In a Parisian chocolate boutique, a truffle melts on your tongue. First, a touch of bitter cocoa powder and then decadent, dark, and sweet. Chocolate tours around the world can transport you to chocolate bliss and connect you to the local people who grow and create this delicious treat. Fill the air with the scent of cocoa as you hand-grind your own cacao beans in Mexico or find chocoholic heaven with a chocolate spa treatment in the Caribbean. Whether you want to add some chocolate to your next trip, or plan your whole trip around chocolate, here are the best destinations for chocolate indulgence around the world.
Discover the Origin of Chocolate in Mexico
Cacao trees originated in Mesoamerica, and the ancient Mayans and Aztecs consumed chocolate as a bitter, frothy drink often mixed with spices or corn puree. Rather than a sweet treat, chocolate was used in ritual ceremonies and as medicine. The Aztecs even used cacao beans as currency! Chocolate is still widely grown and consumed in Mexico, and you can find chocolate-making workshops in popular destinations like Puerto Vallarta and Cozumel. Oaxacan cuisine famously uses chocolate in sweet drinks and savory dishes, and a meal with chocolate mole is well worth a trip to the region.
Drink Chocolate in Spain
Spanish explorers brought chocolate back to Europe where they first used it as medicine, but then mixed it with sugar and honey for an indulgent drink. Once only affordable to the Spanish nobility, today Spaniards commonly consume hot chocolate and churros for breakfast or snack. Don’t miss out on a chance to try Spanish hot chocolate as it is rich and so thick you can eat it with a spoon. Chocolate tours in Madrid and Barcelona can take you to the best chocolaterias in town to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Chocolate Spa on St. Lucia in the Caribbean
For the most luxurious and immersive chocolate experience in the world, stay at the elegant Boucan by Hotel Chocolat on the island of St. Lucia. Wake up to tropical birds singing in the estate’s cacao plantation and take in stunning views of the craggy Piton mountains and shimmering Caribbean Sea. Then, walk the sun-dappled cacao groves and pick a ripe pod. With expert guidance, learn to transform raw beans into your very own chocolate bar. End your day at the spa with a relaxing cacao massage or detox body wrap with moisturizing, silky whipped cacao mousse full of rejuvenating antioxidants.
Wine and Chocolate Tours in France
Chocolate arrived in France in 1615 in an ornate chest presented to King Louis XIII by his fiancé Anne of Austria. Today, it’s still customary to gift chocolate in France, and you can take home a beautiful box of bonbons from one of the many chocolate shops in Paris. Of course, you can always treat yourself with a walking tour of Parisian pastry shops and chocolate boutiques. Or, perfect your palate by discovering which wines pair best with what chocolates on a French wine and chocolate tasting experience. Surely, a chocolate lover can’t go wrong with a trip to France.
Bean-to-Bar in Hawaii
Indulge guilt-free with a socially responsible, small-batch, organic chocolate bar in Hawaii. As the only US state that commercially grows chocolate, Hawaii has a variety of bean-to-bar chocolate makers who work directly with local cacao farmers. Gift shops and grocery stores on every island carry a variety of locally made chocolates to try. Or you can go directly to the source with a chocolate farm and tasting tour. See colorful cacao pods on trees and sample chocolates flavored with everything from macadamia nuts to coconut milk curry to Cajun spice.
Chocolate and Cheese in Switzerland
The Swiss eat the most chocolate in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only did chocolate pioneers in Switzerland open the world’s first mechanized chocolate factory, they also invented milk chocolate and white chocolate. Sample some of the finest Swiss chocolates at the famous Maison Cailler chocolate factory on a tour through the countryside by train. Between picturesque fields of bell-wearing cows, delectably rich chocolate, and mouthwatering local cheese, you may never want to leave.
Chocolate Tours in Costa Rica
Cacao was once one of Costa Rica’s leading exports, but in the 1970s a fungus killed over 80% of the country’s cacao trees. Now, with more robust trees, the cacao industry is making a comeback. Engage in some agro-ecotourism on a traditional Costa Rican farm tour. Milk cows, taste homemade liquor, and use indigenous tools to grind your own cacao beans. If you’re lucky, you may even see a sloth while enjoying some artisanal chocolate in the rainforest.
Chocolate and Beer in Belgium
If you love Godiva, you’ll find its only one piece of the chocolate treasure trove that is Belgium. Visit the many chocolate shops in Brussels and Bruges including Godiva’s flagship store and Mary, founded by the first woman chocolatier in 1919. Get hands-on with a Belgian chocolate-making workshop and craft at least 35 chocolates using time-honored techniques. Belgium is also known for its beers, and what better way to indulge than with a beer and chocolate tasting experience? Discover unique flavors as you mix, match, and learn the science behind what makes beer and chocolate taste so good together.
US West Coast Chocolate Tours
From the Theo Chocolate Factory in Seattle to Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, you can easily chart a chocolate-fueled road trip down the West Coast of the United States. Home to the world-famous Northwest Chocolate Festival and a large community of artisan chocolate makers, Seattle offers a wealth of delicacies to try on a Savor Seattle Chocolate Indulgence Tour of downtown. While Ghirardelli may have kickstarted San Francisco’s chocolate history, you’ll find many Bay Area chocolate boutiques filled with everything from melt-in-your-mouth truffles to superfood chocolate bars.
US East Coast Chocolate Tours for the Whole Family
You’ll find plenty of boutique chocolate shops along the East Coast, but the cultural melting pot of New York offers some of the finest. Sample sweets on a chocolate tour of Brooklyn with a fantastic view of the Statue of Liberty as the icing on the cake. Perhaps the most famous chocolate destination in the US, Hersheypark in Pennsylvania provides family-friendly, chocolate-themed thrills from human-sized Hershey’s bars to roller coasters. In Orlando, the whole family can enjoy the interactive Chocolate Kingdom Factory Adventure Tour, which includes a chocolate castle and tasty samples.