While Belgium is typically known as a haven for chocolate aficionados, there are a slew of cities giving the so-called chocolate capital of the world a run for its money.
The birthplace of the praline, Belgium has been a stronghold for chocolateries since 1912. However, a fresh crop of chocolate factories and shops have been sprouting up everywhere from the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn to South Australia. For those who have a sweet tooth, travel to one of these top, sugary destinations to sample these delectable treats for yourself:
The oldest family-owned chocolate manufacturer and retailer in the Land Down Under is located in the southern city of Adelaide, Australia’s fifth-largest metropolis. Founded in 1915, Haigh’s Chocolates first became known for its chocolate candies with a fruit centre - a popular staple that the store still sells today. Still run by members of the Haigh’s family, the company operates stores in Adelaide’s city centre, Melbourne and Sydney, and provides tours of the factory six days a week. While you’re there, make sure to pick up the popular dark strawberry and pepperberry ganache or the dark passion fruit cream.
Insomniacs might feel right at home in Madrid. The Spanish capital is known for its chocolate shops that serve up chocolate-dipped churros until the wee hours of the morning. Brimming with chocolaterías all around the city, you’re bound to find one no matter which neighborhood you’re in. If you’re downtown, wander into the nearly 30-year-old Chocolatería San Ginés at 4 a.m. and cure your late-night buzz with some fried dough and bittersweet chocolate. Stick around long enough and you can even stay for breakfast.
The New York City borough has long been known as a culinary leader when it comes to pizza and bagels, but the increasingly popular region is determined to become a leader in the chocolate world. Housed in an open factory space in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, Mast Brothers Chocolate lets customers have a glimpse at the bean-to-chocolate process whenever they visit the store. The chocolaterie has its own “house blend” chocolate and recently released its very own cookbook that shares recipes for both traditional dishes, like brownies and whoopie pie, and unusually savory ones, such as pan-seared scallops with cocoa nib.
Known as Italy’s chocolate capital, Turin has no shortage of cioccolato caldo - hot chocolate. However, this is most likely not the type your mother made you. Thick and bitter but no less palatable, Turin’s hot chocolate is sure to keep your insides warm during the snowy winter months. If you’re more of a coffee lover, try the bicerin, which is a hot chocolate-espresso hybrid that will give you a jolt of caffeine. The northern Italy city loves its heralded drinks so much that it hosts a festival celebrating the chocolate beverage every February. Called Cioccola-Tò, the fest takes place in an authentic chocolate factory with professional, world-class chefs.
While Belgium might have claimed the title as the world’s chocolate hub, Switzerland has always come in as a close second - and with good reason. From Zurich to Geneva, Switzerland is overflowing with world-class chocolateries and desserts. Many of the country’s large factories, including the Stettler Chocolate Factory and Maison Cailler in Broc, offer tours and even chocolate-making workshops, so you can leave with some little hand-made sweets of your own. Of course, no trip to Switzerland would be complete without stopping at the Confiserie Sprüngli in Zurich. Founded in 1836, the country’s oldest chocolate manufacturer produces high-end creamy truffles - its most famous concoction - from raw materials produced within the country.