In my never-ending quest to infuse every possible aspect of my life with chocolate, I have discovered what must truly be the epitome of combining the best of all possible things – vacations that are scheduled around all things chocolate. In some cases, the offerings are coming directly from luxury resorts that offer themed weekends filled with chocolate tours, cocoa-scented aromatherapy treatments, chocolate gifts upon arrival and departure, and of course lots and lots of chocolate desserts. Others are more elaborate, week-long adventures held on board elegant cruise ships featuring chocolate lectures and using chocolate in innovative preparations for every course served, while others are more activity-based, teaching baking and cooking classes using the best in chocolate ingredients. Here are some of my favorites:
- Regent Seven Seas’ Annual Chocolate Cruise
Regent is one of the finest cruise lines in the world, offering luxury cruise amenities and visiting exotic locations. Their annual Chocolate Cruise tours the Caribbean while offering guests lectures on the history of chocolate, chocolate cooking demonstrations, a chocolate buffet, and much more.
- Hershey’s Chocolate World
No exploration of chocolate vacation would be complete without including a visit to Hershey, Pennsylvania. Hershey’s Chocolate World offers tours of the famous Hershey’s chocolate factories as well as chocolate-themed amusement parks complete with your favorite Hershey’s treats walking around in full costume. For a more refined experience, the luxurious, four-star Hotel Hershey offers a spa experience that includes cocoa massages and wraps.
- Chocolate Tours
From Belize to Boston, nearly every major city seems to offer a chocolate-themed tour that provides access to the best chocolatiers in whatever locale you’re visiting, but one of the best in the world is the tour offered in Antwerp, Belgium by the company known as Culinaire Wandelingen, or Culinary Walks. Belgium is home to some of the finest chocolatiers in the world, and the tour offered in Antwerp not only offers the ability to taste some of their finest confections, but also to learn about how chocolate came to Belgium and how it became a source of national pride.
- L’Ecole du Grand Chocolate
If you’re the type of chocolate lover who wants to dig in and get your hands dirty with the sumptuous stuff, then you can’t do much better than a three or four-day intensive chocolate cooking class taught by the head pastry chef at Valhrona Chocolates, taught in their special teaching kitchens. Classes are limited to eight students and cover such topics as ganache making and chocolate pastries.