Chocolate is good for you. At least if you chose the dark kind, with at least 70% cocoa content. The following places offer a lot more than chocolate. But if you have a sweet tooth for the dark stuff, you will find plenty of it in these five countries, and of the highest quality too.


Belgian chocolate creations can be whimsical to say the least. How about a soccer ball? Or a pair of breasts in a lacy bra? Belgium is one of the top producers of quality chocolate in Europe, with over 2000 chocolatiers. Remember those little chocolate seashells (from GuyLian) you aunt used to give you for Christmas? Those come from here. Of course truffles and bars are available as well. My mouth waters just thinking about it.


Switzerland offers some of the best (and most expensive) chocolate in the world. Truffles with creamy fillings are a speciality, and they are so fresh that the box carries a “best before “ date, usually within 3 to 4 weeks. You will also find dark single origin chocolate from Africa and South America, as well as assortments. The sky is the limit. Sprüngli, Teuscher and Lindt are some of the major producers.


The French have a sweet tooth, and so it should come as no surprise that they produce chocolate. Not only do they make truffles and moulded chocolates (sometimes in strange shapes, like the maybugs of Alsace), but they also incorporate the stuff in many of their desserts and pastries, such as macaroons and pain au chocolat (a chocolate-filled croissant). Beside the solid kind, France has the best, richest, most decadent hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted. Try finding a table at Angelina in Paris (226 rue de Rivoli, near the Louvre) and order the “African” hot chocolate.


Chocolate is not only sold here. It grows here! In the town of Mindo, two hours west of Quito, at an altitude of 1200 metres, El Quetzal makes and sells chocolate bars from locally sourced beans. They also serve decadent brownies. Their chocolate tour explains the chocolate-making process and lets you try samples. You can find Ecuadorian chocolate sold in the cities as well, including many gift shops in the capital, Quito. Bars of 50 grams, with different cocoa contents and flavours (such as lemongrass) are sold for around $2.50. Pacari produces single-origin organic chocolate.


Patagonia, in southern Argentina, is one little-known place for delicious affordable chocolate. El Calafate, in the far south near the Andes, sells chocolate wafers where two or three thin rectangular slices of chocolate enclose different fillings. The chocolate is priced per weight; 100 grams corresponds to approximately 2 wafers. Bariloche has many shops offering cakes as well as chocolates: wafers, rolls, truffles, white, milk and dark chocolate. And did I say it was cheap? Prepare to gain weight if you come here.

Want more?

Since I can’t just fly to Europe or South America whenever I get a chocolate craving, I’ve discovered my own little piece of chocolate paradise, right here at home:  SOMA, the best chocolatemaker in Toronto!

What’s the best chocolate you’ve ever had, and where did you find it?


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