If you’re like me, right at this very moment, with Easter only just gone by, you probably think you will never touch chocolate again. In all honesty though, we all know that this feeling of chocolate over-indulgence will only last about another week, and then the cravings will start again.
So, when those cravings do return, you can rush down to the supermarket and pick up a bar (or block) of your favourite chocolate, or you can dig into the depths of your cupboards where you have your secret stash that you have hidden from the rest of the family, but maybe you might like to take that addiction to chocolatey goodness a step further…
I could go into the history of chocolate, or how the seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste and must be fermented to develop the flavour, but seriously, a true chocolate lover doesn’t care about the how, why, where and when, just the EAT!
For those who wish to follow their chocolate dreams further than the local supermarket, STA Travel have put together a travel guide which will take you to ten different countries across Europe to discover top chocolate brands and chocolatiers that will satisfy your tastebuds like never before.
Before you read any further, STA Travel would like to make it known that they take absolutely NO responsibility for any damages caused by drooling all over your laptop or phone screen after reading this.
ENGLAND If there were an international supermodel in the chocolate industry, it would be Cadbury. Known and loved by millions across the globe, the British born company has their headquarters in London and operates in more than 50 countries worldwide, best known for their Dairy Milk Chocolate. ‘Cadbury World’ located in Birmingham, UK provides something for everyone; from a 4D chocolate adventure to chocolate making classes, there is something for all sweet-toothed chocolate lovers.
FRANCE France and Hermés? Is that the birkin bag calling? Not this time! It’s Pierre Hermé the ‘Picasso of Chocolate’. Famous for his work in France, Japan and the United States, his artesian crafted chocolatier and pastry house is located in Bonaparte, France. Offering the finest of chocolates, pound cakes, teas and pastries it’s hard for any sweet tooth to pass up! His secret? Hermé prefers the discreet pastry decors and “uses sugar like salt” as a seasoning to heighten other shades of flavour. The only thing that could make it better?? A personalised Salt Bae for every customer…where you at Salt Bae?
NETHERLANDS If you’re in Amsterdam you would be insane not to try artesian chocolatier Puccini Bomboni’s creations… and pick up some ingredients to bake a brownie or two at ome later (wink). Puccini Bomboni has two stores located in Singel and Staalstraat, with every chocolate designed to give the customer an unforgettable experience, full of unique tastes. The chefs at Puccini are constantly seeking to develop new and original combinations. Why create something that already exists, right? Using bespoke combinations such as pepper, lemongrass and nutmeg, it’ll cause an explosion of flavours in your mouth.
GERMANY You just know it’s going to be a long-lasting relationship when a chocolatier’s motto is ‘we’re always here for you’. The comforting words from Rausch Schokoladenhaus of Rausch Chocolatier, brings warmth to your heart. A Berlin icon located in Gendarmenmarkt Square in the Mitte district provides customers a chocolate shop, café and restaurant…triple whammy! From handcrafted chocolates to delicate deserts it has something for every chocolate lover.
PRAGUE Ever wondered how chocolate actually becomes chocolate? I mean, it doesn’t just grow on trees all packaged and ready to eat. Discover the history and evolution of the small cacao beans transformation into the creamy or dark (whatever your preference) chocolate that we all know and love. The museum has data, historical, geographical and botanical information as well as a few sneaky treats and taste tests along the way. The Choco Story Museum is located in Müstek, Prague. Full disclosure: The museum is confident you’ll enjoy yourself, but takes zero responsibility for your jeans not fitting the same post-visit. Seriously.
AUSTRIA Willy Wonka you have some competition. Enter: Zotter Chocolate Factory located in Riegersburg, Austria. Chef Joseph Zotter started as an apprentice chef, waiter and now chocolatier confectioner. With the ‘bean-to-bar’ production line using nothing but organic and fair-trade quality, the ‘bean-to-bar’ technique is a high-class production process that covers the roasting of the cocoa beans on rollers to the classic grinding practices. The Zotter Chocolate Factory is the only company in the whole of Europe using this method – highly exclusive, darling.
ITALY Receiving kisses from your Italian relatives isn’t so bad when it’s the chocolate kind. Baci chocolate is a love story that dates back to 1922 in Perugia, a medieval city located in the heart of Italy. It was a chocolate that let people express their love, with a small little love note that made the chocolate ‘as sweet as a kiss’. The sweet little treat comes in original dark, white and milk chocolate filled with choc-hazelnut filling and a crunchy whole hazelnut and has been a firm favourite of millions across the world for years. How’s that saying go…? Oh that’s right: “All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt”.
SPAIN Forget Paella and Churros, Blanxart chocolate will satisfy all of your Spanish needs. Located in Còrsega, Barcelona, the chocolatier is faithful to its approach of using single-origin cocoa for an outstanding quality chocolate. Every single form of chocolate you could imagine, Blanxart have created, using the finest of techniques that requires special knowledge of the product. From 95% Black Ecuador chocolate to sugar-free white chocolate, there is a product for every customer.
SWITZERLAND If there’s a chocolate that is smoother and sexier than Lindt, we’d like to know about it. Founded in 1845 in Zürich, Switzerland, Lindt the Swiss chocolatier is available to millions across the world and is an absolute crowd pleaser. From their ‘excellence range’ with flavours such as 90% cocoa and chilli to their ‘creations range’ with crème brûlée and salted caramel Sunday, Lindt have successfully packed a decadent desert into one small chocolate bite. Where better to try the Lindt chocolate than in its homeland, the Lindt chocolate factory is located in Kilchberg Switzerland?
BELGIUM ‘Lady Godiva, my only friend’, said Blair Waldorf… if it’s good enough for our favourite upper east sider then it’s good enough for us! Originating in Belgium 1926, GODIVA has expanded to more than 100 countries worldwide. Owning 600 boutiques, it has grown into a global premium brand over the past 90 years. Appointed the official chocolatier to the Royal Court of Belgium, it is safe to say the chocolatier is one of the finest in the world. GODIVA factory outlet located in Brussels Belgium, specialising in chocolates, truffles, cocoa and other sweet treats straight from the homeland. Hey, if it’s good enough for the Royals, who are we to be picky?!
If you have been inspired by all of the above, STA Travel can help you live out all your chocolate-y dreams now and will even hook you up with a sweet deal:
- Up to 15% off Contiki Winter trips
- Now till 14 Jun 2017
- Save over $650
To book your next adventure, visit an STA Travel store, www.statravel.com.au or call 134 782.