From a plantation in southern Belize that continues to make cocoa according to the Mayan tradition, to the ‘chic’ touch of the Paris Chocolate Show or a theme park dedicated to chocolate in Hershey (Pennsylvania), ten essential destinations for lovers of the most universal sweet.
01 Art and design
Belgians like chocolate almost as much as beer. 172,000 tonnes a year are produced in Belgium and sold in more than 2,000 stores. And it is not just any chocolate; Flanders is home to some of the most creative chocolatiers on the planet. Chocolate is constantly evolving in this country, with masters who mix and match flavors such as cigar, cauliflower, pea, chili or wasabi. Among the most popular manufacturers are Leonidas – the creator of the praline that celebrates the centenary of his birth this year – Neuhaus and Galler.
02 The country of chocolate
The next time you eat chocolate, think about Tetteh Quarshie, possibly the man who has contributed the most to the modern production of this sweet. He brought seeds of the cacao tree from the island of Fernando Pó in 1876 and planted them in Mampong, making Ghana one of the main cacao exporters (it still produces 21% of the world’s cacao).
A visit to the Quarshie Farm, Ghana’s main cocoa plantation, is recommended.
03 Old-fashioned chocolate
At first there was the pod, and the pod was good… Before Columbus lost his way on the way to Indonesia, the Mayans ate chocolate Y strong, bitter and spicy drinks made with cocoa beans. Today, Belizean cocoa farmers have a new incentive in their lives thanks to Green & Black’s, whose tablets Maya Gold are based on the recipe of strong. Visit the Cyrila Chocolate plantation to taste old-fashioned chocolate.
You can visit Cyrila’s plantation with the Toledo Cacao Growers Association.
04 English paradise for ‘chocoadictos’
Although it is not Willie Wonka’s factory (the character of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory of Roald Dahl), el Cadbury World from Bournville, in Birmingham, it lets you drool in front of large vats of liquid delight and watch naked tablets run towards packaging machines. The 1879 factory was revolutionary; Thanks to the popularity (and availability) of cocoa, the Cadbury family moved their production from the city center to the outskirts, building a mini-city that provided accommodation, education and retirement for their workers.
Cadbury World It is a 15-minute walk from Bournville (England) train station.
05 The first solid chocolate …?
Since Duke Filiberto presented to the Turinese court the sweet drink of the Aztecs, discovered during the conquest of America in the 16th century, the Italian city became devoted to chocolate; They say that it was here that at the end of the 18th century the transformation of chocolate to the solid state was achieved. Its large avenues and squares are full of quality chocolate shops, such as that of Guido Gobino (Via Cagliari, 15b), master of the gianduia, wonderful combination of hazelnut and chocolate that has been a culinary symbol of Turin since 1867.
The Chocolate, the three-week Turin chocolate fair, is held in March.
06 Where chocolate climbed the mountains
Cocoa cannot be grown in the Alps, but this country has the highest consumption per capita of chocolate in the world, and some of the most famous brands: Lindt, Nestle, Suchard and Toblerone. The fame of Swiss chocolate dates back to the 19th century thanks to pioneers such as François Louis Cailler, Phillipe Suchard, Henri Nestlé, Jean Tobler, Daniel Peter and Rodolphe Lindt. Calliers founded the first chocolate factory in 1819, near Vevey. Daniel Peter added milk in 1875 and Lindt invented the machine caracola, which aerated the dough while turning it, allowing the chocolate to melt in your mouth.
You can visit the Nestlé-Callier factory near Gruyères or buy pralines and handmade truffles in one of the shops Sprüngli, the company that has been working cocoa since 1836. You can also travel in the Chocolate train – aboard a wagon of the Belle Epoque– to a Callier factory in Broc, near Montreux; try La Chocolaterie’s unique hot chocolate and truffles in St. Gallen (Gallusstrase, 20), or visit the museum of the Alprose chocolate in Lugano (Via Rompada, 36), to do a tasting and learn about its history.
There are stores Sprüngli en Zúrich, Basilea, Zug, Winterthur y Glattzentrum.
07 The avenue of chocolate
HERSHEY (PENSILVANIA, EEUU)
Welcome to the sweetest place on Earth (according to them). This chocolate-scented city, seat of the empire Hershey, it’s as cloying as the movies that made kids everywhere ask for this brand. The institution has created a leisure complex related to chocolate. The strong point is Hershey Park, with more than 60 attractions, a zoo, a water park, performances and fireworks shows. We can also make our own chocolate bar in the Hershey’s Chocolate Word, a mock factory and shop with free chocolate galore.
Of course, you can also visit the museum dedicated to Mr. Hershey (63 West Chocolate Avenue).
08 Possibly the best chocolate in the world
GRANADA ISLAND (CARIBBEAN)
From Saint George, capital of the Caribbean island of Grenada, you have to drive through the misty forest of Grand Etang National Park to the area of Saint Patrick, on the north coast, the cradle of what is possibly the best chocolate in the world. Lower case Grenada Chocolate Company manufactures award-winning tablets and cocoas in an ethical way: the beans are grown, collected, processed and packaged in the family-owned factory-home. You can walk through the cacao plants and then taste it. Supermarket chocolate will never be the same.
Grenada Chocolate Company It is located in the Hermitage on St. Patrick.
09 Chocolate ‘chic’
Chocoadictos, welcome to Paradise. The best creations are in stores Chocolate Houseby Robert Linxe. In any chocolate shop (like At Angelina’s) it is possible to have a snack and you can book a cooking class with cocoa in the Lenôtre School of Gastronomy.
And every October the Chocolate lounge.
10 Creole Chocolate
Purists know that the best variety of cocoa is Creole, with its lingering flavor of vanilla, caramel and nuts. In Venezuela, on the Paria peninsula (called the Chocolate coast) is the origin of these coveted beans. The best are grown on family farms like Hacienda Bukare. The Esser family offers visits to their plantation and tasty tastings. It is an easy excursion from Río Caribe: before reaching the beach, we will find this organically grown cocoa plantation (Chocolates Paria).
Hacienda Bukare is further up the Río Caribe; by Playa Medina, Chacaracual.
These recommendations for traveling with the palate around the world and many others are collected in the illustrated book Kitchens of the World (from Lonely Planet- GeoPlaneta). More information in www.lonelyplanet.es
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