Don’t you love the ecstatic feeling when you get hold of your favorite chocolate delicacy? If chocolate is your cup of tea then here is your chance to get some ideas for your next holidays. What is the country to get the best pralines? Where do people eat the most chocolate? Where can you become a chocolate chef?
Zürich & Bern, Switzerland
Where else to start then in Switzerland, the country that has the highest per capita rate of chocolate consumption world wide (11.6 kg per capita per annum)! Switzerland is also home to TOBLERONE, the famous triangular chocolate bar created at the beginning of 20th century in Bern. In Zurich there are based three well-known chocolate producers namely Sprungli, Lindt and Teuscher. Here in the largest Swiss city you can spend hours admiring and tasting the hundreds of different shapes of chocolate bars, figures and desserts in local cafés and shops. Close to the lively Paradeplatz Square you will find for example the big chocolate shop called Confiserie Sprüngli which is simply heaven for all chocoholics.
As the locals boast “Belgian chocolate has been the food of champions, a lure for lovers, the indulgence of the rich and later, the favorite of the masses.” The country is home to more than a dozen chocolate factories, sixteen chocolate museums and 2000 chocolate shops. Basically, every town or even small village has its own chocolate store with luxurious pralines. Producing 172,000 tons of chocolate per year Belgium is regarded as top chocolate destination of Europe. Especially the various flavors of chocolate pralines are popular. Many Swiss chocolatiers still make their pralines by hand.
Tain L’Hermitage, France
Tain L’Hermitage is a small old French town in a wine-growing district near Lyon where Valrhona is based. Valrhona is a premium chocolatier founded by a pastry chef Monsieur Guironnet in 1922. Today it is one of the leading chocolate producers in the world focusing mainly on top-quality luxury chocolate as well as vintage chocolate. The company also maintains its own École du Grand Chocolat, a school for professional chefs, chocolate makers and caterers. Even amateurs can learn here to prepare delicious desserts through a three-day course for $1000.
Villajoyosa & Alicante, Spain
The oldest gourmet brand for chocolate and pralines in Spain, Valor, is based at La Villajoyosa which is sometimes nicknamed “Chocolate City”. The town offers many delights like for example the local chocolate museum where you can find out how your favorite treat is produced. The fame came to this town when it started importing cocoa beans from Ecuador and Venezuela in the 18th century. The Valor brand is well known not only in Spain but all over Europe. In their flagship boutique and cafe in Alicante you can try besides delicious chocolate mousse or ice chocolate drinks a local specialty – chocolate with churros. This sweet pastry is ideal for a cup of hot chocolate.
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
The San Francisco Bay Area is definitely one of the world’s chocolate capitals. In San Francisco you will find the legendary Ghirardelli whose chocolate is as much a San Francisco icon as the trolley car. The company was founded in 1852 and is the second oldest chocolate company in the U.S. Across the bay you can find the Scharffen Berger, a chocolate manufacturer and first American company founded in the past 50 years that made chocolate from “bean to bar”. Six times a day visitors can tour their factory for free.