10 Travel Destinations for the Best Chocolate in the World


The world has been enamored by chocolate since around 1100 BC, when it was first cultivated by the Mesoamericans. Here are the top 10 travel destinations for chocoholics- there are no better places on earth to sample some of the best chocolate in the world:

10. Cologne, Germany

Stollwerck chocolate top 10 chocolate travel destinations

The chocolate capital of Germany, Cologne is the home of the Stollwerck chocolate company, which in its prime was the second largest supplier of chocolate to the United States. For the 150th anniversary of the company a museum exhibit was created to celebrate their history. Since then, the exhibit has grown into an entire museum. The Imhoff Stollwerck museum also known locally as the chocolate museum celebrates the history of chocolate around the world, and has interactive exhibits, samples and a giant chocolate fountain.

Best Chocolate Shops

While the chocolate museum does produce chocolate, it does so purely for demonstration purposes, the product of which can be sampled at the café or bought at the chocolate shop. The Stollwerck chocolate available in stores comes from eight different production plants located in Germany., Belgium, and Switzerland (look for the Sarotti, Sprengel, Gubor, Alpia, or Stollwerck brands). Other chocolate shops are La Maison du Chocolate, Tortchen Tortchen, Weibler Confectionery, Demnitz Chocolaterie, Mama Chocolate and Leonidas Chocolates.

9. Tain L’Hermitage, France

Valrhona chocolate top 10 chocolate travel destinations

A small town in the heart of wine country, and only a short drive from Lyon, Tain L’Hermitage is the home of the world-renowned chocolate producer, Valrhona. A great stop is the Valrhona Ecole du Grand Chocolat, a school that teaches professional chefs, chocolatiers and caterers. They even host a three-day course that teaches amateurs how to make decadent deserts.  (Their website also includes recipes, including the cake pictured above.)

Best Chocolate Shops

Being such a small town there isn’t much competition in Tain L’Hermitage. In fact, Valrhona is pretty much it. Founded in 1922 by pastry chef Monsieur Guironnet, Valrhona has become one of the leading producers of chocolate in the world.

8. Hershey, Pennsylvania

Dubbed “the Sweetest Place on Earth,” the town (originally called Derry Church) was renamed Hershey in 1906 due to the popularity of Hershey chocolates. The town is home to both The Hershey Company and the H. B. Reese Candy Company. “Chocolatetown, USA” has branded itself as an American chocolate center and some popular chocolatey attractions include Hershey’s Chocolate World, The Hershey Story Museum and the Chocolate Spa.

Best Chocolate Shops

One of the best places to taste Hershey chocolate is at Hershey’s Chocolate World, which offers a Chocolate Tasting Adventure. Other great places to get your chocolate fix are Café Zooka and the Cocoa Beanery. You can also try the Iberian Lounge for chocolate cocktails.

7. New York, New York

Jacques Torres chocolate top 10 chocolate travel destinations

As with most things in New York City, the chocolatiers here have come from all corners of the globe, and have brought with them their recipes for scrumptious chocolate treats. Besides all of the fantastic chocolate shops in the city, visitors can take a chocolate tour with either the New Cuisine Chocolate Tour or the Luxury Chocolate Tour, where you can learn about the history of the shops you visit and sample some of their chocolates.

Best Chocolate Shops

While there are many worthwhile chocolate shops in New York City, some of the best include Chocolate Bar, MarieBelle, Li-Lac and Richart Design et Chocolat. However the best of the best is Jacques Torres Chocolate, with favorites like his famous champagne truffles, rich hot chocolate, chocolate-cloaked almonds and pain au chocolat (chocolate pastry).

6. Villajoyosa, Spain

Valor chocolate top 10 chocolate travel destinations

Often called “Chocolate City,” Villajoyosa’s chocolate history began in the 18th century when it began importing cocoa beans from Venezuela and Ecuador. Today chocolate production is still booming as the town is home to Spain’s oldest gourmet chocolate producer, Valor, which was founded in 1881. Villajoyosa also boasts an excellent chocolate museum that not only showcases the history of Villajoyosa’s chocolate production but also how local favorites are made.


Best Chocolate Shops

Valor is the best place in town to buy chocolate. Their chocolate with churros is a local specialty that must not be missed. Other shops include Chocolates Perez, Mokafe, Chocolates Clavileno, Siroco and Jose Vinache Soriano.

5. San Francisco, California

Ghirardelli chocolate top 10 chocolate travel destinations

The Bay Area is home to one of the oldest chocolate manufacturers in the United States, making it a destination for many chocolate lovers. As in New York, chocolate tours are a great way to take in San Francisco’s best chocolate shops. You can also step back in history wandering through Ghirardelli Square, which was originally built as an expansion of the old Ghirardelli chocolate factory.

