Written by Jaillan Yehia
You can indulge your passion for chocolate in a far flung location such as Nicaragua but if you’d rather stay closer to home you can get a chocolate holiday feeling without leaving Blighty too. Here are three places to head to for a chocolate holiday…
Nicaraguan tourism is in its infancy due to a chequered political past, but this incredible destination is tapping into tourists’ fascination with chocolate production by offering cacao farm tours and chocolate making days.
In the faded colonial splendour of Grenada, you can learn the history of the chocolate industry at The Choco Museum – a tourist attraction that gives you a hands-on relationship with your chocolate bar – the workshops lets you hand roast, shell and grind the beans, before adding ingredients of your choice such as nuts or chillies.
The resulting mixture is then put into moulds, so you can return the next day to collect your very own handmade chocolate bar – which tastes fantastic! A similar facility exists further North in Matagalpa, at the charmingly named Castle of Cocoa – El Castillo Del Cacao.
Although this Central American country is a tiny producer of cacao beans by worldwide standards, what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality; much of the chocolate here is organic and most is bought by the German chocolate brand Ritter Sport which has a history of supporting the local farmers, making the chocolate taste even sweeter.
Getting There: British Airways flies to Managua, Nicaragua, via Miami or Dallas
Staying There: The Choco Museum is housed in one of Granada’s delightful boutique hotels
You can’t mention world class chocolate without thinking of Switzerland. Famously the home of ‘Master Chocolatier’ Lindt, which first opened in Zurich back in 1845, Switzerland boasts the archetypal chocolate box scenery which you can see for yourself on a trip to Cailler chocolate which offers a chocolate experience at its countryside Maison. Serious chocolate aficionados can also book themselves on a course at its Atelier du Chocolat for workshops in truffle and chocolate making. Switzerland even has a chocolate factory outlet from local manufacturer Halba.
Getting There: Swiss flies to Zurich from most London Airports
Staying There: Hotel Helvetia is the perfect Zürich city hotel
Here in the UK you can keep the chocolate theme alive by visiting one of the many chocolate-making workshops on offer from companies such as Chocolate Delight, or try a Green & Blacks chocolate-making workshop with My Chocolate – alternatively go straight to the mother ship by heading to Cadbury World.
Other options include a walking tour of the great chocolate shops of London (at least you’ll be burning some of the calories!) or if you want to try out a great range of chocolate from all over the world, pay international chocolate shop Cybercandy a visit at one of its four branches nationwide.
If you don’t fancy that, why not try …
Some of the world’s best chocolatiers and a host of artisan chocolate producers will get together in London in December to host The Chocolate Festival; the event will then roll out to Oxford and Brighton. With workshops, demonstrations and tastings, this is a great way to get interactive with the sweet stuff.
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