CHOCOLATE, chocolat, cioccolato, choklad or schokolade – no matter which language you say it, the sound of this wickedly delicious word rolling off your tongue evokes thoughts of sweet bliss. Chocoholics who are looking for an excuse to eat the sugary stuff this year can satisfy their cravings at some of the world’s best chocolate festivals, theme parks, candy stores and museums, where cocoa creations range from chocolate lipsticks to chocolate warriors.
The team at Escape Travel has handpicked a list of mouth-watering chocolate events for travellers to combine their next international holiday with a stop in a city that shares a love for chocolate, from New York to Shanghai, Paris, Lyon, Zurich, Barcelona and Cologne.
Zurich: Salon du Chocolat - March, 2013
Switzerland is internationally recognised as one of the biggest chocolate producers, with home-grown brands like Toblerone, Treuscher and Lindt. Chocoholics can even take a journey aboard The Swiss Chocolate Train, which travels from Montreux to Gruyere and Broc, where passengers get a tour at the Caillier-Nestle factory.
The famous Salon du Chocolat was held in Zurich last year for the first time, bringing together chocolatiers, pastry chefs and dessert connoisseurs from Switzerland and France to treat the locals to a wealth of sweet creations.
Paris: Salon du Chocolat - October, 2013
Le Salon du Chocolat is a worldwide event, but the five-day extravaganza in Paris is by far the most decadent. Records show that more than 135,000 visitors walk through the doors to see, smell and taste the chocolate works of 400 participants, including 200 pastry chefs and 160 exhibitors.
‘New Worlds of Chocolate’ was the theme of last year’s event, which showcased new tastes, trends and talents, including a chocolate lipstick that was designed to carry in your handbag and created by Sébastien Bouillet. For an extra cocoa boost, visit some of the Parisian candy stores throughout the city to discover exquisite French sweets and hard-to-find chocolates made by smaller regional artisans.
London: Chocolate Week - October, 2013
In the third week of October, the United Kingdom celebrates all things chocolate. London embraces the celebration by hosting delicious events across town. Highlights throughout the week include ‘choc-tail’ offerings at some of the coolest bars, a buffet of chocolate feasts, cooking demonstrations and more.
A two-day finale - Chocolate Unwrapped – caps off the week and is the perfect opportunity for visitors to marvel and delight in chocolate creations, made by by top chefs and chocolatiers.
New York: The Chocolate Show - November, 2013
Typical of New York City, chocolatiers at The Chocolate Show have come from all around the world to present their recipes for scrumptious treats. This famous show is celebrating its 16th anniversary this year and is beyond doubt the largest show dedicated to chocolate across the USA.
Visitors should be prepared for a big day, with an event schedule that is dotted with special performances, workshops, tastings and more. If that’s not enough, get your mouth-watering on one of NYC’s dedicated chocolate tours – the New Cuisine Chocolate Tour or the Luxury Chocolate Tour.
Shanghai: World Chocolate Wonderland - February, 2014
A theme park dedicated entirely to chocolate opened in Shanghai in February 2012, featuring a giant Great Wall of China sculpture and a 500-man army of Terracotta Warriors made from chocolate. Experts predict that every year to come will be even bigger and better, welcoming chocoholics to marvel at wearable chocolate art and exquisite cocoa creations, from handbags to hundred-dollar bills.
Barcelona: Museu de la Xocolata - Open year round
It might not be a festival, but Barcelona has a whole museum dedicated to chocolate. Museu de la Xocolata is home to chocolate art sculptures and a bunch of educational facts about the history of chocolate, from its medicinal benefits to nutritional values. It’s quite small and detailed, so it’s perfect for a short visit with the kids.
Cologne: Schokoladen Museum - Open year round
Cologne is another example of a city with its very own Chocolate Museum, which was founded in 1993 by Dr Hand Imoff and is situated on the banks of the Rhine.
Today the museum provides a modern insight into the history and popularity of chocolate, from its reputation as the ‘food of Gods’ to its evolution as an industrial product.