The best chocolate destinations in Europe according to travelsort.com
1) Paris, France
You might want to also try Debauve & Gallais is a historical chocolate site with the legacy of having served France’s royal line in previous centuries. The company is still a mecca for the best dark chocolate France has to offer. For something a little more off the beaten path, a pilgrimage to La Cafeothequein Paris is an absolute must. The coffee lounge demonstrates what it truly means to pair coffee and chocolate. Though the coffee roasts and espresso drinks are the star of the show here, the coffee shop also offers a range of premium chocolate bars – including a 99% cocoa chocolate noir bar – for your enjoyment.
And if you aren’t able to travel to Lyon and other top chocolate places in France, make sure to visit A l’Etoile d’Or, a legendary chocolate shop where the owner, Denise Acabo, takes pride in featuring the very best French chocolates from Jacques Genin, Henri Le Roux, Franck Kestener, and others, along with chocolate you’ll find nowhere else in Paris, such as Bernachon (see Lyon, below); It is finding gems like this – places to incorporate chocolate into the pleasure-filled tapestry of your trip to Paris – that makes this French capital a chocolate destination.
2) Brussels, Belgium
Belgian chocolate needs no introduction. Europe has a reputation across the board for fine chocolate, but perhaps nowhere is the chocolate scene quite so alluring, quite so destination-driven as in Brussels. Wittameris one of the fine chocolate makers in Brussels, specializing in fine individual chocolates like the “Isabelle” (dark chocolate filled with pistachio marzipan) and the “Leslie” (fresh cream with candied pineapple and dark chocolate).
3) Lyon, France
Luckily for Francophiles, the luxury chocolate experience extends from Paris across the country as one edges towards the Alps. Lyon is home to Bernachon, a premier chocolatier that offers a simple but sumptuous house specialty: Le Palet d’Or, composed of fresh cream, dark chocolate, and golden leaf adornment. It’s also well known for its famous Kalouga dark chocolate bar, filled with salted butter caramel, and its Amandine dark chocolate bar with toasted almonds was a huge hit at the New York Chocolate Show. Bouillet adds depth to the Lyon chocolate scene, responsible not only for wonderful individual chocolates, but also heavenly tarts, cakes, and macaroons.
Seve, another Lyon favorite, is a veritable emporium of chocolate achievements; their macaroons are light and creamy, and their cakes are decadent without apology. Alain Rolancy, a patisserie, glacier, and chocolatier in Lyon, creates real visual spectacles out of chocolate while also managing to offer an impressive variety of fine gastronomic goods, from candied oranges to jam.
4) Zurich, Switzerland
Though Zurich may be known as a cold banking city, this Swiss capital amply provides for everyone from the run-of-the-mill chocolate lover to the cocoa connoisseur. It is exciting also to note that despite Switzerland’s longstanding tradition as a chocolate hub, Zurich is not complacent about offering the finest. Confiseur Laderach, which has only taken off in the last couple of decades, has built an excellent business around selling the most impressive pralines you are likely to come across. You can also look to Zurich’s Teuscher, which is known first and foremost for its champagne truffle, for an experience of particularly sophisticated indulgence.
5) Turin, Italy
In the midst of the mountains comes great chocolate. Gianduiotto originates in Turin: the pyramid-shaped chocolate-and-hazelnut creation is not only a boon to Turin, but a credit to the entire chocolate-making world. A Giordano is one of the most charming chocolate shops in Turin with its cheerful storefront and focus on high-quality hazelnut incorporation. For a fancier option, try Guido Gobino, responsible for such creations as the Giandujotto Classico and the Tourinot Maximo, both variations on the cosmic hazelnut and cocoa connection.
Of course, one can’t mention Turin and chocolate without also talking about Domori, founded by Gianluca Franzoni, which is one of the few chocolate makers to produce chocolate from from its own plantations — in this case Criollo beans from Venezuela — in order to have complete control over the quality of the sourced beans. Try Domori’s 70% Napolitains, with only Criollo cocoa mass and sugar, and be amazed at the smoothness — no emulsifiers, no vanilla, just superior chocolate and sugar.
Another Turin success story is artisanal gelato maker Grom, which offers divine extra dark chocolate gelato; the gelato company makes this flavor without any cream or milk, using only the finest chocolate, spring water, sugar, and egg yolk for a precise flavor of dark sweetness, with bittersweet chocolate shavings providing an extra chocolate hit and textural contrast.
6) Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Spain is a cacophony of sights, sounds, and smells – and the whiffs of chocolate this world-class city has to offer you will be both familiar and exotic. Oriol Balaguer makes its home here and has one both best dessert and best gastronomy awards in the last decade. Buboalso creates designer chocolates with personality, incorporating diverse flavors and inspirations that reflect the nature of the city itself. Caelum Barcelonaprovides arguably the richest dark chocolate experience in the city, and after a taste of their world-class product, you shall surely want to stroll the city, take in the amazing Gaudi architecture, and live a more satisfied life thereafter.
7) Villajoyosa, Spain
Villajoyosa is one of the most historic chocolate destinations, largely because of the legacy preserved in the Museo del Chocolate. The smell of chocolate literally permeates the small town just slightly north of Alicante; it is also the home of Chocolates Valor, a brand that has been producing chocolates for Spain since 1881. Hot chocolate and chocolate churros are particularly notable local favorites – enjoy the beauty of this seaside town with a cup and napkin in hand, and you’ll be sure to satiate your chocolate wanderlust.
8) Cologne, Germany
As the anchor of northern Europe, Germany offers a chocolate experience that may be unparalleled in its network of fine-chocolate-producing towns and villages; Cologne is the king of these towns, featuring not only the World of Chocolate Museumbut also the Stollwerck Chocolate Company, which has been making premium chocolate since 1839. Whether you’re touring Cologne on a snowy evening or stepping out of the famous Cologne Cathedral on a pleasant summer day, excellent chocolate is never more than a few steps away in this cultural nexus.
9) Rome, Italy
Rome is another of the world’s gastronomic capitals – the chocolate scene is worth travelling for, whether you’re seeking chocolate as dessert, a snack, or part of the nightlife scene. And as one of the artistic capitals of the world as well, you can expect the chocolate creations to flaunt true artistry. SAID has long been one of Rome’s best-respected chocolate shops. In some ways, SAID returns to the basics by producing fine chocolate bars, though there is nothing ordinary about the flavors they invoke. Cioccolata e Vino is a chocolate-y secret in Trastevere, one of Rome’s most fun neighborhoods for nightlife. At this bar, which doubles as a bookshop, you can order a variety of chocolate shots, which consist of chocolate liquor in hardened-chocolate shot glasses topped with real cream and chocolate shavings – the offering truly epitomizes the pleasures of Rome.
10) Munich, Germany
Perhaps more international than Cologne, Munich nevertheless pulls its weight in protecting Germany’s strong chocolate reputation. Munich offers a plethora of chocolate connoisseurs, including such boutiques as Stancsics in the Alstadt neighborhood. Stancsics offers a bare-bones aesthetic, but hones in on chocolate like well-trained experts, providing some of the freshest truffles in the city. For a taste of true luxury, try Confiserie Rottenhofer, a high-end chocolate producer that turns dessert into a full-scale event. Dallmayr, a staple delicatessen in Germany, also makes magic with sugar and brews some of the finest coffee in the city to complement its creations.