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8 Sweet Destinations for True Chocoholics

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Foodies travel to Sydney and Singapore. Wine connoisseurs head to Napa and France. Chocolate lovers, it’s your turn.

The world is full of amazing places to indulge a passion for chocolate, from Hawaii to England to Belize. But first, you have to ask yourself: How serious a chocoholic are you?

Mildly Chocoholic: Visit a chocolate factory.

Big chocolate makers, like Hershey and Cadbury, have turned their tours into flashy theme-park attractions. Smaller chocolate makers offer authentic tours, where you can see bars being made. Either way, you’ll be immersed in chocolate (not literally. We hope.)

1. Theo Chocolate in Seattle, Washington: Theo makes “mind-bendingly wonderful chocolate” — and if you want to see how, stop by for a $10 factory tour. Theo takes its chocolate making seriously: stiletto heels, fur and perfume are prohibited. And, the company says, “We can neither confirm nor deny the presence of Oompa Loompas in the factory.”

2. Cadbury World in Birmingham, England: Even if you didn’t grow up on Dairy Milk bars and Creme Eggs, you’ll be enchanted by a visit to the iconic British chocolate maker. While Cadbury World isn’t a true factory tour, it offers chocolate demonstrations, entertainers and the world’s largest Cadbury shop.

Moderately Chocoholic: Tour a cacao plantation.

If you feel compelled to follow your chocolate fixation to its source, you’ll find cacao farms in tropical areas around the world, including Brazil, Ecuador, Malaysia, Indonesia, Ghana, Nigeria and Cote D'Ivoire. You can even sample some fresh cacao fruit, but don’t expect it to taste like a brownie; the flesh is sweet and citrusy. Chocolate’s made from the seeds within.

3. Steelgrass Farm in Kauai, Hawaii: Hawaii is the only state where the cacao plant grows, and Steelgrass Farm offers three-hour tours that culminate in an eleven-course tasting of dark chocolates.

4. Ixcacao in Belize: Found in the village of San Felipe, Ixcacao proudly calls itself the only Mayan-owned chocolate farm in the world. Hike the farm, watch the chocolate-making process, and dine on co-owner Abelina Cho’s famed chocolate chicken.

Seriously Chocoholic: Stay in a chocolate hotel.

If you want to eat, sleep and breathe chocolate, these hotels are happy to oblige.

5. The Chocolate Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth, England: Cocoa-colored rooms. Chocolate cocktails. Chocolate fountains. Chocolate wine. If that’s not enough, you can try a chocolate workshop on truffle making or chocolate portrait painting. “You can even make a chocolate shoe with matching handbag,” the hotel says.

6. Hotel Chocolat in St. Lucia: This chic hotel on a cocoa estate promises to connect the agricultural and the sensual sides of cocoa. The “Tree to Bar” experience allows guests to harvest their own ripe cocoa pods and then make their own chocolate bar. If that sounds like too much work, hit the spa for a cacao massage, body wrap or facial.

Severely Chocoholic: Go to chocolate school.

You’re ready to dedicate your life to seeking chocolate nirvana. Here’s how.

7. Chocolate Academy in Chicago, Illinois (and elsewhere): If you want your chocolate to be pretty as well as delicious, you can learn how to make elegant confections at the Chocolate Academy. Special courses teach the art of making chocolate bonbons, animal figures and wedding cakes.

8. Ecole Chocolat in Vancouver, B.C.: This world-renowned school trains chefs and connoisseurs in the finer points of appreciating and cooking with chocolate. “As with wine, the type of tree, the terroir, fermentation, ingredients and processing practices all have an impact on the final flavor of a particular chocolate,” the school says. Mmmm, tell us more.

Wherever your love of chocolate takes you, protect your vacation with travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance! There’s a plan for every trip and every budget. Get a free quote now.

Richmond-based travel writer Muriel Barrett has a terrible sense of direction, and has spent many happy hours getting lost in Barcelona, Venice and Jerusalem. Her favorite travel memories all involve wildlife: watching sea turtles nest in Costa Rica, kayaking with seals in Vancouver and meeting a pink tarantula in Martinique.

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Oct 19, 2016