Where To Have The Sweetest Adventures in Europe

Chocoholic Anna

“If something is unladylike and fattening, it must be a lot of fun”- motto of my younger self.

I can’t believe that it’s already Valentine’s Day! This is quite a special day because it was on Valentine’s day of 2012 that I launched Annzventures. Wow, my blog is actually celebrating its second year and I’m still here and still inspired to write for you dear readers. Woohoo!

As a valentine’s day/ anniversary treat, I can’t think of anything better to write than the sweetest adventures I had, nothing else but my chocolate adventures in Europe.

In fact, I’m in love with chocolates so much that when I first came to America, all I ever wanted to see and go to was not Disney Land but Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. It was stepping foot in Hershey park where I had a dream of one day traveling the world tasting the best chocolates. So when I came to Europe in summer of 2012, I vowed that I will make that happen. I have indeed consumed an unholy amount of chocolate that can make me an expert in this field.

So without further ado, I’ll show you my own discoveries from my time in Europe from summer of 2012 to spring of 2013 complete with my recommendations for your sweet tooth.

Proceed with caution and enjoy!

Switzerland

Cities I covered: Zurich, Lucerne, Basel, Zug and Geneva

My first stop in Europe was in Switzerland. Of all the connecting flights I’ll ever get, it was Zurich.  And the only relative I have in Europe resides where else but Zurich. And it was summer. How luckier can I be? It was meant to be.

I spent about three weeks in Switzerland, traveling through various cities and of course doing my research and chocolate tastings.

Anna in Chocolate Store

You might say that you’ve already tasted Toblerone. But I tell you the taste is so much different than the ones outside Switzerland. It is where it originated after all. The difference is Swiss milk. So whoever is traveling to Switzerland should try their original version. I tried the white, the dark, the plain and the one with the snow capped white.

Chocolate Laderach

Laderach is a famous Swiss chocolate brand. I didn’t try it in Switzerland but at the border of Switzerland and Germany. I’m so glad that I didn’t miss it. It’s very popular with tourists as they have exquisitely fine chocolates that are so fine, you’ll find it hard to stop.

Swiss Chocolate Cover

I’m a big fan of the milk chocolate. The taste is between white chocolate and dark chocolate. From too sweet to bittersweet to just right. Hmmmm.

Chocolate 2

And the one with pistachio nuts. That chocolate rocks!

Lucerne House of Chocolate

Swiss Brands I love and recommend:

Lindt- if you just want to stick to the usual.

Frey- if you prefer not too sweet ones

Sprungli – they are known for their truffles and they have the most wonderful truffles! Dining at their restaurant in Zurich Bahnhofstrasse was also a delight!

Cailler- my most favorite among all the Swiss Chocolates I’ve tried.

Movenpick- ice cream is delish! I loved the pistachio flavored one. Can’t leave Switzerland without trying this.

Kambly- best cookies and biscuits in Switzerland and the best gift to give to sweet toothed friends. You’ll be their sweetest friend ever.

Swiss Air- possibly my most favorite airline next to Cathay Pacific, just because they give free chocolates on the plane. Their chocolates are delicious!

Belgium

Cities I covered: Ghent, Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp

Anna tasting Best Hot Chocolate

Yes I was here too

Ok, let me address this picture first. This one was taken at The Old Chocolate House in Bruges. My verdict, nah. Not the best in the world. I’ll cover the best Hot Chocolate when we get to Spain.

For now, enjoy my research with Belgian chocolates.

Unique Chocolate Belgium

I’m a huge fan of dark chocolate + orange combination

Belgian Chocolate Pretzels

Chocolate covered pretzels and nuts

Belgian Pralines

More Belgian pralines. I wonder who can say no to Marzipan?

Chocolate House Interior

The interior of the Old Chocolate House, where I tried ‘The Best Hot Chocolate’.

Chocolate Line Antwerp

I will miss all the museums in the world but not the chocolate museums. In Belgium, they really made the chocolate with Love! Here are some:

Chocolate Dog

The Queen dog in Antwerp.

Chocolate Fishes

These fishes are just too fabulous to look at the tourists

Bumblebee

But this bee was excited to see me

Choco Frog

And so was this giant frog.

Dumon Belgium

Belgian brands I enjoyed and recommend:

The Chocolate Line Antwerp- the chocolate museum I visited

Godiva- for the non adventurous, you can’t go wrong with this

Leonidas- loved the dark chocolate

Guylian- for the super sweet toothed

Dumon- popular with the tourists for a reason

Cote D’or- unique taste, uniquely Belgian and just yummy!

Galler- perfection, you might just fall in love

Spain

Cities I covered: Barcelona, Stiges, Madrid, Toledo, Avila, El Escorial, Segovia, Salamanca and Granada

Anna in Barcelona

Gretel and fans in sunny Barcelona (not pictured the Magnum she ate before this was taken)

I admit that after spending ten days in Barcelona, I still wasn’t able to get myself to Picasso museum. But, I was able to get myself to the Museu de la Xocolata. It’s a long walk to get there but walking all day long in Barcelona was what I did everyday. I wouldn’t miss it for any museum in the world.

