Everybody, old and young, knows that Easter is a time to indulge in too much of dealchecker HQ’s favourite snack – chocolate! It’s the time of year when this delicious treat, transformed into eggs of all shapes, sizes and hues, is given as a gift and consumed in abundance. But rather than spending this year giving out and munching your way through the usual succession of mini eggs, crème eggs, lindt bunnies and Easter eggs, why not take yourself off to somewhere where you can experience chocolate even more delicious than usual.
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Belgian Chocolates are known worldwide for their excellence and it’s easy to hop on the Eurostar to the Belgian capital and nab a cheap hotel in Brussels for a night or two to embark upon your tasting quest. Why not start out at the Chocolate Museum to whet your appetite then head off in search of your new favourite chocolate shop. Begin at those near the Grand-Place and Place de Grand Sablon, but beware, these are the most expensive as well!
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It’s not so much about Easter eggs here, as getting to grips with chocolate as a way of life – an idea I can certainly get behind! Chocolate has been made here since 1100 BC so as you might imagine, they have lots of things pretty much figured out! You might never want to leave Calle Mina where the majority of the top producers ply their wares, but venture a little further and try some of the delicious restaurants where chocolate also adds an extra something to savoury dishes.
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If you like your chocolate organic and food-miles kept to a minimum, it’s time for you to head to Grenada, the heart of the chocolate-making Caribbean. Amid acres and acres of cocoa farms you’ll find some delicious products, not least from the Grenada Chocolate Company, who have won some pretty prestigious awards for their dark chocolate. Don’t expect the fine hand-crafted individual chocolates found in Europe, but it’s not every day you get to combine chocolates and beautiful white sandy beaches!
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Spain’s love affair with chocolate started when Christopher Columbus brought back the first cocoa beans ever to hit European soil and once they’d added sugar and milk there was no stopping the chocolatey craze! Often called “Chocolate City”, natives of Villajoyosa are really serious about this sweet treat. You can see the heritage at the Chocolate Museum and sample the delights at Valor, the country’s oldest gourmet producer. Don’t forget to have hot chocolate for breakfast and churros (long doughnuts) and chocolate sauce as a snack!
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How can you not be tempted by anywhere with a Chocolate Train? It’s not actually made of chocolate (before you try to eat it) but it does take you through the chocolate region to the Nestle factory. If that doesn’t appeal, wander around the city and you’ll find more chocolate shops than you can shake a stick at. Seek out the side roads off Bahnhofstrasse for some real gems and get your fix of hot chocolate at Truffe, widely thought-of as the best in Zurich!