A few years ago, I got a chance to stay in Europe for 6 months. During that time, I managed to visit all the cities titled as the "capitals" of chocolate. Have you ever been in any of these? Do share your thoughts. (Belgium remains my favourite because Switzerland is expensive as hell). So, anyway, here's a list of my favourites:
It's basically a chocolate paradise. Belgium has more than 10 factories of chocolate and around 16 chocolate museums. With Brussels being the chocolate capital, you will find the most famous chocolate brands: Neuhaus, Godiva, and Leonidas (Leonidas is my pick, they have a chocolate fountain in their store in Brussels). Imagine pralines, almonds and everything you have ever dreamed of available even in the smallest villages. You can also learn how chocolate is made if you visit the Museum of Cacao and Chocolate.
Swiss people consume chocolate more than any other country. In addition, Switzerland is home to many international brands such as Nestle, Toblerone, Lindt, Teuscher and Sprungli. Zurich is a chocolate gem and has many chocolate factories. If you want to try a unique experience, Nestle and the Swiss Travel System organise a trip to Broc on “the Swizz Chocolate Train”, for an epic tour of the Nestle factory.
Spanish people are also lucky to be the first who tasted chocolate in Europe . A centre for all the chocolate lovers, Barcelona is where the first chocolate-making machine was ever made. For an unforgettable experience, you can visit the Museo de La Xocolata (Chocolate Museum), a museum just for chocolate where every single statue is made of this brown gold You can buy some fine chocolate from Chocolates Amatller and Chocolate a la Taza, chocolate stores that are named after the best chocolatiers in Barcelona; they are producing chocolate for more than 150 years.
Well known as the Chocolate City, Villajoyosa’s chocolate history started a long time ago when it first imported cacao in the 18 century from Venezuela and Ecuador. In this city, you will find Spain’s oldest gourmet chocolate producer and a must visit store, Valor. As well as chocolate, Villajoyosa also has museums showing the history of chocolate in the city along with how local chocolates are made.
Tain L’Hermitage, France
A short ride away from Lyon, a city in France, you will find a small town called Tain L’Hermitage. This town is where Valrhona, the world-renowned chocolate producer, is home-based; Valrhona is one the leading chocolate producers worldwide. You will also find L’Ecole du Grand Chocolat, a school that teaches professionals chocolatiers and chefs and offer a three-day course to amateurs as well.
Home to Stollwreck, a chocolate company that was once the second biggest supplier to the USA, Cologne is also known to be Germany’s Chocolate capital. An amazing spot for chocolate lovers, Cologne made The Imhoff Stollwerck, a chocolate exhibit for the Stollwreck 150 year’ anniversary which is now a big museum. The museum celebrates the history of chocolate worldwide and it includes interactive exhibits and a huge chocolate fountain.
Tuscany, Italy: The Chocolate Valley
As well as fine wine, Tuscany is home to The Chocolate Valley, a triangle-shape between Florence, Pisa, and Montecatini. It is composed of hills dotted with delicious chocolate shops and small chocolate factories. Savour the finest chocolate in the world and visit Vestri in Florence; it is always crowded but is worth the wait. There are other important chocolatiers that you can visit such as Slitti. If you are lucky and decided to visit Florence from February 6 to the 15th, then you have to visit the handmade chocolate fair where you can try different tastes of the cocoa from around the world.
London, United Kingdom
If you ever visit London, you have to go see Paul A Young, known as Britain’s best chocolatier to make truffles and brownies in his own shop in Soho. If you are both a chocolate and a movie fan, then you can go see the Charlie and The Chocolate Factory musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in Covent Garden. For the chocoholics, Choccywoccydoodah is a must-try. It is an art and design chocolatier in the city of Brighton and Soho in central London that creates chocolate sculptures and gifts made of chocolate (don't miss this one).