5 destinations for fall chocolate travel

It’s not often I accept guest posts on this blog, but I couldn’t refuse Marta Lopez Garcia’s offer to post this delicious article and pics about some of her favourite chocolate destinations. Author Bio Marta López is a travel writer originally from Spain and now based in London. Marta is an occasional contributor to Expedia UK. She loves travelling, cooking and chocolate. When she isn’t writing on her laptop she can be found around the city looking for the best chocolate stores.

 5 Worldwide destinations for chocolate lovers

by Marta Lopez Garcia

It may have originated from the Spanish language and it dates back to Mesoamerican history. Chocolate is more than a delicious sweet, it’s also a way of travel. If you are still planning your first autumn trip, here you have five chocolate destinations that will sweeten your life!

Jeff de Bruges

Jeff de Bruges Shop in Bruges courtesy of Robyn Lee via Creative Commons

Bruges: The heart of fine chocolate 

Bruges is one of those places that once you visit it, you feel like you were on a fairy tale and most travellers say that it’ s a city that you drink and eat with the eyes. Apart from its canals and its medieval architecture, Bruges is well known for beer and chocolate. It’s a fact; this city of narrow streets is full of chocolatiers that produce the finest praliné in Europe. Last but not least: After trying hundreds of different chocolates, take the challenge and reach the top of Belfort Belfry, a symbol of the city that dates back to 1282. Once you have reached the top you will confirm that everywhere looks like an antique map… Top tip: Don’t forget to visit Bruges Chocolate Museum (Wijnzakstraat 2, Sint-Jansplein), found in the Maison Croon which dates from 1480.

 Tabasco: The land of maya chocolate 

chocolate skulls

Chocolate skulls photo courtesy of Janet Lackey via Creative Commons

Chocolate hides an intense past in Mesoamerica. It was in 1502 when settlers arrived to what we known as Mexico and discovered this “brown gold”, cultivated by the Olmec culture. Hernán Cortés was the first to try this delicatessen in front of the Aztec emperor and consequently he didn’t hesitate to bring all the accessories for its production back in Spain. Today whoever visits Tabasco, in the southeast of Mexico, will have the chance to discover the origins and the route of the sacred cacao. Here you will be able to immerse yourself in the jungle and feel the aroma of maya cacao thanks to the wide number of small farms that cultivate this precious treasure. Top tip: Find out more about this ancient product and visit Finca Génesis, an organic cacao-producing farm.

St Lucia: A luxury chocolate experience

Cocoa.

Cocoa image courtesy of Andi Jetaime via Creative Commons

Sweet and sunny, St Lucia has become a worldwide chocolate destination. This island, based in the Caribbean, used to export its cacao beans in the past, whereas now it keeps them for its own production. Visitors will find here a less sweet chocolate that the one from France, Belgium or America. St Lucia’s chocolate legacy dates back to the cocoa industry of the 1700’s. Today the island has an important reputation when it comes to talking about quality cacao and that is one of the reasons why travellers can find here a wide collection of hotels and resorts offering luxury services related to it such as cacao routes or chocolate-infused spa treatments. To tip: There is no St Lucia without experiencing the luxury of chocolate. Don’t hesitate to choose a holiday that offers a proper cacao experience. (Doreen’s note: Hotel Chocolat Boucan and Jade Mountain are 2 St. Lucia properties that I have written about previously on this blog and highly recommend.)

Madrid: Hot chocolate for breakfast 

Chocolatería San Ginés

Chocolatería San Ginés image courtesy of Edu Blanco via Creative Commons

The capital of Spain is one of the coolest places in Europe to enjoy chocolate in a very casual way. “Chocolate con churros” is what Spaniards call the perfect breakfast, which is hardly ever consumed at home. This New Year’s tradition is a combination of a cup of rich, thick hot chocolate and a light and crisp churros (pastry-like fritters). If you finally decide to visit the Spanish capital, don’t miss the chance to pop in at any of the many chocolaterías available, a sort of coffee shop where artesian hot chocolate is the speciality. Top tip: You can’t leave Madrid without enjoying a proper chocolate con churros. Visit Chocolatería San Ginés (Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5).

