Wondering where to find the best chocolate on the planet? These cities will satisfy your sweet tooth and refine your palate.
Brussels: The tiny country of Belgium boasts no less than 2,130 chocolate shops, with a good number of them being in Brussels—the nation’s capital and the European capital as well. My top pick for Brussels? Laurent Gerbaud. He’s young, he’s progressive in his thinking, and he’s one of the most exotic chocolatiers Brussels has to offer.
London: About a decade ago, a chocolate revolution in the UK birthed an abundance of top shelf chocolatiers. Gone are the days of the overly sweet British chocolate that your granny used to eat. Today’s chocolate offerings from England, Scotland, and Ireland, are among the best in the world. My favorite London chocolatier? Paul A. Young, who wins hands-down for his ingenuity in creating the freshest possible dairy-free chocolates on-site in his shops, along with delectable treats such as his dark chocolate sea salt caramel pecan brownies—guaranteed to take you into a chocogasmic state every time!
San Francisco: Who says they only make great chocolate on the other side of the pond? Known for its amazing selection of artisanal chocolate makers, two of San Francisco’s best are located in the historic Ferry Building: Recchiuti Confections and Dandelion Chocolate. And within steps of the Ferry Building at Pier 17, you’ll find TCHO New American Chocolate, who makes single origin bars and squares, as well as some funky new flavors.
Vancouver: If you’re in North Vancouver or downtown, don’t miss a visit to Thomas Haas (2 locations). A few other Vancouver area favorites include Gem Chocolates, Chocolate Art, and Levni Chocolates, which offers Koko Monk, a trendy café on West 1st Avenue.
Zurich: The Swiss are known to indulge in more chocolate per capita than just about any other country in the world. (Various charts show different countries as top consumers, but Switzerland is always in the top three.) Did you know that the average resident of Switzerland consumes 21 pounds of chocolate per year as compared to the average American’s consumption of 12 pounds? My top pick for Zurich? Confiserie Sprüngli, where you’ll find some of the finest pure chocolate truffles in the world, along with an enticing selection of mini macarons called Luxemburgerli.
Doreen Pendgracs is author of Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate. During the week of June 23-30, 2014, order Doreen’s book via her site at http://chocolatour.net/book to receive a 20% discount off the published prices when entering the code VBT20 on checkout. Rumor has it that she may even throw in a piece of chocolate with your order.