair price and most shopkeepers will be happy to answer any questions you have about the wonderful goods they’re selling.
Tuscany is home to what’s known as The Chocolate Valley, a triangle formed between Florence, Pisa and Montecatini. This picturesque countryside of rolling hills is dotted with many fantastic gourmet shops and small factories dedicated to chocolate. If you’d like a taste in Florence, be sure to visit Vestri for some of the finest chocolate on earth. If you can’t decide what to get, go with the dark chocolate and Sicilian orange gelato. Other legendary chocolatiers include Slitti, located in the spa resort of Monsummano Terme and Amedei in the tiny hamlet of Cascina. If you happen to visit Florence from February 6 to February 15, don’t miss the handmade chocolate fair where you’ll be intoxicated by the smell of chocolate and enjoy taking a trip around the world to the taste of cocoa.
The Spanish were the very first Europeans to experience chocolate that was brought back from South America, and Barcelona has been a popular place for chocolate lovers ever since. The city takes pride in the fact that the first chocolate making machine was built here back in 1780. It’s also home to Museu De La Xocolata, a chocolate museum where you’ll learn all about cocoa, see some incredible chocolate sculptures and even take part in all sorts of activities, including chocolate tastings and painting with chocolate.
Cologne is Germany’s capital and home to the Stollwerck Chocolate Company, once the second largest supplier of chocolate to America, while the Imhoff Stollwerck Museum, known locally as simply “the chocolate museum,” was the result of a lifelong dream of Hans Imhoff. It celebrates the history of chocolate around the world, featuring a giant chocolate fountain, interactive exhibits and samples. Here you’ll find out anything and everything you ever wanted to know about chocolate.
New York City, USA
One of the best ways to sample the incredible variety of chocolate in New York City is to take a chocolate-focused tour like the Luxury Chocolate Tour or a Chocolate, Dessert & Wine Tour with City Food Tours. The tours include delectable chocolates from some of the finest shops in the city and offer the chance to learn about the history of the establishments you visit.
Villajoyosa is sometimes referred to as “Chocolate City.” The smell of chocolate permeates the small town. It is one of the most historic chocolate destinations in the world. The town is home to one of the oldest and most prestigious chocolate factories in all of Spain, Valor Chocolate, master chocolatiers since 1881. The factory is housed in a charming 19th century country estate known as a “finca,” and has always been family-run. Valor also invites visitors into their onsite museum, for free, and offers a tour of the premises where you can learn all about the art of chocolate making. Be sure to try their chocolate with churros, an amazing local specialty.
Chocolate is deeply woven into Oaxaca’s history and culture. The ancient Mesoamericans in the region were the world’s very first chocolatiers, cultivating chocolate as far back as 1100 BC, and Mexico has continued to produce it ever since. In Oaxaca, visitors will find they can’t walk down a street without being offered chocolate in some form, whether it’s a hot beverage, pastry or candy. You’ll find much of the city’s chocolate is made using old family recipes handed down through generations, ground by hand or using an electric grinder and mixed by hand.
Costa Rica is a fantastic tropical destination for chocolate lovers. The chocolate bean, harvested from the cocoa tree, has long been a tradition here. Most of Costa Rica’s cocoa comes from the Caribbean lowlands, providing perfect climatic conditions with plenty of rain. As cocoa requires shade to grow, it’s also prevented deforestation and conserved a lot of the country’s wild life, which finds shelter in the plantations. Many of the plantations offer tours, and through Cacao Trails in Limon, visitors can take an interactive chocolate tour and learn about the local cacao history.
Large chocolate companies have already been sourcing cocoa beans from South India for many years. But in recent times, there have been some interesting and new developments in the region. Industrial chocolate makers, artisanal chocolate creators, and talented chocolatiers have set up shop in Kochi to cater to the refined taste of a growing class of Indian customers looking for pure, natural, and premium products. All this has made South India one of the most important destinations in India for chocolate.
So the next time you want to eat good chocolate consider Kochi as a possible destination!