August 3, 2010

Top Ten Places For Chocoholics to Visit!

As it happens, I'm NOT a choco-holic, but seems like i'm surrounded by them at all times! In fact, the whole world seems to be in love with chocolate in all forms, shapes and sizes!! 
There ARE benefits to chocolate besides the tastiness... including, but not limited to, helping out with depression, high blood pressure, tumors and PMS!! it also contains a small amount of caffeine and also is a valuable energy source... 
But since i am about all decadence and since Chocolate is a 7 BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY; I am bringing to you the Top Ten Chocolate Destinations (in no particular order) in the WORLD!! Buckle up... it's gonna be a fast trip :) 

1. Cologne, Germany

Sounding like it should be the perfume capital, but Cologne is considered the choc. capital of Germany and is home to Stollwerck Chocolate CO. who is the 2nd largest supplier to the US... There's even a museum... The Imhoff Stollwerck  

2. Tain L’Hermitage, France

This Chocolate oasis is nestled in French wine country and boasts some of the best choc. in the WORLD!! Crazily, it only houses one chocolate shop, Valrhona. A great stop is the Valrhona Ecole du Grand Chocolat, a school that teaches professional chefs, chocolatiers and caterers. They even host a three-day course that teaches amateurs how to make decadent deserts, and you KNOW how i feel about those!

3. Hershey, Pennsilvania, USA

I feel that is you are from The United States, you already know... but for my international readers... let me help you out! ;) 
Dubbed “the Sweetest Place on Earth,” the town, which was originally called Derry Church, was renamed Hershey in 1906 due to the popularity of Hershey chocolates. The town is home to both The Hershey Company and the H. B. Reese Candy Company. “Chocolatetown, USA” has branded itself as an American chocolate center and some popular chocolatey attractions include Hershey’s Chocolate World, The Hershey Story Museum and the Chocolate Spa.
That's right.... a CHOCOLATE SPA!!! do it!

Come on, you know that New York lands on almost every list... good and bad haha!! It's the epicenter of anything everything and nothing all at the same time usually! Everything New York-ish  is global.. for the inhabitants have come from all over this crazy earth, bringing their signature ingredients and tastes to the streets! Jaques Torres is one of those globe trotters that have left their mark on the chocolate world in a BIG way!! If in New York, hit up his shop and try the WICKED HOT CHOCOLATE!! Do it! Twice!

5Villajoyosa, Spain

If the destination is called  “Chocolate City,” i'm pretty sure you know that a good time is at hand!
Villajoyosa’s chocolate history began in the 18th century when it began importing cocoa beans from Venezuela and Ecuador. Today chocolate production is still booming as the town is home to Spain’s oldest gourmet chocolate producer, Valor, which was founded in 1881. Villajoyosa also houses an excellent chocolate museum that not only displays  the history of Villajoyosa’s chocolate production but also how local favorites are created. The locals are all for it, since the colbo of Churros as Chocolate is basically the town staple! lol

6. San Francisco, California, USA

That's right folks.. another US stop on the way to number one!! 
San Fran is home to one of the most prestigious chocolate companies.. west of the Mississippi! Founded during the gold rush, it is as San Fran as the Golden Gate Bridge and trolley cars! 
They give tours 6 times a day, and have one of the friendliest websites around that include Chocabulary and recipes for many versatile ways to create with their product..... milk choc. squares with caramel.. is my fave snack from there! *wink* 

7. Oaxaca, Mexico

The ancient Mesoamericans were the world’s FIRST chocolatiers and Mexico (among other Latin america countries) has continued to produce some of the best chocolate in the world to this day! Visitors to the city can’t walk down the street without being offered chocolate in some form, whether it is hot chocolate, chocolate pastry or chocolate candy.  While there are major chocolate producers based here, a lot of Oaxaca’s chocolate is made with old family recipes the old-fashioned way, ground either by hand or with electric grinders and mixed by hand. It's too bad there are no tours of THAT!! 

8.Barcelona, Spain
Amatller chocolate top 10 chocolate travel destinations
Spain was the first European country to be introduced to chocolate, so it's fitting that one of the last stops on our Coco- Heaven tour be here! Among its chocolate-covered achievements, the city can boast that the first chocolate making machine was built there in 1780. Today Barcelona celebrates its rich chocolate heritage with a museum dedicated to chocolate, the Museo de La Xocolata, which features everything from chocolate sculptures to hot chocolate. Pretty much amazing... you need to plan a stop here! 

9Zurich, Switzerland
Frey chocolate top 10 chocolate travel destinations
Switzerland consumes more chocolate per person that any other country in the world!! With world-renowned companies like Cailler-Nestle, Toblerone, Lindt, Treuscher and Sprungli calling it home it’s no wonder that they lead the way. Zurich is the heart of chocolate production in the country and Lindt, Treuscher and Sprungli all have factories and stores in the city. For a truly unique experience, the Swiss Travel System, along with Cailler-Nestle, offers an excursion on “The Swiss Chocolate Train.” Now THAT's sure to be a DECADENT train ride! 

10. Brussels, Belgium
Brussels chocolate top 10 chocolate travel destinations
Last on our tour is Brussels... actually the entire country oBelgium is a chocoholic’s paradise, boasting 12 chocolate factories, 16 chocolate museums and more than 2,100 chocolate shops. Brussels, however, stands above the rest. The city is home to two of the biggest chocolate companies in the world, Godiva and Leonidas, as well as many smaller chocolate boutiques. While all kinds of chocolate treats can be found in Brussels, pralines are king. In fact, they were first created there by Jean Neuhaus in 1912. So, even though it SOUNDS like there's gonna be veggies here... well we know better... ;) 

Now go grab some CHOCOLATE!! xoxo 

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