Love chocolate? Now, you can go on a choco-holiday

July 6, 2018

World Chocolate Day is celebrated on July 7 and it is a day to indulge in your favourite chocolate fantasy - whether it is a tall mug of chocolate milk laced with cinnamon, a gooey candy bar crammed with nuts, a multi-tiered chocolate cake, a batch of warm brownies, or strawberries dipped in melting chocolate. But if you want to take your love for chocolate to another level, why not travel down a chocolate trail for some delicious, irresistible treats. Enjoy! 

Chocolate mania in Brussels

Bean to Bar in Brussels

Known as the home of fine chocolate, no choco lover should miss out on Belgium’s finest! First popularised as a chocolate lover’s paradise with its invention of the praline, a candy made with generous amount of cream, sugar and crushed nuts, Belgium managed to take the dessert world by storm. No trip to the country is complete without venturing across the chocolate-laden cafes, diners, boutiques, and restaurants. Stop at Brussels, home to two of the biggest chocolate factories in the world (Godiva and Leonidas) and satisfy your cravings with their guided chocolate tours and museums. Sightseeing has never been this delicious!

Tantalising treats from New York

Chocolate frenzy in the Big Apple

Chocolate in the Big Apple is absolute bliss. Jacques Torres Chocolate, for instance, is a world-class eatery turning simple chocolate into a complete experience - whether you’re trying out their “wicked” spiced hot chocolate, nibbling on their signature melt-in-your-mouth truffles, or popping in some milk-chocolate-covered pretzels. And don’t forget to make a quick stopover at Kee’s Chocolates to enjoy fine handmade truffles. Experiment with the renowned chocolate chip cookies at Levain Bakery or make a beeline for The City Bakery if you’re in the mood for something rich, gooey, and deliciously chocolate. In the Big Apple, there’s something for everyone!

Melting moments in Mexico

Ground cocoa is popular in Mexico

Responsible for the birth of chocolate as long ago as 1100 BC, the people of Oaxaca, Mexico, take their chocolate very seriously! Popularly known as the “Drink of the Gods”, the city is swimming in chocolate in every form - indulgent pastries, crunchy bars, steaming hot beverages, or its own famous chocolate sauce called mole. No trip through the city is complete without a look at Calle Francisco Javier Mina near the city's central market, also popularly known as The Chocolate Street, where you can soak up the delightful scent of ground cocoa, sip on Chocomiel, an energising drink laced with honey and vanilla, and browse through charming family owned chocolate boutiques.

Sweet delights from Switzerland

The lure of Swiss chocolate never fades

Switzerland has been synonymous with the word chocolate ever since 1875, when Daniel Peter added powdered milk to what had been a deep, dark, bitter delicacy and changed the dessert world as we know it! Home to some world-class chocolatiers (did anyone say Nestle, Toblerone, Treuscher and Lindt?) there can never be a shortage of chocolatey activities to keep you, and your sweet tooth, satisfied. Book a ride on the Swiss Chocolate Train and enjoy the sights it has to offer. And last but not the least make sure you book a tour at Maison Cailler's chocolate factory, which begins with a look at ancient Aztec cocoa ceremonies, walks you through the milk chocolate production line, and ends, blissfully, with an all-you-can-eat tasting experience. If this doesn’t satisfy that craving, nothing will!

A cacao massage in St Lucia

Pamper yourself with a chocolate massage in the Caribbean

The small eastern-Caribbean island of St Lucia has lots and lots of mouthwatering chocolaty delights. Check in at the popular Hotel Chocolat, situated in St Lucia’s oldest chocolate plantation, and sample in their heavenly bars and truffles - made from beans grown on its own cocoa estate. But if eating the stuff is getting too clichéd for you, there’s always the option of hopping down to the resort to revel in their menu of “Cocoa Juvinate” treatments. Treat yourself to a well-deserved cacao massage and breathe in the sweet aromas as you experience luxury at its best. Take some time out to tour through the island’s many cacao plantations and don’t forget to sip on their Cacao Tea, a dreamy concoction known to captivate tourists.

Hot chocolate in Cologne

Catch the chocolate experience in Cologne

You can travel the world and yet never have lived a day till you’ve tried the excellent chocolate experience of Germany. Whether you are sipping delicious hot chocolate on a cold, snowy day, or munching on truffles in the heat, good chocolate is always just around the corner. Home to the Stollwerck Chocolate Company, Cologne towers over the rest of the towns in all matters chocolate. And of course it would be a crime to miss their world-famous Chocolate Museum, a three-storeyed futuristic building dedicated to the rich 3,000-year history of chocolate. Stroll through the museum's greenhouse with its cocoa trees, find out how the cocoa bean becomes a chocolate bar, and, as a finale, enjoy their most famous attraction - a 10-feet-high chocolate fountain!

Chocolate haven in Hershey’s, Pennsylvania

Sweet delights in Pennsylvania

Named after one of the most popular chocolate brands in the world, chocoholics can expect great things from this city! Home to Hershey’s Chocolate World, the US attraction treats visitors to an array of mouthwatering treats specifically designed to delight the senses. Take part in the Great American Chocolate Tour Ride, which takes you through the chocolate making process and finishes off with some free sampling. Or choose between varieties of ingredients to make a customised Hershey’s bar!

If you want to bring the celebrations closer home, why not try out these chocolate recipes in your kitchen on World Chocolate Day….

 

Spiced Chocolate Pot de Crème

Pot-de-creme chocolate

Cooking Time: 20 minutes + 2 hour chill time

Serves: 6-8 people

INGREDIENTS:

1 ½ cup semi-sweet cooking chocolate, finely chopped ¾ cup whole milk ¾ cup heavy cream 3 egg yolks 1 tsp espresso powder 1 tsp ground cinnamon 5 tbsp white granulated sugar Whipped cream and chocolate shavings, to garnish

                                                          

METHOD

1. In a saucepan set over medium heat, continuously whisk together milk, cream, egg yolks, espresso powder, ground cinnamon and sugar. Keep whisking and once the mixture becomes thick and coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat.

2. Strain and pour the hot mixture of the finely chopped chocolate. Let it rest for 2-3 minutes and then whisk well.

3. Transfer the mixture into serving cups and let it set in the fridge for at least two hours. Before serving, top with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate shavings.

 

Chilli Chocolate Truffles

Chilli truffle chocolate

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 6 people

INGREDIENTS

250 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

125 ml double cream

1 dried chilli

25 g butter

1 pinch of sea salt

50 g good-quality cocoa powder

A pinch of chilli powder

METHOD

1. Break up the chocolate and place in a small bowl. In a saucepan, heat the cream with the dried chilli until just boiling. Remove from the heat, discard the chilli, and add the butter.

2. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and add a pinch of chilli powder. Stir to melt the chocolate then let it sit and stir again. Once it has all melted leave it to cool, then cover with cling film and refrigerate until it has set for about an hour.

3. Put the cocoa in bowl for rolling. Scoop out teaspoons of the set truffle mixture and roll them in your hands to make balls.

4. Coat them with the cocoa and put them in the fridge to firm up for about 30 minutes.  

 (Recipes by Swasthi Aggarwal, Food Strategist, Foodhall)

 

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