As a lover of chocolate and travel, a trip to one of these 11 hot chocolate spots would be my idea of heaven on earth
What would any list of the world’s hot chocolate spots be without a mention of the place where cocoa was discovered? Visit Oaxaca and you’ll be able to see it being made in the way it was originally prepared by the Mesoamerican cultures and taste how different it is from the heavily processed stuff we eat today.
Now synonymous with fine chocolate, the Belgians produce some of the world’s best and most imaginative Chocolatiers who work absolute magic. There are chocolate museums in Brussels and Bruges.
For three weeks every March, Turin (Italy) goes chocolate mad as Piazza Vittorio Veneto and the surrounding streets are turned over to the festival known as Cioccola Tò. Here you can indulge in tastings, enjoy shows and performances or take part in competitions and chocolate workshops.
A little village district in England’s second city, Birmingham is home to confectionery giant Cadbury. Taking a tour of Cadbury World to see bars flying through machines and then being able to buy tons in the massive Cadbury’s shop easily makes this one of the tastiest hot chocolate spots.
Ghana became one of the world’s biggest cocoa exporters thanks to the impetus of one man, Tetteh Quarshie. The first plant he grew is still on show at the Quarshie Farm and you can also learn about chocolate production at the Tafo Cocoa Research Institute.
If you know your chocolate (I don’t, my only criteria is that it tastes good) you will know that the finest bean is the Crillo. Venezuela has to join the hot chocolate spots thanks to the Paria Peninsula, aka the Chocolate Coast. This is the place where the best beans are grown. You can visit small family-run farms and taste samples made from Crillo, Chuao and Porcelana beans.
I think I should move to Switzerland. The land of cuckoo clocks and yodelling also loves chocolate. This little country has the highest per capita chocolate consumption in the world. Some of the world’s most famous confectionery makers are also Swiss and everyone knows the names Nestlé, Suchard, Lindt and Toblerone. You can visit a Nestlé site near Gruyères where your tour includes free samples then of course it’s off to buy some fabulous Gruyere cheese.
Hershey, Pennsylvania is America’s hot chocolate spot. This is real chocolate town. The streets are named after Hershey products and absolutely everything has a chocolate theme. You can even have a range of chocolate spa treatments.
This Caribbean island has it all. Year-round tropical sunshine, gorgeous beaches, beautiful waterfalls and it is also known as the Island of Spice. As well as nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, cocoa is a major export. Grenada is arguably the best chocolate in the world. The Grenada Chocolate Company makes chocolate that not only wins awards but is made in an ecologically friendly fashion. It is said that once you’ve tried Grenadian chocolate you’ll never eat any other kind.
That short visit to the world’s top hot chocolate spots has got my mouth watering. I’m off to raid my stash of Galaxy Ripple bars. What’s your favourite?