If you are a lover of chocolate, then there are a number of fantastic European cities which will offer you the opportunity to indulge your sweet tooth whilst being surrounded by stunning architecture to boot. When you think about European countries which may have a long-standing history with cocoa there are several that spring to mind such as Belgium and Switzerland, but these aren’t the only places you can travel if you want to take a short break to a sweet city. Here are our top picks:-
Although this city has only recently become a chocolate-making centre, it is now one of the fastest growing chocolate destinations in Europe and this is largely thanks to the 10-day chocolate tasting event which takes place each October here: ‘Eurochocolate’. During this festival, almost one million visitors descend on the city to partake of the chocolate delights on offer.
Aside from the festival, Perugia is also home to Perugina, iconic Italian chocolatiers. They have created Casa del Cioccolato (House of Chocolate) which offers visitors the opportunity to explore the Perugina factory, see chocolatiers in action and even take chocolatier courses in their School of Chocolate.
There are a number of enchanting places to stay if you are visiting the area; Perugia is an area encompassing a high hilltop and the valleys below and if you can find accommodation set high up, then you will be able to appreciate the beautiful sweeping countryside in your surroundings.
London is home to some of the best chocolate shops in Europe; in fact London has a surprising and interesting history when it comes to the world of cocoa with the first chocolate shop opening in the city in 1657.
There are many fantastic places a chocolate lover could visit such as Artisan du Chocolat, Choccywoccydoodah or Melt but we would recommend taking part in one of the many chocolate tours available in the city. You can not only learn about the history of chocolate in London but will also get the chance to visit many of the fine chocolatiers and sample the delights on offer.
Book a hotel in Bayswater and turn your visit into a short break. This will give you chance to not only indulge yourself on the tour but also to visit the Chocolate Museum which is located in Brixton and offers visitors a chance to explore the history of chocolate in London. There are often workshops and taster sessions available as well. If you were staying in a hotel in Bayswater, it would take you less than 20 minutes to travel by tube to the museum.
Of course, no list of top European cities for chocolate-lovers would be complete without mention of the masters, after all there is a reason why Belgian chocolate is world famous! Whilst Brussels in home to many internationally renowned brands such as Godivas and Leonidas, the real heart of the chocolate-making community lies with the independent chocolatiers and for a true taste of Belgian chocolate you should head to Grand Sablon; a beautiful square which is full of Belgium’s finest chocolatiers all showcasing their chocolate creations.
Alternatively, if you want to head somewhere slightly different in Brussels, or perhaps add another destination into your short Belgian break then Bruges is an amazing city which offers street after street of chocolatiers all housed in stunning historical buildings. If you go during the winter months you can enjoy and experience the Christmas markets which set up shop here each year.
Although when one thinks of Germany they don’t necessarily think of chocolate, in fact, the city of Cologne is home to one of the best chocolate museums in Europe, and not just because of the 10 foot chocolate fountain!
The interactive Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum was originally built to celebrate 150 years of Stollwerck, a well known chocolate brand but is now a much visited tourist attraction. Once you have discovered the history of chocolate, and information about the chocolate making process you can finish your visit off by enjoying a warm waffle dipped into the giant chocolate fountain, what could be better?
The museum is located on the banks of the River Rhine and there are a number of hotels within a short walking distance which offer amazing views over the water, if you wanted to book an overnight stay as part of your trip.
If you feel like taking in a bit of history with your chocolate tasting then it makes sense to head to the country which first brought chocolate into Europe: the Spanish. As well as being the first to taste the wonderful substance they were also the first to create a chocolate making machine in 1780, so it is no surprise that you will find many fine chocolatiers in this city including brands such as Escriba and Fargas.
Barcelona is also home to the Musea de la Xocolata, if you want to discover the history and production of chocolate as well as taking part in chocolate making workshops.
Whichever city you decide to visit, you will find much more than just the delights of chocolate. Many of these cities have rich and colourful histories which can be explored as you wander the cobbled streets and hidden alleyways in search of that great chocolate fix. Many also offer chocolate tours which allow you a great chance to visit some of the gems you might otherwise miss if left to your own devices, and it is always worth looking online ahead of any short break to see whether recent visitors have discovered information worth knowing: such as where to get the best hot chocolate, or to find that unique cocoa creation which will make the ideal souvenir.