When it comes to chocolate, Switzerland is often revered as the cream of the crop. While there’s no denying its merit, I think it’s time for the Swiss to step aside – these European countries have something sweet to say.
Throughout Germany, Italy and Belgium you will find some of the most delicious and interesting towns, all famous for the same thing: chocolate. With a fountain straight out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as opportunities to bathe in this confection, these European cities are bound to make your mouth water.
Italy is not exactly new to the confectionery game, with famous brands such as Venchi and Ferrero proudly flying il Tricolore on sweetshop counters all over the world. Chocophiles will be interested to learn that Italy is the proud host of the ten-day Eurochocolate festival. Held in Perugia, over one million patrons turn up to satisfy their sweet teeth by sculpting, making, tasting and even bathing in chocolaty goodness.
Want to see how the sausage… err, chocolate is made? Visit Casa del Ciccolato and watch workers create this delicious product, explore the factory itself and even take a crash course in chocolatiering at their on-site school.
As home to chocolatiers who have been perfecting their products for over 100 years, it’s not hard to see why Belgium is world famous for this treat. The country takes its title seriously – according to a law from 1884, any products must comprise at least 30% cocoa to classify as real Belgian chocolate.
To put this confection to the (taste) test, head to Grand Sablon in Brussels. This square is filled with some of the best chocolate makers in all of Europe, ranging from independent businesses to well-known giants such as Godiva.
Cologne is about as close to Willy Wonka’s factory as you can get. Their ten-foot chocolate fountain is reminiscent of the story’s edible river – and much better than the latter. While you can enjoy dipping a waffle into the sweet spray, it’s quite unlikely you’ll fall in and become wedged inside a giant pipe.
Still hungry? Feed your mind at Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum, a museum dedicated to learning about the history, manufacturing and marketing of this confection.
If this post has made your sweet tooth ache, there’s only one way to satisfy it: hop a plane to one of these delicious cities. After all, the best way to enjoy foreign chocolate? In a foreign country, of course.