Wednesday, May 6, 2020


By Rebecca Siggers

7 Most Interesting Chocolate Tours
Around The World

Photos courtesy of Unsplash)

Everyone around the planet without regard to place or age loves chocolate. According to some estimates, close to 1 billion people eat chocolates every day, and the passion for chocolates is something that goes beyond all reason. Every true chocoholic will agree that a chocolate tour is the best way to experience and enjoy the various chocolate flavors from different parts of the world. 

The chocolate originates in South Mexico around 2500 years ago when the Aztecs start to cultivate the cacao trees and begin to make chocolate from the beans. The Aztecs used the cocoa beans as an offering to the god Quetzalcoatl who is the god of wisdom, and the beans are also a form of currency in ancient times. After harvesting, the beans are left for a while for fermenting and drying out before turning them into a paste.

Ripe bunches of cocoa, Xà Bang, Châu Đức, Việt Nam (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

With the use of pressure, the chocolate then transforms into cocoa butter and chocolate liquor. You can obtain the various types of chocolate according to the composition of chocolate liquor and cocoa butter in the blend. The more chocolate liquor and cocoa butter are in the chocolate, the healthier and richer the quality of the chocolate. 

The chance to observe the entire journey of the cacao from the trees to the chocolate factories and then to the end product we are familiar with and love is a remarkable exploration. Contrary to popular belief, you may not have to travel far or halfway around the world for the perfect chocolate tour. This article brings you the seven most exciting chocolate tours around the world. 

1. Quito, Ecuador

Quito is the capital city of Ecuador and although the country has a rich history of producing the highest quality chocolate, it is fairly new to the area of chocolate tourism. The country is shipping authentic cacao to European countries such as Spain from as early as 1630. 

The country is welcoming towards chocolate tourists to visit and have a sample of the various stages of production of chocolate. You may even have the chance to trek to the Amazon plantations where the most number of cacao trees are present anywhere in the world. Ecuador is at the forefront of exporting the best quality chocolate in the world with a cacao percentage of above 70 percent. 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

You can savor a variety of local hot chocolate drinks and chocolate bars and even enjoy learning the art of producing artisan chocolate making in Quito. The most famous hot chocolate drinks in Ecuador are Tradicional, which has milk and cinnamon, Bon Bon, which has crushed almonds, and Gran Cacao, which has hazelnuts. Kallari and Pacari are leading chocolate producers in Ecuador that offer the best Chocolate-themed tours for enthusiasts. 

The months of April and May are the cacao harvest seasons, and Kalari even offers an adventure riverboat trip along with workers to the plantations where cacao is grown. You can also experience first-hand the gritty intensive manual labor that is a part of chocolate agriculture in challenging conditions. You must also visit Guayaquil, which is the main port in Ecuador. 

2. Switzerland

Switzerland is a country famous for its rich chocolate tradition, and you can find close to 30 different chocolatiers in the city of Geneva alone. Favarger is one of the oldest brands in Switzerland, and they carry on the business as a family tradition still ongoing in the seventh generation. If you take a tour with them, you can have your fill of their delectable treats and also get to know about their sustainable cocoa accreditation as well as their UTZ certification. 

Several other prominent chocolate manufacturers in Geneva specialize in different chocolate confections. For chocolate covered almonds and ganache, you need to visit Auer. For Champagne-Truffles, visit Teuscher, and for exquisite Pralines, you can check out Du Rhone Chocolatier. If you are into hot chocolate head over to Confiserie Arn and for funky flavors, visit the Stettler. 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Zurich is another city in Switzerland with a bustling chocolate production industry, and you will come across several walking chocolate tours. These tours will take you through the iconic Sprungli and various other highlights of the chocolate industry of the city. Switzerland is an excellent place to buy chocolate gifts for your dear ones.

If you time your visit right, you can also get a taste of their famous hot chocolate. Other places in Zurich to visit for your chocolate tour are Max chocolatier, which manufactures fashionable chocolates and the Laderach that produces massive kilo-sized slabs. You must also visit the Confiserie Hanold, which makes the famous cherry kirsch baton that brings a smile to anyone’s face. 

