Love and romance take center stage each February as Valentine’s Day approaches. And for most of us, nothing goes better with love than chocolate. It started more than 1500 years ago with the Maya and Aztec cultures. Believing the cocoa bean was an aphrodisiac, the Aztec ruler, Montezuma, allegedly drank several cups of a strong and dark chocolate drink known as "xocoatl" before visiting his harem to give him stamina. Maybe that’s not really love, but you get the point. This Valentine’s Day, why not amp up the romance with one of these six romantic chocolate experiences?
Berlin is home to the world’s largest chocolate shop, Fassbender & Rausch. A chocolate lover’s dream, this elegant shop offers over 200 varieties of fresh filled chocolates and truffles. At Fassbender & Rausch chocolate meets art with displays of chocolate sculptures of the Berlin TV Tower, the Brandenburg Gate, Titanic, and more.
And for romance, check out the charming café upstairs overlooking Gendarmenmarkt serving hot chocolate, hand-crafted mini-tortes, and other decadent cocoa creations. The chocolate experience continues in the evening with a four course dinner and a cabaret at the Chocolate Restaurant.
Sometimes you happen upon a chocolate shop that is unspeakably charming, and that’s exactly what I found in Norway. There it stood at the water’s edge, a little brown converted boathouse – its rooftop sprouting grass – set against the dramatic backdrop of the Geirangerfjord. The sign read "Chocolate with a View." They weren’t kidding.
Geiranger Sjokolade produces decadent chocolates from local raw ingredients inspired by the Norwegian fjords and mountains; it’s not hard to find inspiration, just look out the window. Inside the delicious aroma of chocolate permeates the air. A spattering of three or four wooden tables and a nook with comfy sofas invite you and your sweetie to cuddle up with a cup of hot cocoa while you sample uniquely Norwegian flavors like chocolates filled with brown cheese, Arctic berries, and Aquavit – Norway’s liquid spirit treasure. The tasty chocolates, warm cocoa, and incredible views should be enough to inspire a bit of romance. If not, you can always keep an eye out for a Viking.
In Asheville, North Carolina find romantic inspiration in the story of French Broad Chocolate Lounge. When Jael flirted with Dan (the cute bartender at her brother’s wedding) she was flirting with destiny. The two young lovers took off to Costa Rica in a converted Volkswagen van that ran on fuel made from vegetable oil. First, they made a couple of cute babies and then started making chocolate.
Ultimately they found their way back to Asheville where they opened the French Broad Chocolate Lounge which sure has sweetened up the Asheville food scene and given an element of romance to a night out for chocolate. This wildly popular lounge has live music and offers an assortment of chocolate beverages, coffees, teas, wine and beer; and decadent desserts like the Highland Mocha Stout Cake. This dense chocolate cake with a dark, malty flavor from local beer, layered and topped with coffee butter cream, and finished with dark chocolate curls is ridiculously delicious.
From the minute you enter this Upper West Side chocolate shop in New York, your heart will be happy. Voilà Chocolat is an experiential chocolate-making concept that allows chocolate lovers of all ages to walk in off the street and make their very own high end chocolates in 30 minutes to an hour. For a bit of chocolate romance make Voilapops – heart and circle shaped chocolate lollipops. Choose from dark, milk, and white chocolate and toppings like sprinkles, cacao nibs, and other assorted treats. In less than an hour – voilà – you will have beautiful handmade chocolates and a dose of unexpected happiness.
If there ever was a destination that encouraged traveling for chocolate it’s the Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pennsylvania.. Every day Hershey offers chocolate themed dining, adventure parks, romantic lodging, chocolate spa treatments, and chocolate cocktails. In February the chocolate decadence is even more intense when the entire town celebrates Chocolate-Covered February.
The jeweler at the Hotel Hershey carries an exclusive line of Le Vian Chocolate Diamonds found exclusively in the Argyle mine of Western Australia. Try pairing indulgent chocolate body wraps, chocolate martinis, and a chocolate diamond. Romance is guaranteed.
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Terri Marshall is a New York City based freelance writer whose work includes travel, spirits, and all things chocolate. Terri's work appears in several publications. She has been a featured guest on Peter Greenberg's Worldwide Travel radio program and Denver's KZKO Radio Morning Express show. Terri will not hesitate to go to the source for great chocolate - even if that means hiking through the jungle and picking cacao pods herself.
Happiest when she's globetrotting, Terri has covered destinations all over the United States, Europe, and into Central and South America. Favorite adventures include reindeer driving in Norway and fishing for piranhas in the Amazon jungle of Peru. You can keep up with Terri's adventures on her website www.TrippingwithTerri.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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