World Chocolate Day comes around once a year on the 7th July and naturally, it’s one of our favourite days of the year.
The history of chocolate can be traced back all the way to 450BC, to modern day Central America, where cacao beans were used to produce chocolate drinks for use in ceremonies. The ancient civilizations that inhabited the area believed that cacao was a gift from their gods, and in Aztec culture, it was more highly prized than gold.
Since then, chocolate has been on a long journey to become the product we know and love today, spreading to all corners of the world, with every country having their own little spin on the sweet (or sometimes bitter) treat. To celebrate the occasion, we’re listing some of our favourite chocolate destinations.
It may have been the Spanish explorers who brought cacao to Europe, but it was the Italians in Turin who really caused its popularity to soar. The elegant northern city is home to grand palaces and city squares to rival those found anywhere else in Europe, and captivating museums for the most discerning culture vulture.
Being in such close proximity to the Alps, it’s easy to spend a day exploring the mountain terrain before returning to the grandeur of Turin’s tree-lined boulevards. It’s not just Turin that has stamped itself on the chocolate map in Italy, Perugia (aka ‘the chocolate city’) transforms itself into an open-air chocolate factory for nine days a year every October. During this time, the city’s streets are teeming with food stands, laboratories, sculpting and cooking classes; all with a chocolatey twist.
Most of the chocolate that we eat here in the UK begins its life in West Africa, with four of the world’s top five cacao-producing countries being in this region (Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast). The choco giant Cadburys sources its beans from Ghana, meaning you’ve probably tried West Africa’s produce without realising.
As well as producing cacao, West Africa is a biodiversity hotspot, with lions, cheetahs, elephants and baboons (amongst countless other species) calling this tropical region home. With such vibrant wildlife the area is perfect for safaris, and though Safari may not be as popular here as in eastern or southern Africa, it presents ample opportunity to spot stunning wildlife in its natural habitat.
The beautiful Caribbean island of Grenada plays host to an annual chocolate festival, running from May 31st to June 7th, to allow residents and guests alike to celebrate the island’s delicious organic chocolate and indulge in a range of unique experiences during this week-long annual celebration.
Visit organic cocoa plantations nestled in the lush Caribbean rainforest, make your own exquisite organic chocolate, hear the story of Grenada’s deep cocoa farming roots, ‘dance the cocoa’ and indulge in delicious chocolate-inspired cuisine. This cocoa-infused island festival promises to be an unforgettable experience for chocolate lovers.
The West German city of Cologne is well known for its stunning Gothic architecture and sweeping views across the river Rhine, but it is also where you will find an entire museum dedicated to chocolate. Nestled between the colourful Old Town and the Rheinua harbour, the museum showcases Germany's passion for all things chocolate.
Elsewhere, the fairytale-like town of Tübingen plays host to the annual chocoART festival, where chocolatiers from across the globe gather to showcase their chocolatey goodies. The event offers an array of chocolate-themed activities such as chocolate art, workshops, and tasting sessions.
“You can't come to Cologne without cruising on The Rhine. Although our time here was short we did enjoy a 'panoramic Rhine Cruise pointing out the historic sites along the river.”
Stuart, Travel Counsellor
Contact Travel Counsellors - Nicki Harrison today to book your indulgent chocolate-inspired getaway and take advantage of exclusive benefits including full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your trip.
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