Switzerland – creamy, milk chocolate
It’s not the home of chocolate, but without a doubt, Switzerland is more famous for its chocolate than any other country on earth. They’re also the biggest eaters of chocolate, with each person consuming around 9 kilograms of chocolate every single year!
Chocolate first arrived in Switzerland in the seventeenth century, but back then it was gritty and chewy. We have a group of Swiss pioneers to thank for the creamy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate we know and love today!
The likes of Francois-Louis Cailler, Rodolphe Lindt, Henri Nestle and Theodor Tobler revolutionised the way chocolate was produced, adding milk and other flavours.
It was also Nestle who first introduced us to the world of white chocolate, with the launch of Milkybar in the 1930s.
When in Switzerland, make sure you visit Lindt Chocolate Heaven at the ‘Top of Europe’ – Jungraujoch (a special experience on our Alpine Discovery tour), and also sample some delicious, creamy chocolate from the many craft chocolate shops that dot the streets all over the country.
France – chocolate truffles and pastries
Is there anything more quintessentially French than a buttery, yet flaky, pain au chocolate?
This delicious combination of chocolate and pastry is not the only pastry worth trying when visiting France. They have used their expert pastry skills to develop things like chocolate eclairs, chocolate souffle and chocolate crepes as well.
And you can’t forget the truffles! There are craft chocolate shops selling decadent truffles in all sorts of flavour combinations on just about every street corner.
Italy – the home of Nutella
Italy may not be as famous for their chocolate as their Swiss or Belgian cousins, but they have been experimenting with it for centuries as well. Most importantly, they introduced the world to the deliciousness of Nutella, but that’s not all we have to thank Italy for. From chocolate gelati and baci, to decadent hot chocolates and gianduja (a type of chocolate hazelnut spread), you can enjoy chocolate in so many different ways in Italy.
Spain – Churros dipped in chocolate
Spain was really the birthplace of modern chocolate, as they were the ones who first brought chocolate to Europe. One of the Spaniards favourite ways to enjoy chocolate is with churros – a staple after an afternoon siesta.
A trip to Spain also wouldn’t be complete without indulging your taste buds with a chocolate caliente picante, or in other words a hot chocolate. Be warned, this hot chocolate is not for the faint hearted – it’s thick, custard like consistency is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth, but you might not be able to finish it all!
Finally, a napolitana de chocolate is Spain’s answer to France’s pain au chocolate. The rectangular shaped pastries are made from a croissant-like dough and filled with heavenly chocolate. If you’re visiting Madrid, we have on good authority that La Mallorquina bakery sell the best napolitana de chocolates around.
Argentina – home to ‘Little Switzerland’
The scenic town of Bariloche is situated between the foothills of the Andes and the southern shore of Nahuel Huapi Lake. With its Alpine-styled architecture and fascination with all things chocolate, it’s easy to see why this city is often referred to as ‘Little Switzerland’.
In fact, there are so many chocolate shops to explore along Bartolomé Mitre, the main shopping street, that you’ll feel like you’ve won the golden ticket!
Chocolates Rapa Nui is one of the more famous shops, and some of our favourite chocolates to try here include the Truffle Volcano or the Rapanuinos – you can thank us later!
Colombia – Chocolate Santafereño
Colombia is one of the world’s biggest producers of cacao, so it’s no surprise to learn they have their own unique and popular chocolate culture.
The favourite way to enjoy chocolate in Colombia is in a hot chocolate, but not just your ordinary Australian hot chocolate!
It can be served sweetened or unsweetened and is sometimes even served with a stick of cheese which is melted into the drink.
This drink is called a chocolate santafereño and is also served with a side of bread which is dipped into the hot chocolatey goodness. It might sound weird, but it really is a flavour sensation and a must try when visiting the country.
Japan – whacky chocolate flavours
Japan is famous for its cuisine, with dishes like sushi, sashimi, okonomiyaki, ramen and miso soup a must try when visiting the country, but one food you don’t often see on that list is chocolate. If you ask us, that’s a mistake! Chocolate in Japan is much newer than many other parts of the world, and in the short time it’s been around they have wasted no time putting their own spin on it.
The first thing you will notice about Japanese chocolate is that there are so many different flavours to choose from.
You might have heard about their Kit Kats, which have had over 300 different flavours. From your everyday flavours like strawberry and green tea to limited edition options like sweet potato, wasabi, red bean paste, cherry blossom and corn – you really just have to try them for yourself!
Another huge favourite in Japan are chocolate sticks, particularly pocky. These delicious sticks are coated in many different flavour options and make for a great 3pm snack when you need a little something sweet.
Vietnam – super sweet or super rich
Chocolate in Vietnam can be quite different to the rest of the world, as it is mostly made from a bean called trinitario. While most that you’ll find in Vietnamese supermarkets is super sweet chocolate, an artisanal, single-origin chocolate maker in Ho Chi Minh City called Marou has been trying to change that.
They grow their beans on a small island in the Mekong Delta and carefully select the beans from the source. The result – creamy, dark chocolate, sometimes with a hint of hazelnut or even licorice.
If you’re visiting Ho Chi Minh City, make sure you stop to pick yourself up a bar or two!
You can indulge yourself in as much chocolate as you like on a Bunnik Tour, and we visit each of the countries mentioned above on our tours. Head to our Europe, South & Central America and Asia to discover the tours available.