The Conditorei Péclard in Schober is another excellent place where you can savor the evening tea along with a fine selection of chocolates. You may even jump aboard a chocolate train tour, which comes with a golden pass service that takes you between Montreux and Maison Cailler in the summer months. 

Hot chocolate (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

3. San Jose, Costa Rica

The chocolate factory in San Jose has its location amid the tropical rainforest in the island nation, offering a glimpse into the natural wildlife and plants. The tour lasts for around 2 hours, and you get the opportunity to learn about the indigenous way of making chocolate treats and the traditional uses of chocolates. Besides seeing the journey of the cacao beans from the trees through the factory, you also get to hike through the forest path, and spending time in nature will bring down your stress levels. 

You can enjoy parts of the UNESCO biosphere reserve, which is home to over 500 species of birds while you take this tour. By going on this tour, you also help in preserving and protecting the various species of animals and plants in the UNESCO biosphere as a portion of the fees goes to the reserve as a donation. You can also taste the organic chocolate from the association of Women Amazilia del Caribe. 

4. Pointe Baptiste, Dominica

Dominica is an island in the Caribbean with the nickname nature island and it is home to a small-scale cacao plantation. You can purchase the local chocolate when you visit and easily start on a chocolate tour as soon as you reach. The chocolate makers of Pointe Baptiste are a family team that processes cocoa to make chocolates in the island. 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

The production of chocolate on the island has a relatively short history of just over a decade at the estate. The chocolate tour is free of cost and you must purchase a few bars with unique flavors as a souvenir as they use all local ingredients. 

5. Barbosa, Colombia

Colombian chocolate is one of the best in the world and if you want to visit the country to try it first hand, then you need to come to Barbosa. Barbosa is home to the Origen eco-resort and it is at a distance of only an hour from the capital city of Medellin. The tour lasts for around 2.5 hours and covers the chocolate-making process from the machinery in use to a brief history of the local customs. 

You also get to taste some amazing chocolate fresh from production. Further, you can make your custom chocolate to take home with you from local ingredients such as chilli and sea salt. You can also roam around the farm among the cacao trees freely after the tour gets over. It is easy to reach the location from Medellin through a public bus which is available every hour. 

6. Brooklyn, U.S.A

Only a few people know that Brooklyn has a chocolate factory that uses some of the best chocolate in the world. It is also the only chocolate bus tour in New York City and it starts at Union Square in Manhattan. The tour takes place every Tuesday and Thursday and lasts for 4.5 hours. You will get to enjoy chocolates from 4 of the best chocolate manufacturers in Brooklyn including traditional and artisanal chocolate production. 

You can watch demonstrations about how the chocolate transforms from the bean to a bar and even enjoy a complimentary classic Margherita slice along the way. You will get the opportunity to sample and purchase several varieties of chocolates such as the almond bark, molasses, peanut butter, dark, molasses, peanut butter, and milk chocolates. 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

7. Oaxaca, Mexico

Mexico is the place of origin of chocolate in the world, and it has deep roots in the culture and history of the people of the region. The indigenous Mesoamericans of the place are the first cultivators of chocolate in the world in 1100 BC, and the tradition continues to date. 

You will find chocolate in various forms in every street, and Mina street is famous for being the sweet street of the world. You can also witness the traditional way of making chocolates and the classic family recipes that a family passes down the generations. 

According to beliefs, chocolate is a great aphrodisiac and provides the drinker strength, and the origin of fermenting chocolate as a drink is from 450BC. There are so many variations to the chocolates that are available nowadays from all around the world. You can keep exploring and discover variations in the manufacturing and flavoring of the chocolate for the entirety of your lifetime. 

Although July 7th is the official World Chocolate Day, every true chocolate lover will agree that chocolate is for every day rather than for a special occasion. The consumption of chocolate in a year around the world is approximately 7.2 million metric tonnes. This accounts for a minimum of 160 chocolate bars per person in a year. The feeling of chocolate melting slowly in your mouth while lifting you to the heights of heavenly savor is something unique to chocolate. 

Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)


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