Best Chocolate Shops

Ghirardelli Chocolate was founded during the California Gold Rush by Domenico Ghirardelli and has grown to become as much a part of San Francisco as the trolley car or the Golden Gate Bridge. Scherffen Berger was the first company in America to completely create their chocolate from bean to bar and they offer free tours of their factory six times a day. Other shops worth checking out include Michael Recchiuti, XOX Truffle, Richart San Francisco, Cocoa Bella, TCHO, Coco-Luxe and Christopher Elbow Artisinal Chocolates.

4. Oaxaca, Mexico

The ancient Mesoamericans were the world’s first chocolatiers and Mexico has continued to produce chocolate ever since. Today in Oaxaca, residents have embraced chocolate as a part of their culture and it seems visitors to the city can’t walk down the street without being offered chocolate in some form, whether it is hot chocolate, chocolate pastry or chocolate candy.  While there are major chocolate producers based here, a lot of Oaxaca’s chocolate is made with old family recipes the old-fashioned way, ground either by hand or with electric grinders and mixed by hand.


Best Chocolate Shops

Located on the street 20 de Noviembre are the three largest chocolate producers in the city, Moyordomo, Guelaguetza and La Soledad. On Mina Street, as well as 20 de Noviembre, you can check out barrels of cocoa beans in almost every doorway. You can also find vendors peddling their handmade chocolate treats at any of the markets in the city.

3. Barcelona, Spain

Amatller chocolate top 10 chocolate travel destinations

The Spanish were the first Europeans to experience chocolate that was brought back from the New World, and Barcelona has been a center for chocolate lovers ever since. Among its chocolate-covered achievements, the city can boast that the first chocolate making machine was built there in 1780. Today Barcelona celebrates its rich chocolate heritage with a museum dedicated to chocolate, the Museo de La Xocolata, which features everything from chocolate sculptures to hot chocolate.

Best Chocolate Shops

Over the years Barcelona has produced some of the finest chocolatiers in the world such as Antoni Amatller and Simon Coll. Their shops, Chocolates Amatller and Chocolate a la Taza, are still producing fine chocolates more than 150 years after they first opened their doors. Other shops to take in include Dulcinea, Fargas and Pasteleria Escriba all of which have been open since the early 1900s.

2. Zurich, Switzerland

Frey chocolate top 10 chocolate travel destinations

Switzerland consumes more chocolate per person that any other country, and with world-renowned companies like Cailler-Nestle, Toblerone, Lindt, Treuscher and Sprungli calling it home it’s no wonder. Zurich is the heart of chocolate production in the country and Lindt, Treuscher and Sprungli all have factories and stores in the city. For a truly unique experience, the Swiss Travel System, along with Cailler-Nestle, offers an excursion on “The Swiss Chocolate Train.” The train departs from Montreux and makes a stop in Gruyeres (where Gruyere cheese is made) before finally arriving in Broc where guests get a tour of the Cailler-Nestle factory.


Best Chocolate Shops

Treuscher, Lindt and Spungli can be found just about everywhere as can local favorite Frey. However in Lindt’s case visiting their factory store can save 10-20% and you can also buy half-price chocolates that were rejected because of improper packaging or other flaw. Some great chocolate boutiques in Zurich include Truffe, Schrober and Merkur.

1. Brussels, Belgium

Brussels chocolate top 10 chocolate travel destinations

The entire country of Belgium is a chocoholic’s paradise, boasting 12 chocolate factories, 16 chocolate museums and more than 2,100 chocolate shops. Brussels, however, stands above the rest. The city is home to two of the biggest chocolate companies in the world, Godiva and Leonidas, as well as many smaller chocolate boutiques. While all kinds of chocolate treats can be found in Brussels, pralines are king. In fact, they were first created there by Jean Neuhaus in 1912. If you visit Brussels, make sure you go to the Musee du Cocao et du Chocolate where you can learn how chocolate is made.

Best Chocolate Shops

The “Chocolate Capital of the World,” Brussels is filled with chocolate shops. Grand Sablon, a small square in the heart of the city, houses some of the best- it is home to Wittamer, Pierre Marcolini, Neuhaus, Godiva, Leonidas and Zaabar. No trip to Brussels would be complete without a visit to Mary, which was founded in 1919 and has been a favorite of the Belgian Royal Family since 1942.

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  1. As if. Hersheys is rubbish by international standards. Birmingham/London (Cadburys) should be in there ahead of Hersheys easily.

  2. I was born in Brussels. Coincidentally, I am known for being a chocoholic.

  3. Tuscany should definitely be a destination for chocolate as well…In case you guys haven’t heard of this exquisite chocolatiers, give the Amedei chocolate a try, it is simply marvelous! The Chuao & the Porcelana bars are some of the best chocolats you will ever eat in your life!

  4. Jacques Torres is indeed worth a visit (especially for the hot chocolate, it's like a melted bar!), but nothing is better the Leonieadas in New York. Trust me, I've been to every chocolate shop on the island of Manhattan, and there is NOTHING better. Especially if you love dark chocolate!

  5. Mouthwatering chocolates. I am a fan of chocolates. Thanks for the nice pictures.