Sweet encounters of the chocolate kind
Whilst Britain produces plenty of chocolate to be proud of, there are many other confectionery capitals where you can indulge your love of this sweet treat.
From history lessons to walking tours, plenty of places offer enough choccie-related activities to feed your inner child and satisfy your adult curiosity too.
So if you fancy making chocolate the focus for your next trip, the
Flexicover team has picked out some places that you might find irresistible.
It was the Mayans’ ingenious use of the cacao bean in a revitalising drink that began the evolution to the food we enjoy today. For those who appreciate history as much as chocolate, combine both with a visit to where it all started. Oaxaca is a city known for its emphasis on cuisine but pass the street food stalls and head straight to Fco. Javier Mina, aka Chocolate Street. The road is lined with chocolate houses where the product is made right in front of you! Famed shop La Soledad has recently opened Hotel Chocolate Posada, so if you’re finding it hard to leave, you don’t necessarily have to.
Situated on the Costa Blanca coastline, between Alicante and Benidorm, is the town of Villajoyosa which is home to Spain’s best-selling chocolate brand Valor. The company, which has been producing chocolate since 1881, is still family owned today. You can enjoy a guided tour around Valor’s factory, where there’s a chocolate museum choc-full of interesting items and there's free chocolate tasting too. Afterwards, take the opportunity to wander through the town's narrow streets and take in its pretty coloured houses which lead down to the seafront. You’ll also find Valor Chocolate Houses located across the Costa Blanca where the must-have speciality is Chocolate with Churros.
It may be a pricey destination, but a visit to Zurich is worth its weight in luxury ganache. It is home to the flagship store of Sprüngli, whose chocolate-producing wing is Lindt – the very same that produce the ubiquitous gold Easter bunny. Opened in 1859 and previously the meeting place of Zurich’s genteel classes, their Paradeplatz café and store is a chocolate lover’s paradise with rows of freshly-made truffles, macarons, tarts and pastries on offer. It says plenty about the city that the Swiss regard Lindt & Sprüngli as mass-market, preferring artisan producers like Teuscher (famous for their Champagne truffles), Läderach and the premium brands on offer in Merkur chocolate shops.
We may associate Tuscany with fine wines but chocolate is an emerging speciality too – the region is home to many of Italy’s finest producers, most notably Amedei. This luxury chocolate maker is best known for Porcelana, a single origin chocolate often cited as the world’s most expensive bar at £10 for 50g. In their base in Pontedera, they offer tours lasting up to three hours, depending on your level of interest. If in Pisa, stop off at the Leaning Tower and visit the Slitti chocolate and coffee shop for a delicious afternoon treat. Other famous options are Torrefazione Trinci in nearby Cascine di Buti or opt for chocolate gelato at the locally famous Filippo in Monsummano Terme.
Much has been written about American chocolate makers Hershey but, like them or loathe them, a visit to their namesake town in Pennsylvania is a perfect experience for younger chocolate fans. The town offers a taste of American life with a chocolate twist. Shops and cafes pride themselves on their heritage, so you’ll never be far from the brown stuff; try Chocolate Avenue Grill’s eight-layer Triple Chocolate Tiger Cake to start with. The jewel in the town is Hershey’s Chocolate World, which would put Willy Wonka's chocolate factory to shame, with group tasting experiences, a ‘4D’ chocolate mystery tour for kids and a workshop to create your own Hershey bar.
So wherever you plan to head for a little sweet indulgence this year, remember that we at Flexicover are committed to providing the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day while away.