 

Perugia: The land of kisses 

The old chocolate truck

The old chocolate truck image courtesy of travelling steve via Creative Commons

Legend says that it was here where Valentines’ Day was born. In Perugia, the capital of the beautiful Umbria region, everything has to do with a kiss, or what Italians call a bacio. It’s therefore no coincidence that the most popular chocolate in this area is the brand of Baci. Such is the passion that Perugian people feel about chocolate, that the city celebrates every October a festival called Eurochocolate (Friday 17th- Sunday 26th October) which attracts people from all over the country looking for the best chocolate products to buy and taste. Top tip: If you fancy a walk around the city, don’t hesitate to visit Rocca Paolina, an underground town built by the Pope Paolo III in 1540.

 

I hope you enjoyed Marta’s post and that it has inspired you to enjoy some chocolate travel of your own. I’ve been to St. Lucia and Madrid, but Bruges, Perugia, and Tabasco are still high on my list of chocolate destinations to visit. Which of these places have you visited and enjoyed?

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

12 Responses

  1. Agness says:

    Hot chocolate for breakfast in Madrid sounds like a plan for me! I often add a piece of dark chocolate to my porridge or oatmeal just to make sure my day is gonna be awesome!! 🙂
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  2. Catarina says:

    Have lived in Madrid and agree whole heartedly about the wonders of Spanish hot chocolate. Belgian and Italian chocolate have been part of my life since I was born and delicious. Am yet to try tabasco chocolate and St Lucia’s version of delightful chocolate though. Hopefully one day I will. Or maybe I have when I was in Mexico?:-)
    Catarina recently posted…Interested in exporting to Southeast Asia?My Profile

    • Doreen says:

      Hi Catarina and thanks for your comment.

      There isn’t a huge amount of cacao being grown on St. Lucia, so if you haven’t visited the island, or eaten chocolate from an artisan chocolate maker that specifies it is using St. Lucian chocolate for that bar (as in the case of Hotel Chocolat of London), you likely haven’t tasted that.

      With respect to Tabasco, it is one of the 2 major cacao growing regions of Mexico, so if you’ve eaten chocolate made in MX, it is more than likely made with cocoa beans from either the Tabasco or the Chiapas regions.
      Doreen recently posted…the importance of greeting cardsMy Profile

  3. I haven’t spent much time in Tabasco but it sounds as though there are many reasons ( including Finca Génesis) to go.
    Michele Peterson recently posted…My love affair with One Love RestaurantMy Profile

  4. This is a fantastic list as I love getting insight on the yummy chocolate shops in a town before I visit. I just finished driving all over Alberta and British Columbia in search of hot chocolate (very cold for me up there) and now that I am home I am already planning for my next trip. Would love to visit Perugia!
    Becca Niederkrom recently posted…Chocolate Covered Friday: 8 Schokolade Oktoberfest RecipesMy Profile

    • Doreen says:

      Hi Becca and thanks for dropping in on the blog. I hope you’ll have a good look around, as you’ll find many posts on chocolate destinations around the world. Did you happen to try Choklat in Calgary, AB? I’ve not yet tried it as he will not send samples, but the owner claims to be “one of the best.”
      Doreen recently posted…travelling with culture in mindMy Profile

  5. Nancy Rose says:

    I was thrilled to find these destinations for chocolate. The history behind these places are interesting. I will definitely start planning vacations to include chocolate spots.

    Nancy Rose

    • Doreen says:

      Welcome, Nancy, and thanks for your comment. Believe it or not, there are a multitude of fantastic places to discover fine chocolate around the world. You’ll find many of them highlighted on this blog. I hope you’ll take the time to peruse some of the other posts where I go into much more detail on specific destinations.
      Doreen recently posted…a return to Costa RicaMy Profile

  6. Your travels are so amazing! I love that they are all centered around chocolate as well! St. Lucia and Madrid seem amazing!! Have fun and keep sharing!
    Kayla @winterstead recently posted…Stuck in Bullhead CityMy Profile

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