There are many places to go for a taste of the world’s richest chocolate creations, but Europe is a good place to begin. There’s no reason why chocolate-lovers can’t turn some attention to their favorite treat while they travel Europe – in fact, you can hit some of the most revered cities and villages in European chocolate culture without missing a beat . From Swiss truffles in the Alps to luscious chocolate sauce as warm as the Spanish sun, look into these hot sport for chocolate production and appreciation.
1. Bruges, Belgium
It shouldn’t be too surprising that the storybook city of Bruges is home to more chocolate shops than any other city in the world. Sitting along cobbled bridges and between pastoral canals, duck into any of the small, dimly lit chocolate shops for a selection of artfully made confections. Fresh Belgian waffles are a perennial favorite, especially covered with warm and rich dark chocolate sauce, but be sure to pick up a box of chocolates to take home, too.
2. Broc, Switzerland
One of Switzerland’s oldest and dearest chocolate institutions lives in Broc, a small town in the Gruyere region at the foot of the Alps. Maison Cailler offers indulgent and comprehensive tours of the factory, the history of the chocolate company and the chocolate making process. In fact, visitors are invited into the workshop to create their own chocolates under the guidance of a Cailler chocolate master. The Alpine fields and mountain peaks are the perfect backdrop for a study in Swiss chocolate.
3. Cologne, Germany
Germany’s undisputed chocolate capital boasts a world-renowned, interactive chocolate museum on the banks of the Rhine River. Visitors are welcomed with a whiff of chocolate, and after an enlightening lesson in chocolate culture, will leave with a taste. Cologne is a lovely little city in its own right, and its deep connection to chocolate culture and production makes it prime territory for some of the best chocolate shops in the country.
4. Villajoyosa, Spain
This small coastal town on Spain’s east coast has three chocolate factories that are open to visitors, and a firm footing in chocolate culinary culture. Like other European cities, Villajoyosa embraces the rich indulgence of chocolate with creative takes on old traditions and new favorites. Be sure to try fresh, doughy churros (a Spanish specialty) dipped in rich dark and white chocolate sauces while you walk along the sunny seaside.
5. Perugia, Italy
This city is home to Baci, the high quality chocolate brand you’ll see all over Italy. It also has the world’s first hotel dedicated to chocolate, and celebrates their love of the rich confection with an astounding chocolate festival in the autumn. Perugia is a place to revere and relish chocolate culture, but it also offers a host of other cultural and historic attractions, which makes it a great place to include in any tour of Italy.
Since there are so many wonderful spots for high quality chocolate in Europe, you don’t necessarily have to plan your trip around the most famous chocolate centers. But remember, chocolates can be difficult to keep and cart around, especially in the middle of summer, so you may want to save your souvenir shopping until the very end of your trip.