New Chocolate Destinations to Discover
Posted on 10/25/2017
Belgium and Switzerland are always near the top the list when it comes to the most popular chocolate-producing countries in the world.
And with good reason: They’ve been churning out delicious boxes and bars of the sweet stuff for decades, then exporting them all around the globe for us to enjoy.
But in recent years, lesser known places have started to appear on the “chocolate map” with the opening of chocolate factories—albeit, no Oompa-Loompas on the staff, unfortunately—museums and even hotels.
Here are a few of the more under-the-radar destinations that those with a sweet tooth should seek out:
Perth, Western Australia
Although it still might be more famous for its vineyards than its cocoa beans, Western Australia has been steadily scooping up chocolate producer awards for several years now.
The Margaret River Chocolate Company is perhaps the most well-known, with factories and cafes dotted all around central Perth. Both they and Whistlers—another traditional chocolate and confectionary brand—offer tours of their facilities and decadent tastings.
And as for downtown Perth itself, there are so many independent chocolate shops situated in the city center that you can join a small-group Chocolate Walking Tour, sampling the goods in at least seven different venues.
St Lucia, Caribbean
Cocoa plantations have dotted the Caribbean islands for years, but often the end product was just exported around the world rather than enjoyed by locals and visitors.
The advent of plantation-based accommodation like the Boucan Hotel in St Lucia (owned by the British Hotel Chocolat brand) has changed all of that. The restaurant serves a “cacao cuisine” menu, inspired by local produce.
Guests can also take a Tree to Bean or Bean to Bar tour of the adjacent plantation, learning all about the process of creating world-class chocolate.
Perugia is the hometown of the famous Perugina chocolate brand, who is famous for its own version of Hershey’s Kisses called Baci, which are individually-wrapped hazelnut chocolates with love notes inside.
Visitors can take tours around the Chocolate House and associated Historical Museum, which details over 100 years of Italian chocolate heritage.
Much like St Lucia, Perugia also has its own chocolate hotel in the form of Hotel Etruscan Chocohotel. The rooms are decorated in shades of chocolate—imagine every shade of brown under the sun—and guests can enjoy a chocolate-based menu in the restaurant along with chocolate tastings in the on-site shop.
On top of all the delectable tapas that be found around Barcelona, the city is also a bit of a powerhouse when it comes to chocolate shops and cafes.
Artisan chocolatiers Blanxart use age-old manufacturing methods and single-origin cocoa to produce their premium bars, which can be tasted and purchased at their city center shop.
Other notable stops for any chocoholic include Chök, a “chocolate kitchen” that hand-makes everything from truffles and donuts to chocolate-covered potato chips and Bomboneria Pons. Its old-fashioned candy store has individual chocolates and chocolate-covered almonds considered among some of the best in the world.
If the sheer number of chocolate shops in the city is too overwhelming, consider taking a guided chocolate tour around the Old Town and Eixample Quarter.