Are you a diehard Chocoholic? Do your friends think you like chocolate too much? This list is for you!
Learn and experience how different parts of the world celebrate and make chocolate. This list will be sure to jet set you across the globe giving you a multi-sensory experience worthy of any chocolate aficionado. So let this list guide you on your next vacation plans.
In addition to LA’s first Bean-to-Bar Factory, ChocoVivo, here are 11 destinations that are worth their weight in gold or cacao (whichever you find more valuable) 😊
Photo Credit: ChocolateEsctacyTours.com
12) London, England
A chocolate revolution re-awakened London’s thirst for chocolate a few years ago when dozens of high end chocolatiers opened up shops producing fresh bars with local ingredients like goat cheese and caramelized rose petals. Many tours are offered throughout the city. One that caught our eye is the Chocolate Ecstasy Tour, rated 5 stars since 2005. London is also where Cocoa futures a global benchmark in setting the price of Cocoa for around Europe and beyond.
Photo Credit: Barcelonas.com
11) Museu De La Xocolata (Barcelona, Spain)
The Spanish were the first Europeans to experience chocolate that was brought back from the Americas and it has been a popular food ever since. Barcelona takes pride in being where the first chocolate machine was made way back in 1780. This museum also features chocolate and pastry classes and fine dessert dining events. If you visit, be sure to check their calendar and plan around a complete experience! Many travel companies have tours dedicated to chocolate exclusively where you are guided through the city on the many chocolate shops that have become a staple throughout.
Photo Credit: Postmates: Teuscher Chocolates
10) Zurich, Switzerland
Switzerland is known world-wide for its smooth milk chocolate. The Lindt & Sprungli Chocolate Factory features a museum chronicling the company’s history, an entertaining tour and lots of free chocolate tasting! If you want to try something really unique, take a ride on the Swiss Chocolate Train. It departs from Montreaux, makes a stop in Gruyeres, where Gruyere cheese is made, and finally arrives in Broc for a tour of the Cailler-Nestle Factory. Another fabulous adventure can be had on Bahnhofstrasse, the most expensive and exclusive shopping street in Zurich, where you’ll find some of the best chocolatiers in the world! Teuscher, an old-fashioned chocolate shop offers more than a hundred different specialties – all made according to traditional, chemical-free recipes. The Champagne Truffles are legendary, made with Don Perignon champagne and buttercream dark chocolate ganache.
Photo Credit: Hotelchocolat.com/boucan
9) St. Lucia (Caribbean)
Looking for a more exotic locale? Boasting with clear blue waters and some of the most pristine beaches, this island nation has resorts with their own cacao plantations that cater to chocolate admirers! Hotel Chocolat Boucan is run by an English chocolatier who makes his chocolate with cacao from the hotel’s estate. You can indulge in its “Cocoa Cuisine,” dishes built around the enjoyment of cacao, or head to a special spa treatment in “Cocoa Juvenate.” Bonus points if you visit in August when St. Lucia residents celebrate Chocolate Heritage Month!
Photo Credit: Youtube Video Snapshot; In The Loop
8) Hershey, Pennsylvania
“Chocolate Town, USA” or “The Sweetest Place on Earth” are common monickers for this city famous for its industrial chocolate factory. Hershey’s Chocolate World is a family friendly experience with attractions like Hershey's Great Chocolate Factory Mystery in 4D, the Hershey Trolley Works, Wrap Happiness, and a free Chocolate Tour ride!
Photo Credit: Japantravel.com; Peter Lin
7) Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo has a long and rich history and has always been seen as cutting edge and ahead of the curve, and with chocolate this is no exception. Make sure to visit in January when Tokyo has the Salon Du Chocolat (Paris Chocolate Show) convention. This is when chocolatiers gather to show off their wares and introduce their brand to a market that enjoys and appreciates the craft. San Francisco-based, Dandelion, opened their first international store here. Now they have four throughout Japan. Something else to see is a shop called 100% Chocolate Cafe which is operated by Meiji, a large chocolate snack company that has its HQ in the same building. It offers various sponge cakes (with a choice of fresh chocolate frostings), chocolate cakes, chocolate ice creams, chocolate tasting sets, chocolate drinks and 56 varieties of chocolate, including 22 single-origin chocolates, individually boxed and colour-coded. The longest wall of the cafe is decorated with tubs filled with the 56 chocolate varieties.
Photo Credit: NBC News; Erica Ayisi
6) Accra, Ghana
Ghanna dominated Cacao production for nearly a century after shortly introducing the crop in 1870. It is now second behind Cote D’Ivoire and exports nearly 1/5 of the world’s cocoa. You can find many tours to see plantations. More and more of the population are becoming daily consumers of cacao. There are many notable pockets of Ghanaians turning cacao into gourmet chocolate. If you visit Accra, be sure to do a chocolate tasting at ‘57 Chocolate. A “Revolutionary artisanal chocolate made from bean to bar by a dynamic duo of Pan-African sisters. Pioneered in Accra, Ghana, ‘57 Chocolate is on a mission to revive Ghana’s 1957 “can-do spirit”.”
