The finest travel experiences for chocolate lovers
Love chocolate? If you’re cocoa crazy with an appetite for the world’s finest chocolate varieties, it’s time to travel to the lands that turn beans into the very best chocolate creations. From the cocoa plantations of Grenada to the artisanal chocolatiers of Scotland, we’ve curated a collection of top chocolate producing locations for your next tasty travel fix.
Grenada, nestled in the heart of the Caribbean, has earned a well-deserved reputation as a haven for chocolate enthusiasts. Renowned for its cocoa production, the tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique has become a sweet escape for travellers seeking an immersive chocolate experience. The lush landscapes and tropical climate provide the ideal conditions for cultivating cocoa beans, setting the stage for a flourishing chocolate industry.
With a burgeoning community of over half a dozen independent chocolate-makers, Grenada offers a delectable array of chocolate-infused activities and culinary delights. From guided tours of cocoa estates, where visitors can witness the art of cultivation, to hands-on chocolate-making workshops, the island invites exploration at every step of the chocolate-making journey.
Experience Grenada’s Chocolate and Rum Festival
Grenada’s Chocolate and Rum Festival, held annually in mid-May, is a celebration of ethically and sustainably made Grenadian chocolate. Commemorating its 10th anniversary in 2023, the festival expanded to include the island’s cherished rum, offering a diverse range of activities. Hosted by True Blue Bay Boutique Hotel, the 2024 festival, from May 17-19, promises a four-day chocolate and rum extravaganza. Attendees can partake in chocolate and art workshops, chocolate wellness activities, cooking classes, a rum distillery tour and even a bartender competition, showcasing the best of Grenada’s culinary and beverage culture. The festival provides a unique opportunity to engage with cocoa farmers, island chocolatiers, and immerse oneself in the fascinating history of Caribbean cocoa and chocolate.
HOW: Grenada’s Chocolate and Rum festival takes place from 17th -19th May 2024. For more information, please visit: www.grenada-chocolate-festival.com
True Blue Bay Resort, Grenada
Tucked away in a tranquil bay on the south of the island, True Blue Bay Resort is a boutique family-owned hotel that showcases the warm hospitality and vibrant charm of Grenada. True Blue Bay Resort offers beautiful accommodations with stunning views of the bay and a great range of amenities, including a swimming pool and yoga studio. For chocolate enthusiasts, the hotel goes beyond the ordinary with an onsite chocolate emporium.
The House of Chocolate Bakery, conveniently located at the hotel’s entrance, tempts guests with numerous treats such as cupcakes, brownies, cheesecakes, coffees, milkshakes and homemade ice creams. The bakery, baking fresh every morning, is a delightful spot to indulge in chocolate treats during a holiday.
And for an extra cocoa hit, the hotel also seduces guests with its chocolate-themed spa treatments, including a mocha body scrub, chocolate facial, body wrap and even a chocolate manicure and pedicure.
Indulge in a chocolate themed dinner at Dodgy Dock Restaurant and Bar
On Thursday nights, Dodgy Dock Restaurant and Bar in Grenada’s True Blue Bay Resort transforms into a cocoa lover’s paradise with its enticing chocolate-themed menu. Nestled on a wooden deck above the water, Dodgy Dock offers a unique and once in a lifetime dining experience. The weekly cocoa night, a testament to the hotel owner’s artisan chocolate bakery , unveils a delectable array of cocoa-infused delights. From the indulgence of chocolate martinis to the savoury delight of cocoa-coated chicken wings, the menu extends to ribs bathed in chocolate sauce and innovative cocoa nib pizzas.
HOW: Rooms at True Blue Bay Boutique resort are priced from £135 per night.
Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel, Grenada
Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel is an exclusive family-run hotel now part of the Relais and Chateaux group. Celebrated for its unique and personalized experiences, it’s the perfect place to truly relax and make the most of the gorgeous surroundings Grenada has to offer. With just 30 individually designed suites, each room is arranged around an eden-like garden facing out towards a secluded white sandy beach. Calabash is also home to three of the island’s best restaurants.
Foodies seeking a truly luxurious and unique experience must try the chocolate infused tasting menu, carefully developed by resident chef, Ramces Castillo. All dishes incorporate local cocoa, for example, a cacao and maize soup enhanced with ancho chilli; chocolate pasta, and chocolate banana puddings. Guests will also notice many of the island’s unique, famous spices making an appearance throughout.
Chocolate lovers should also sample the chocolates crafted by the L’Esterre Estate Organics. This 70-acre estate, which produces 80% of the hotel’s fruit and vegetables, is the maternal family home of the hotel owners, the Garbutt’s.
Enjoy Cocoa infused spa treatments
Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel is also home to a luxurious spa which offers a tempting range of cocoa-infused treatments including the soothing cocoa facial. This refined ritual comprises a gentle cleanse, followed by the application of a honey and cocoa mask which has natural healing properties, supports the skin’s moisture barrier and promotes cellular regeneration.
For a bigger treat, there’s the chocolate body wrap. This treatment includes a light exfoliation using a decadent chocolate mousse body polish, followed by the application of an antioxidant-rich cocoa butter designed to hydrate and enhance skin elasticity. The experience concludes with a face mask with moringa facial oil.
HOW: Rooms at Calabash from £529 per night. The soothing 45-minute Cocoa facial costs £63 and the 60-minute chocolate body wrap is £99.
Take the Chocolate Making Master Class at Glenapp Castle
Glenapp Castle is a 21-bedroom luxurious Relais & Chateaux and PoB hotel located on the breath-taking Ayrshire coast. In addition to its exquisite location, the Castle is renowned for offering more than 70 amazing indoor and outdoor activities, including the delectable Valrhona Chocolate Master Class.
This brilliant new foodie experience features Glenapp Castle’s very own signature bespoke blend of Valrhona chocolate – delicacy that originates from Madagascar and Grenada, with vanilla from Tahiti. With a deliciously fruity flavour, the Glenapp Castle blend has red fruit notes, roasted cocoa nib notes and interesting spicy notes of coco and caramel.
This unique experience includes a three-hour chocolate Masterclass experience with Glenapp Castle’s Head expert chocolatier, during which guests have the chance to learn about chocolate tempering, how to make chocolate fillings, and delicious chocolate filled petit fours.
HOW: The Chocolate Masterclass Experience costs £295 per person based on a minimum of two people. There is a cost of £75 for each additional guest.
Experience the velvety smoothness of Finnish chocolate at Fazer Café
The Finnish chocolate often credited as creating a nation of chocolate lovers is Fazer’s iconic milk chocolate created by Karl Fazer. This iconic brand first appeared in Finland in 1891, with the blue wrapping designed to be symbolic of pure Finnish nature. This family-operated chocolate brand can be found in any Finnish café, supermarket or kiosk, with their products so emblematic of Finland that they are even sold as souvenirs in airports and gift shops. Karl Fazer chocolate is made in Finland from carefully selected natural ingredients to create a smooth creamy finish.
The best place to enjoy the iconic Fazer Blue chocolate is their flagship Fazer Café in Helsinki. Here, you can sample classic confectionaries, including Bebe, Kinuski and Tumma, as well as more modern concoctions.
HOW: For more information, visitfinland.com