Easter is about many things - new life in the natural world, celebrating Jesus’s resurrection, spending time with family, looking ahead to warmer weather and…chocolate. The tradition of giving chocolate eggs as gifts at this time of year started in Germany and France in the 19th century and has slowly grown to become something synonymous with the celebration.
But there’s no reason why you should restrict your love for chocolate to Easter. Here are five great towns and cities around the world where you can indulge as much as you like. If you would like to plan a short break to any of these fantastic places, call us on 0808 256 4521 or click here to submit an online enquiry.
Where better to start our list than the ‘Capital of Chocolate’? Belgium has over 2,000 chocolate shops in total but most of these can be found on the streets of the capital. You only have to step off the Eurostar at Bruxelles-Midi to see just how much this city loves the sweet treat, but explore further and you’ll find many more luxurious offerings.
Start by learning all about how cocoa beans are transformed into your favourite confection at the Musee du Cocao et du Chocolate, where you can also help yourself to some delicious samples. Then head off in search of Brussels’s famous chocolates shops. High-end brands such as Leonidas, Godiva and Neuhaus truffles all have fantastic offerings for gifts or to eat there and then.
Renamed in 1906 in honour of the company founded here, this town was formerly known as Derry Church. Now proudly boasting the Hershey name, it offers plenty for chocolate lovers to enjoy when they pass through. Discover the history of the company at the Hershey Story Museum, create your own bar at Hershey’s Chocolate World or relax in the chocolate spa at the Hershey Hotel.
As this American treat tends to divide opinion this side of the pond, some of you may be glad to hear that this is also the home of the H.B. Reese Candy Company, so there will be plenty of peanut butter delights to sample too. Plus, even if you’re not a fan of the chocolate, it’s worth visiting for the high-speed thrills on offer at Hershey Park alone.
As the birthplace of milk chocolate as we know it today, Switzerland is another great European destination for anyone planning their travels around sweet treats. You can’t walk far in the centre of Zurich without finding a chocolate shop – with Lindt, Sprungli and Treuscher all being particular favourites. The latter offers over 100 different varieties, specialising in sumptuous Champagne truffles that have locals and tourists raving in equal measure.
Take a walk along Bahnhofstrasse to see how luxury chocolatiers with hundreds of years of history sit side by side with brands like Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors, or take a short train ride to Kilchberg and see how Lindt has been producing chocolate here since 1845 – complete with samples, of course. And speaking of trains, Switzerland is also famous for the delicious sounding Chocolate Train which travels from Montreaux to Broc with a stop in Gruyères along the way. Amongst other experiences, you will get to tour the Cailler-Nestle factory at the end of your journey.
Switzerland may be the birthplace of modern milk chocolate but the origins of chocolate productions in general can be traced back to the Mesoamericans who lived in the region of present-day Mexico thousands of years ago. Situated within the state of the same name, the city of Oaxaca has carried on these traditions and has become a popular destination for chocolate connoisseurs. Shops for brands like La Soledad, Mayordomo and Guelaguetza can all be found in the city centre and all showcase the unique production methods and recipes that have been passed down through the generations. The local chocolate is also used to make delicious hot drinks and included in recipes for anything from breakfast to sauce for chicken.
Famous for its Eau de Cologne and one of Germany’s most visited landmarks (the cathedral), the city has also built up quite a reputation as a chocolate lover’s paradise. From the city centre, you can catch the Chocolate Train (it travels along the road, not rails) to the Lindt Chocolate Museum. Follow the story from source to bar as you make your way through the exhibits and then feast your eyes on the giant chocolate fountain. There’s a place where you can design and create your own bar and a decadent chocolate café downstairs where you can wait whilst it is made.
Back on the streets of the city centre, which are well-known as a great place to shop, chocolatiers offer the chance to take something delicious home. Tortchen Tortchen and Neuhaus are two such places that will definitely tempt you in as you walk by the window.