How to improve holidays with children
Hey mum, let's go mad with chocolate
Sunday 08 April 2007
I'm blessed with two children who have never been very fussy about food. Patrick will eat anything, as long as it's chocolate, and Stanley is pretty much the same, although he doesn't like it if it contains nuts. So it goes without saying that Easter is a very special time for my kids; official estimates from the Waste and Resources Action Programme show that between them, children are responsible for consuming at least half of the 80 million chocolate eggs that are sold every Easter in the UK. Yes, my mini oompa-loompas could eat chocolate for Britain.
So what's a loving parent to do to ensure her poor defenceless offspring don't get post-Easter egg withdrawal syndrome? Go on a chocolate-themed holiday, of course, which is much easier to organise than I thought it would be. It seems choco-holidays are all the rage: whether it's a five-star hotel or a caravan you're after, there are ways and means of indulging your little chocoholics.
For sugar-coated starters, Coastal Cottages of Pembrokeshire (01437 765765; coastalcottages.co .uk) offers a suitably indulgent treat in one of its picturesque cottages in deepest Wales. Arrive at Bwthyn Tresinwen to a welcoming assortment of soft centres as well as your own personal chocolate fondue fountain. Then follow it up with a day out at the nearby Welsh Chocolate Farm (01994 448800; welshchocolatefarm.com) where your kids get to taste, smell, touch, see and drink as much sweet brown goo as they can manage. Just think - they will love you for ever, if they can stop bouncing off the walls.
If your brood would prefer their chocolate served Spanish-style, book a family room at the luxurious Gran Hotel Princesa Sofia in Barcelona (00 34 93508 1000; expogrupo.com). Here the kids can indulge all their cocoa-filled fantasies, with tempting chocolate delicacies to keep them happy, as well as a trip to the city's Museu de la Xocolata, where a huge statue of Ronaldinho stands in pride of place among the museum's chocolate exhibits (bar celonaconnect.com). It's educational, too: the kids will learn about the history of their favourite food, and in the meantime, you can nip back to the hotel for some adult choco-therapy spa treatments.
Even Edinburgh is sweet enough to have its own chocolate fantasy to lure those in need of a sugar fix. The renowned Plaisir du Chocolat (0131-556 9524; plaisirduchocolat.com), in the city centre, offers your little sweeties the chance to take part in chocolate workshops, where they get tasting opportunities galore as well as hands-on experience in everything from truffle-making to drizzling. The Town House Company (0131-274 7400; townhouse company.com) offers some great family-friendly hotels, and can also book the workshops for you.
But for real chocolate connoisseurs, there's a Parisian treat in store during October and November that's not to be missed. The annual Salon du Chocolat at the Carrousel du Louvre guarantees a truly scrumptious day out: sample the exquisite fare of more than 100 chocolatiers and finish off at Chocoland, (chocoland.com), a kids' paradise of choccy face painting and other sticky activities. VFB (01452 716 830; vfbholidays.co.uk) can organise tickets, museum passes, accommodation and travel for you, so all your kids have to do is scoff themselves silly.
Katy's top tip
Hilton has a new package, the Birmingham Bromsgrove family break, which includes entry to Cadbury World. Kids get to do everything from eating to drawing with chocolate (0121-447 7888; hilton.co. uk; 0845 450 3599; cadburyworld.co.uk).
Katy Holland ( email@example.com) is associate editor of 'Mother and baby' and 'Pregnancy and birth' magazines
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