With more than 2,000 chocolatiers throughout Belgium, you could choose any spot in the country and still be a stone’s throw from some of the world’s best chocolate. But visiting Brussels means you’ll have a whole range of stores and cafes to try while barely working up an appetite walking between them. There are several tours of some of the city’s most famous chocolate shops, with guides balancing tasting notes with historical facts about the sweet treat. Try Chocolaterie Duval or Chocolaterie Jamart for a front-row seat to the chocolate-making process.
This tiny town is home to the Valrhona Ecole Chocolat. It’s one of the most prestigious chocolate schools in the world, attended by experienced pastry chefs looking to perfect the painstaking art of fine chocolates. If you’re not up for taking a class, the school is attached to the Valrhona chocolate factory and museum, which are open to the public to visit.
The Mexican city of Oaxaca is known for its “chocolate houses,” where traditional Mexican drinking chocolate is made, along with mole sauce. Make sure to wander Mina Street to visit one of the Mayordomo Chocolate shops, where you can try that sweet drink, which is made from only four ingredients—sugar, cinnamon, roasted cacao beans, and almonds pressed into a disk. Melted into hot milk, it’s like hot chocolate, but way better.
Visiting this chocolate-centric town is an experience in and of itself, and that’s before you even get to the sweets samples. Board a 1915 Pullman train car in Montreux on the Swiss Riviera, ascend to Gruyères (home of the famous cheese and an 800-year-old castle,) then continue to Broc for a visit to the renowned Cailler-Nestle chocolate factory and shop.
England experienced an artisan chocolate revival about a decade ago and is still riding the wave. The city is home to Chocolate Week (October 15–18), now in its 11th year, with vendors, samples, and demonstrations. But if you’re not in London for that event, you can visit the participating chocolatiers any other time: Try local favorites like The Melange in Peckham or Melt and Artisan du Chocolat in Notting Hill for some of the most delectable treats.
New York, NY
Between the famous Serendipity
frozen hot chocolates that draw fans from around the country, Jacques Torres’s
European-style cafe near the Brooklyn Bridge, and the cult favorite Mast Brothers Chocolate in Brooklyn, you’ll have more than enough chocolate destinations to keep you happy (and full). Visit the Mast Brothers’ factory
in Williamsburg to taste their unusual blends and sample “chocolate teas.”
Beloved chocolate brands Ghirardelli and Scharffen Berger were both founded in the Bay Area, and you can see how both companies operate on tours. Of course, the city is full of independent chocolate shops well worth a nibble: try XOX Truffles, Cocoa Bella, TCHO, and Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates.
Cologne, the chocolate capital of Germany, is home to the Stollwerk chocolate company, once the second-largest supplier of chocolate to the United States. To celebrate its 150th anniversary, the company put together an exhibit on the history of its chocolate production, which has grown into a full-fledged interactive museum that highlights the history of chocolate around the world as well as details of the production of the sweet. More than 5 million visitors walk through the exhibits annually, and the company still produces more than 100,000 tons of chocolate each year.
Source from Conde Nast Traveler.