Photo Credit: HaciendaJesusMaria.com
5) Tabasco, Mexico
Referred to as the “Garden of Eden” because it supplies the majority of the nation’s food supply with a climate and landscape that allows a variety of crops, including cacao, vanilla and coffee, to thrive. Make sure to visit Hacienda Jesús María, the passionate organic chocolate plantation where we source our cacao beans. Tour the plantation and see the chocolate making process up close. Finish with a tasting and a whole new perspective on chocolate and cacao!
Photo Credit: claveturismo.com/en/republica-del-cacao
4) Quito, Ecuador
This South American capital makes the most chocolate per capita! There is so much variety and competition between the numerous chocolate makers. Many cacao farms here produce their own chocolate. The most popular is a variety of cacao native to Ecuador named ‘Arriba Nacional’ prized for its aromatic and mild qualities, where even a pure 100% cacao bar can seem sweet. At this time, Ecuador not only intends to become a world leader in cocoa production, but it also aspires to take measured steps until it becomes a “chocolate country”. República del Cacao has established close and productive ties with farmers, cocoa dealers and processors, entrepreneurs, chefs and renowned global chocolatiers. República del Cacao´s vision is based mainly on cooperation and inclusion. It supports more than two thousand fine cocoa small farmers, supporting them in planting, processing and selling their fine cacao, while they systematically gain better positioning in the chocolate world.
Photo Credit: Aloha Chocolate Co.
3) Hawaii, United States of America
Being the only state in the US that can grow cacao; this would be the only true American made chocolate. It is also the coldest place in the world where chocolate grows, making it known as the ‘North Pole of Cacao’. The islands mostly grow and harvest the heirloom Criollo variety of cacao, which accounts for only 15% of all cacao varieties grown. The big island boasts many popular tours and tastings from small growers, so make this a stop in your food/agricultural tour of Hawaii. Another great spot to find fine handmade chocolates would be at local farmer’s markets found across the islands.
Photo Credit: carnifest.com/the-eurochocolate-festival-of-perugia-2018/
2) Perugia and Turin, Italy
Italy’s chocolate making is renowned and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where Italy’s chocolate capital is. But you may as well visit Perugia AND Turin where the two towns have a chocolate rivalry! In Turin, get your chocolate on during a 2-hour walking tour indulging in 4 different chocolate tastings. Turin has dozens of different chocolate shops with the first appearing in 1678 by royal decree. The Duke of Savoy married a Spanish King’s daughter, and cacao already being enjoyed by the royals in Spain, made its way to Italy. Italy is a little bit smaller than California, so it’s easy to explore both Turin and Perugia, only 6 hours either by train or car. In Perugia you can enjoy a 9 day chocolate festival called EuroChocolate. Try Perugina, a famous Chocolate company founded in 1907 by four Italians who went on to create Baci, possibly the most famous Italian chocolate in the world: a crunchy hazelnut, surrounded by hazelnut praline, all covered in chocolate. “Baci” mean “kiss” in Italian, therefore the original kiss chocolate, Hersey’s kisses came later. The original was made with dark chocolate, but now it also comes in milk and white chocolate varieties.
Photo Credit: ChocoVivo
1) ChocoVivo (Los Angeles, California)
Finally we have arrived at LA’s first Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Factory. ChocoVivo is the number one spot to experience cacao in a plethora of forms. Living up to the standard “Simple is Better” the chocolate here is organic, stone-ground, minimally processed and ethically sourced from our partner farm in Tabasco, MX. You literally step out of the urban jungle and into a cacao oasis! Here you can learn about cacao and chocolate making at their chocolate classes for adults and children, meditate in a cacao ceremony, experience a cacao and liquor tasting, and indulge in private parties. They creatively incorporate cacao in a variety of products, from over 20 different bars of chocolate made fresh on site weekly, cacao bitters, chocolate nut butters, to cacao beauty products all in a healthy, nutritious, and delicious manner. You can stop by for a chocolate tasting or a variety of chocolate based drinks and coffee.
Going on a vacation exposes us to new experiences, cultures and food. This exposure boosts our short and long term morale and brings a smile to our faces before, during and long after the trip. Making chocolate part of your travel is a tasty luxury, reconnects us to mother nature and lets us see the unique and masterful creativity of chocolatiers and chocolate makers around the world. So if you’re a chocolate fanatic or even kind of like chocolate make sure to include these destinations in your travel bucket list. If you have come across a chocolate experience or spot worthy of the bucket list, let us know for a chance to be featured!