Friday, October 14, 2011

Chocoholic Adventures

As I stepped off the train this morning, my nose caught a whiff of that ever familiar scent that drifts through the area of River North around Merchandise Mart: Chocolate. Fresh chocolate. The Blommer Chocolate Company, the largest cocoa bean and chocolate manufacturer in North America, is just a few blocks west of my office, and when they start cooking up their confectionary masterpieces, the whole neighborhood can smell the decadent treats.

It's common knowledge among those who know me that chocolate is a weakness of mine, a vice, if you will. I have cravings--at least three or four a day--for chocolate, and I never get sick of it. I could have chocolate every day for the rest of my life, and I would die happy. You can deem me a true chocoholic.

So, in honor of Blommer's latest batch of goodies, and the fact that this is Chocolate Week (no I didn't make that up) in Europe, I found a list of explorations specifically geared toward travelers who love chocolate. October for Europeans is all about chocolate, but luckily you don't have to go on these trips during this month only, because this sweet should be celebrated all year round.

While a couple of the trips are more about enjoying the spa-benefits of cocoa (the two-hour Symphony in Chocolate in Austria, and the Mayan chocolate massage in Mexico) most of them are all about eating! Which is something I am all for. Of the tasting adventures, participating in the chocolate making process in St. Lucia sounds like the most exciting, simply because it's a hands-on experience that takes you through every step of chocolate making--from picking the beans from the plantation to taking that first satisfactory bite. Another one that caught my eye was the all-you-can-eat chocolate bar in Boston. Not only is it close enough that I could make a quick weekend trip of it, but it's also in one of my favorite cities in the country--plus my best friend lives there! And, let's be honest, how could anyone turn down something that combines chocolate and all-you-can-eat? Probably my third favorite trip is the chocolate and wine pairing at the Hahndorf Hill Winery in Australia, which is known for its pairings. The ChocoVino Experience is my ideal activity, because it brings together chocolate and my other vice, wine. Totally meant for me.

While these three are at the top of my list, all the others sound interesting and delicious. I mean, who wouldn't enjoy a chocolate tour through Bruges, Belgium, one of the most famous places for world-class cocoa. Or what about a cooking class in France to learn how to make your own delectable chocolate dishes? It all sounds so incredible, and perhaps one day I will get to experience each of these chocoholic adventures.

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