Pick and mix the world's best chocolate attractions
Sunday 20 April 2014
People have eaten chocolate at Easter since the first confectionery eggs were created in France and Germany in the early 19th century, although it wasn't until 1875 that John Cadbury produced the first British Easter egg. You can see how they're made today at the Cadbury World visitor centre at the company's Bournville factory near Birmingham (0844 880 7667; cadburyworld.co.uk). And Easter or not, you can learn more about the world's favourite food in many other places too.
The Chocolate Unwrapped festival at the Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall (01726 811911; edenproject.com) runs until today. You can meet former Savoy chef and master chocolatier Martin Chiffers, drink gourmet Colombian hot chocolate and learn about the history of chocolate by playing the Chocolate Trading Game in the project's Rainforest Biome.
The leading French chocolate producer, Valrhona, recently launched La Cite du Chocolat at Tain l'Hermitage south of Lyon (00 33 4 75 09 27 27; citeduchocolat.com). It is housed in a stunning Modernist building designed by renowned French architect Pierre Barillot. The current exhibition, "From Pod to Square: Chocolate in Every Form," features 15 chocolate sculptures created by eight pastry chefs from the Ecole du Grand Chocolat Valrhona.
In Cologne, the Schokoladen Museum (00 49 221 93 18 88 16; schokoladenmuseum.de) includes a rotating mould used to make Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies. The Children's Chocolate School is an interactive tour that includes samples of ingredients, on until next Friday, .
Make your own bar of chocolate with the Tree-to-Bar experience at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, Saint Lucia (001 758 572 9600; hotelchocolat.com), set within the cocoa groves of the Rabot Estate. Pick ripe cocoa pods and learn about the chocolate-making process from fermenting to sun-drying and grinding the pods. Chocolate appears in every dish at the hotel's restaurant, from citrus salad with white-chocolate dressing to a cacao crème brûlée. Scott Dunn (020 8682 5030; scottdunn.com) offers a week at the hotel for £1,746 based on two sharing a Lodge Room, including flights, transfers and breakfast.
The mile-long Calle Francisco Xavier Mina in Oaxaca is Mexico's "Chocolate Street". Pop into one of the small cafés for hot chocolate and watch cocoa beans being ground in the window of Mayordomo. Journey Latin America (020 8622 8444; journeylatinamerica.co.uk) offers a 15-day package to Oaxaca and Mexico's Pacific Coast for £3,155 including flights and accommodation.
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