For many of us, getting older means gaining the time and freedom to enjoy everything life has to offer. If you’re a fan of traveling through the culinary world, why not take an adventure on the sweeter side of life? The international world of chocolate has something to offer everyone, from artisanal shops and historical landmarks to cocoa plantations and festivals. Pack your bags as we explore the best vacation destinations for chocolate lovers!
No country is more synonymous with chocolate than Belgium, and for a good reason! This small European nation is home to some of the best chocolatiers in the world. In addition to world-renowned brands, you’ll find plenty of small, independent chocolatiers in Belgium.
Chocolate has been a part of the French culture for centuries, and it’s no wonder—the French are some of the best pastry chefs in the world! While you can find chocolate shops throughout the country, chocolate aficionados will want to head to the chocolate-producing region of Lorraine. If you’re looking to learn more about being a chocolatier, don’t forget to stop by the Musée Gourmand du Chocolat.
If you want to get closer to the source of your favorite chocolate, a trip to Ecuador is in order! This South American country is home to many cocoa plantations, where you can learn about the chocolate-making process from start to finish. You’ll also find plenty of chocolate shops and festivals throughout the country, making it one of the best chocolate havens in the world.
The United States
If you don’t want to travel abroad, the US is home to a number of iconic chocolate brands that gladly host tours and provide unique chocolate experiences. One of the best travel destinations for retirees, Santa Fe, NM, sports an array of local chocolate houses that incorporate local flavors into their sweet treats. However, if you’re looking for a town that does chocolate like no other, Hershey, Pennsylvania, is worth a visit!
Which Chocolates To Try
There are some chocolate treats to try no matter the destination, as they provide a clear picture of what makes that region’s chocolate so special.
Every truffle is unique, but once you have a foundational definition of what a truffle is, you understand why these chocolates are a must-try anywhere you travel. Truffles require genuine expertise and care on the chocolatier’s part and, when done well, the result is everything you could want from chocolate: a soft, decadent center within a tempered and silky shell.
Many of the regions on this list have their own creations iconic to that area. For example, you’ll only find true buckeye confections in the Midwest USA. Meanwhile, the best chocolate macarons are only in France.
Local Candy Bars
Finally, if you’re looking to bring a bit of each destination back with you, consider collecting a few local candy bars and confections before you go. While not the same as handcrafted chocolates, these local candies are a cost-effective way to experience the tastes of the region and, if you’re so inclined, share them with your friends back home!
If you’re looking to spend your midlife experiencing the decadent things in life, visit any of these vacation destinations for chocolate lovers. Satisfy your senses with the unique experience each destination has to offer and develop your dessert expertise along the way!