Almost everyone on the planet loves chocolate. It is estimated that nine out of ten people love it, and 1 billion people eat it every day.
Most of us clearly have a passion for the stuff, and it’s always easy to get in different qualities and quantities, but where does it come from and where can we find the world’s best?
Where does chocolate come from?
Chocolate comes from the beans of the cacao tree which was originally cultivated by the Mayans 2,500 years ago. After the beans are harvested from the tree, they are allowed to ferment and dry out before they’re cleaned and turned into a paste. It’s then pressurized to form chocolate liquor and cocoa butter.
Blending different ratios of liquor and butter makes different kinds of chocolate. Dark chocolate, for example, is made with 70% cacao liquor and butter. The higher the percentage of cacao, the richer and healthier the chocolate can be.
The way chocolate is made and the quality of the product can vary widely, but there are a few places on earth that get it especially right.
Mexico - Mexican Chocolate
Mexican chocolate still has many of the same qualities as its Aztec predecessor. Mexican chocolatiers still use unique flavors like cinnamon, chilies, anise and vanilla to add flavor to their chocolate. It’s used in savory dishes like Mole as well as in hot chocolate and solid chocolates.
Peru - Peruvian cacao beans
The International Cocoa Organization recognizes the country of Peru as a producer of premium chocolate. Cocoa grows in many regions of Peru, each producing high quality beans with their own unique flavors and aromas.
Switzerland - Swiss Chocolate
Swiss chocolate has earned a reputation for being the absolute best in the world, and rightly so! The Swiss have truly dedicated themselves to mastering the art of making chocolate. In fact, every city and town in Switzerlandhas its own expert chocolatier. Enjoy it on its own or along with a piece of wonderful bread (a favorite snack of the local children), an espresso, sweet wine, whiskey or Cognac.
Belgium - Belgian Chocolate
The phrase “Belgian chocolate” has become synonymous with excellence and quality. They’ve been making chocolate since the early 17th century and along with the Swiss, became one of the largest producers of chocolate in Europe. With over 2,000 chocolatiers in the country, you’re bound to find plenty of truffles, pralines and other treats in which to indulge when visiting Belgium.
France - French Chocolate
Even though French chocolate is less well known than Swiss and Belgian chocolate (we can blame a lack of marketing for that), the French still take their chocolate just as seriously and channel their famous culinary prowess into the delicate art of producing world-class confections
From truffles to bonbons, dark chocolate bars, pralines, ganaches, chocolate drinks and every other sinfully delicious form this magical stuff can take, it seems that the whole world agrees that a life without chocolate would be a sad thing indeed.
Ready to head to one of these 5 chocolate centric countries? Here are some great options from Collette:
Switzerland: Hidden Trails & Majestic Peaks - From the soaring Alps to the picturesque Swiss Riviera - set your sights on an active journey across Switzerland.
Peru: Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca - From the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu to the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, the magical wonders of Peru are waiting behind every corner.
Netherlands, Belgium & France Tour - Dutch windmills, cozy streets, bubbling champagne, and the “City of Light” – experience the essence of 3 magnificent European countries.
France Magnifique - From the royal Palace of Versailles to the enchanting streets of Paris, rendezvous with the best of France.
For more information, contact to your Direct Travel Advisor.