Here are my findings:

Chocolate History

There is nothing more exciting than the history of Chocolate

Chocolate Smurfs

Or the smurfs made from chocolate.

Tom and Jerry Chocolate

Even Tom and Jerry was there

Chocolate Minnie

As well as Minnie

Chocolate people

And a lot more of these people.

Hot Chocolate in Madrid

With my hot chocolate + brownies partners in crime in Madrid, Feb 2013

My recommendations:

Museo de Xocolata in Barcelona

Valor- authentic Spanish chocolate brand. Verdict: Amor

Cola Cao- the yummiest chocolate powdered drink, great for hot chocolates at home. You haven’t been to Spain if you haven’t tried this

Nestle Extrafino Dulce de Leche- extra fine chocolate that I always have in stock at home in Madrid

Nutella Crepe in Papizza, Sol, Madrid- is the crepe I always crave in Madrid for a midnight snack.

Chocolateria San Gines, Madrid- Chocolate con churros. This is a classic and historical spot. Every tourist in Madrid comes to this place.

Marzipan in Toledo- you cannot leave Toledo without trying their marzipan

Authentic Spanish chocolates in the small town of Avila

Embassy Madrid- is one of Madrid’s oldest restaurants and they have the best hot chocolate in the world.

United Kingdom

Cities I covered: London, Birmingham, Brighton, Bath, Bristol and Canterbury

P1240298

The smile of someone who has just gained five pounds in an hour

“There is no way I’m leaving England without going to Cadbury world.”- the line I told my friends during my stay in London. Because I never really had any plans with my stay in the UK except to go to Cadbury world. I didn’t make it the first time because I was late and we missed the bus. It was my only goal and I didn’t even reach it. I almost cried chocolate tears.

I knew that if I’m not going to Birmingham, my chocolate adventures won’t be complete. Luckily, my friend and I are such great travel buddies that he agreed to come back with me the following week to Birmingham and how happy we were.

IMG_3074

Leaving my mark  with chocolate in Cadbury world. I waited for this my whole life.

Anna at Cadbury Factory

After sampling some chocolates, it was here in this factory where we watched how the chocolates were made. I was just too happy that day!

Cadbury world ride

We also hopped on a ride and this was one of our views from the ride

“This is so exciting.”- my friend tells me in the most boring tone during one of the rides

“What do you mean? You don’t like the view? I’m loving it!”

I can assure you that the best way to annoy your gay friend is to force him to ride with you in one of the rides inside Cadbury world. You will be the only one smiling on your pictures. I know, I’m so lucky with my friends.

IMG_3075

Recommendations:

Visit Cadbury World

Cadbury Crunchie, Bubbly, Twirl, Flake and Fingers

Okay so I chose all these 5 chocolates because all of them are not available in the US. Even if Cadbury is available worldwide, there are only specific Cadbury chocolate types that are available in the US. There were times in the past that I would have to go to Canada to get these types but no other country will have the best selection of Cadbury chocolates than their home country.

I’ll also add Divine Chocolates because they are truly divine and are fair trade certified. It was introduced to me by my tour guide in London and they remain to be one of the best chocolates I tasted.

And there you have it. This concludes my chocolate adventures and I hope you find it as sweet as my adventures in Europe were.

Do you have any recommendations for me? Leave a comment!

Wishing you a day filled with sweetness, laughter and a lot of fun,

Anna

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6 Responses to “Where To Have The Sweetest Adventures in Europe”

  1. February 13, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    There’s an internacional chocolate festival in a small town in Portugal called Óbidos. The hotels are always completely booked months in advance, and it’s a nightmare to get there by car, from what I heard. Never been there :)

    http://www.festivalchocolate.cm-obidos.pt/

    • February 13, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

      Thanks for this one Mariana! This sounds like a big festival and I want to experience it too! :)

  2. Jennie
    February 15, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    Hey Anna! I think you forgot the hot chocolate in Xanacuk. :D Your blog just made me crave for some. lol Take care.

    • February 15, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

      Hi Jennie! OMG! I how did I forget that Chocolate naranja!! Now I want to go back to Madrid asap. :)

  3. February 17, 2014 at 3:26 am #

    Hi Ana! This made me miss my old job at CandyCorner Phils where I get to sample gourmet chocolates from different parts of the world. I remember one time developing an allergy attack – not sure if it’s the wine or the pure cacao. Nonetheless, we now have 2 common grounds to talk about when we meet in NY soon – chocolates and travel <3

    • February 17, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

      Omg, did you really have that job? So fun!

      And yay! I’m looking forward to meeting you in person in NY. I know where I’ll take you! <3