When I discovered today that it was World Chocolate Day, this article was set in my mind, even though I featured a lot of sweet treats just last week. So be ready for your double helping of dessert and all things chocolatey.
Meanwhile, you'll see in the photo team members Kendall, Shanna and Wendy during our very first day this week in our new office.
It's just a glimpse for now, but give us a couple of weeks and we will finally be able to accept scheduled in-house client consultations, and coffee will be served thanks to Kendall volunteering for barista duties.As our team continues to steadily grow, all with both different and complimentary specialties, we'd love for as many of you as possible to pop in at some point to get to know us even better. For now back to World Chocolate Day and a Top 5 of chocolate experiences around the world.
Top 5 Chocolates in Travel
1. Hacienda AltaGracia, Costa Rica (above)
I stayed at this gorgeous Auberge property at the end of May and while I wrote a lot about how impressed I was, I think I neglected to even mention the "Cacao Experience" on site, one of the many included amenities with their culinary team and a part of their immersive workshops exploring the unique ingredients and traditional dishes of Costa Rica. It was a fascinating lesson in the process of making the highest quality chocolate:
opening the pods - fermenting the seeds - drying the seeds - winnowing the cocoa - grinding the nibs - blending the cocoa liquor.
2. Lisbon, Portugal
In Lisbon’s central Bairro Alto, the historic quarter that’s now one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods, a handful of shops offer sublime, small-batch chocolate – a welcome reward for a day spent walking Lisbon’s hills. Here are three to seek out:
Bettina and Niccolò Corallo
Each morning in the basement beneath their tiny, two-table café, Bettina and Niccolò Corallo craft some of the world’s purest chocolate – no milk, no vanilla – using techniques honed on the family’s cacao farm in São Tomé and Príncipe. Along with a range of bean-to-bar chocolate (including the divine 70 percent cacao with salt flakes and the 80 percent cacao with sugar crystals), they offer 100 percent cacao sorbet and hot chocolate, and heavenly brownies.
Chocolataria Equador (above)
Head to the cavernous Lisbon outpost of Porto-based Chocolataria Equador for a wide selection of chocolates, bonbons, and truffles in eye-catching wrappers designed in-house. Standouts include dark chocolate bars with port, ginjinha (sour cherry liqueur), and local sea salt, all of which make perfect gifts.
Landeau Chocolate (below)
Landeau Chocolate sells only one food, but founder Sofia Landeau has perfected it: a triple-layer chocolate cake. It sounds simple – a fluffy, dark chocolate cake base with a layer of dark chocolate mousse blanketed in cacao powder. But what elevates Landeau’s dessert are her connections to the finest cacao sources in the world and her knowledge of the best way to blend each origin’s distinctive flavors.
3. Barcelona, Spain (below)
One of our favorite private tour suppliers Context has a spectacular Barcelona Chocolate tour on their menu. Over the course of a 3-hour private chocolate tour in Barcelona, you can sample traditional delicacies while weaving a narrative of chocolate in the city led by a true expert guide. Together, you will discover the ways in which chocolate elevates Catalan daily life and highlights its unique cultural identity. As the walk comes to a close, you will come away with an understanding of the history of chocolate in this Spanish seaside city and the various traditional Catalan desserts to enjoy in Barcelona.
4. Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii (below)
In this 3-hour walking tour you cover every corner of Princeville Botanical Gardens. Your friendly guide will share stories of the gardens' development and a wealth of fascinating information about the plants. Seasonal fruit samples and homemade honey will keep your energy up as you explore our valleys.
Also included is a 1/2-hour chocolate tasting during which you'll learn about the cacao tree and how the family at how the Robertson family at Princeville botanical gardens process their own organic chocolate, while sampling delicious gourmet chocolates from around the world.
5. Chiang Mai, Thailand (above)
This is a destination that the J5Travel team will be visiting in September and we are all already extremely excited to be returning to Thailand.
In Chiang Mai it is possible to turn Thai cacao beans in to your own chocolate in just 4 hours.
You work on making chocolate from scratch and your chocolatier specializes in Dark Bitter Chocolate. However, you can make the type that you prefer:
- Dark Bitter Chocolate of your preferred percentage of cacao
- Milk Chocolate (traditional or vegan)
- White Chocolate (traditional or vegan)You will be making classic unflavoured chocolate that is perfect for baking, snacking, making hot drinks and experimenting with different bars.
If you are ready to start satisfy your travel sweet tooth let us know by clicking the button below.
I love travel and I love travel planning just as much and I am proud to be building a team as passionate about exploring the world as myself. It took me a very long time to align my career with my undeniable passion for exploring, but now I and the team are here for you. Your personal travel tailors - award reservation and luxury custom itinerary experts. We provide a bespoke service, imagining and creating itineraries for independent minded families and groups.
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