Some people travel for history, some people travel for food, and some – very special – people travel for chocolate. To mark World Chocolate Day we’re celebrating great chocolate countries and places renowned for producing the very best chocolate in the world.
From the tropical rainforests of Latin America to cobbled streets with historic European chocolateries, World Chocolate Day is the day to give in to temptation and start dreaming about where you’ll take your inner chocoholic on holiday next.
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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Switzerland? Mountains, watches, cheese fondue and chocolate are probably the top answers.
And chocolate is on the list for good reason. Switzerland produces some of the world’s finest chocolate and the Swiss people know it, consuming a massive 8.8kg (19.4 pounds) of chocolate per capita per year, according to stats from World Atlas.
And who could resist the fine chocolate from incredible stores like Maison Cailler, one of Switzerland’s oldest and most renowned chocolate factories. They’ve been making smooth Swiss chocolate since 1898 and you’ll get to sample the rich flavours direct from the factory (which looks more like a manor house) when you join a chocolate tasting on Trafalgar’s Swiss Delight tour.
While the Swiss might consume the most chocolate per person, it’s Belgium that is home to the ‘Chocolate Capital of the World’. Indeed the streets of Brussels are home to more chocolatiers per square foot than any other city in the world.
More than 100 years ago Brussels chocolatier Jean Neuhaus invented the praline, and since then the Belgium capital has only fallen more in love with the sweet bean. On a free day in Brussels you could hop between chocolate stores, from large brands to smaller bean-to-bar producers.
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Now more famous for coffee production, tropical Costa Rica has a long history with the cacao bean. In fact indigenous tribes used the bean as currency, a tradition that continued up until the 1930s.
Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast has the optimal climate for growing some of the best chocolate cacao in the world. But it can be harder to find places for chocolate tasting in the small Latin American nation.
Journey to San Isidro de Heredia to meet master chocolatiers, Julio Fernandez and George Soriano, with Trafalgar and learn all about the history of chocolate, how it is produced and why Costa Rica has some of the best chocolate in the world.
Nicknamed the “Switzerland of South America”, the Patagonia town of Bariloche is a must for any true chocolate lover. Funnily enough, the Argentinian town actually somewhat resembles a Swiss mountain village too!
Breathe in the fresh alpine air then go for a chocolate tasting at La Chocolaterie Van Wynsberghe. The family behind this Belgium-style chocolate business have drawn inspiration from their ancestors. The unique flavours and natural ingredients that Patagonia provides results in some of the most interesting chocolate.
Afterwards visit the Chocolate Museum or wander down Mitre Avenue, also known as the “Avenue of Chocolate Dreams”.
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The elegant milk chocolate of Switzerland would melt within minutes of a Spanish summer. Perhaps that’s why the locals on the sunny Iberian Peninsula prefer to turn cacao into liquid hot chocolate rather than delicate bonbons or pralines. If you’ve been to Spain you’ll know the joy of dipping a fresh cinnamon-coated churro into hot chocolate as thick as custard. Get your own bowl as you’ll want to double dip the hot chocolate tasting.
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Feeling ready to discover these chocolate countries for yourself? Tell us in the comments where you’d go for a chocolate tasting….