This Valentine’s Day, fall in love with travel all over again by indulging in some chocolate tourism. We’ve rounded up your favorite sweet spots before, but that list was a trifle too short to satisfy; this time we’re going straight to the source.
We're also excited to say that other travelers are using all of us as a source today as Reuters shows these chocolate picks some love.
Oaxaca is not only the birthplace of chocolate, it’s also the birthplace of chocolate corn, chocolate sauce...you get the idea. For their fix, locals frequent Chocolate Mayordomo, a shop with two downtown locations—which, considering Oaxaca’s small size, “is on par with the Starbucks proliferation in New York.” The icing on the cake? A trip to Oaxaca can be combined with a stop in Mexico City to see Nestlé’s factory and its avant-garde chocolate museum.
Ghana wants to spread the word that it grows great cocoa, so its throwing a party (or two): National Chocolate Day and Cocoa Day. Besides “consume more cocoa for good health,” which is the theme of the Cocoa Day festival, the best advice for visiting comes from an IgoUgo member who says, “Ghana is the friendliest and easiest West African country to travel in, but it is still a third-world country and requires patience and flexibility.”
Kiss your New Year’s diet goodbye at Hershey’s Chocolate World in the self-proclaimed “sweetest place on Earth.” The “Epcot-like” factory-tour ride is “really well done,” and kids especially enjoy Chocolate World’s singing cows. Maybe that’s why the company’s signature chocolate blends are so harmonious.
Cover your itinerary in chocolate whether you visit the north, central, or south islands of the Philippines. In the north, Baguio—“a foodie’s dream destination”—is famous for its chocolate de batirol, named after the clay pot in which chocolate is heated. Down in Bohol, of course, the main attractions are the Chocolate Hills—not technically edible, but still a must-see. And further south is Davao and its cacao fields, where every meal seems to end with a “worth-your-buck” decadent dessert.
Nowhere does Swiss chocolate taste better than in the confiseries of Zurich. Lindt, Sprüngli, Teuscher, Suchard: the only hard part is deciding where to begin. Even the city’s cafés are ready to indulge patrons, with Café Schober getting especially high marks for serving hot chocolate “topped with whipped cream from the café’s own herd.”
Sample cacao flesh straight from the source on the Bocas del Toro archipelago and wash it down with plenty of cocoa; research suggests that this habit of Panama’s Kuna people keeps their hearts healthy. Another bonus effect of local cocoa is the presence of hiking trails on what were once cacao plantations; try the Parque Nacional Soberania for tracks that have been reclaimed by the wild and are “teeming with birds and wildlife.”
Get to know German chocolate beyond your last birthday cake in the chocolate capital of Germany and its Chocolate Museum. The complex is much lauded for its historical exhibits, family fun, Rhine River views, “huge chocolate fountain,” and, of course, free samples.
New York, NY
New Yorkers know chocolate: how to make it, how to sell it, how to show it. Visitors can take a chocolate tour; attend a chocolate show; and, sometimes, sleep in a chocolate hotel room. Of course, it’s not all fluff; you can also find some of the world’s highest-quality sweets there, including the “magical” wicked hot chocolate served at cocoa master Jacques Torres’ shops.
There’s a lot to do in Belgium’s fair UNESCO World Heritage city: climb the belfry, taste chocolate, bike the canals, taste more chocolate, tour the museums, taste chocolate again. But IgoUgo’s favorite spot is the Chocolate Line shop, where one member picked up liqueur-filled chocolates for her mother and said, “I am now her favorite child!”
Thought to be the original entry point of chocolate in Europe, Barcelona has been breeding leading chocolatiers for centuries, making it a natural place for a museum celebrating the substance. A “must-see on any chocolate lover’s vacation,” the Museu de la Xocolata features chocolate in every form, from ornate sculptures to “so-much-fun-to-eat” hot chocolate. When you’re done, burn off the treat on a self-guided tour of the city’s high-end chocolate boutiques.