As a self confessed chocoholic, one of the truly addicted, craves it daily, can’t live without it kind of chocoholics, I dream of visiting the home of chocolate. The birch place of chocolate, the place all my chocolate coated dreams will come true… Latin America.
So far my travels have taken me to ‘waxy, too hot it melts, don’t want that in my mouth American chocolate’, the ‘how can you call this Cadbury’s of South Africa chocolate’, the ‘hot chocolates of dreams in the Australian brunch capital Melbourne chocolate’, the ‘luxury flavours of European chocolate’ and many a day spent trying ‘every flavour under the British clouds, tastes like home’ chocolate… but never have I ever even stepped foot onto the Latin American, chocolate home of dreams.
At World Travel Market earlier this year I tried some of the Peruvian chocolate drink, no sugar, no additives, just pure chocolate. It was heaven and left me wanting more.
In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions I thought I would let you into my little chocolate travel dream. To visit Latin America, the home of chocolate.
If I had a month to visit the chocolate world of Latin America, here are just a few of the things I would need to see, do and of course eat!
Arriving into the Rio de Janeiro I would start with a city mission to seek out the best chocolates around. Brazil actually eats more chocolate themselves than they export which means there is a lot of chocolate out there that we are missing out on even trying. Chocolate shops, restaurants, cafes, factories, if it involves chocolate I am going to seek it out in Rio.
After I have had my Rio fill of chocolate I would head up the coast towards Salvador, stopping at cacao plantations en route, such as the Lajedo do Ouro Plantation, in one of the biggest cacao regions in the country. Learn, taste, taste some more.
Wanting to see all sides of the chocolate world of Latin America, the next stop would be a factory in Salvador to see just what happens to the cacao beans before turning into the tasty bar of chocolate we know and love.
Now it wouldn’t all be stuffing my face with chocolate. There would have to be a few beaches, local savoury restaurants and cultural highlights thrown in… eating chocolate on the beach, after a tasty meal while chatting to the locals would be a perfect compromise. Right?!
Anyone been to Peru? A country that has been on my list for years! There’s the Inca trail, Machu Picchu and yes you guessed it more chocolate. There are llamas and bright colours and friendly faced locals. Yes I think I would like Peru so this would be my second stop.
The Peruvian chocolate trade has been diminishing thanks to a similarly named plant that appears to be far more lucrative (less talk of that the better), though of course nowhere near as tasty with as many health benefits! Honestly, chocolate has health benefits, especially the pure kind. I guess that means I might have to visit the Chocolate museum in Cusco more than once right?
Now just in case I’m not fat, full and tired by now I might add just one more country onto my little adventure, Ecuador.
Ecuador is one of the world’s oldest chocolate trading countries and though they don’t quite match Africa on export quantity they still reach a staggering 133,000 tonnes of chocolate export each year. They apparently have the tastiest and best quality chocolate in the world! Wow things just keep getting better!
My dad visited Ecuador when I was a child and it is a country that has always intrigued and excited, with or without their chocolate. He climbed Cotopaxi and so this mountain is definitely on my list of mountains to climb and don’t even get me started on the Galapagos Islands. Who doesn’t want to go there?
Then there is the Amazon jungle, the markets or maybe a day straddling the equator. I could definitely earn more chocolate eating rights through adventurous exercise in this country.
So what do you think? Does this sound like a heavenly, tasty way to visit Latin America? I know I have wet my appetite and as soon as I press publish I’m off to eat a very large bar of Galaxy, washed down with some chocolate ice cream, whilst I day dream of my dream trip to Latin America.
Do you have a dream to visit Latin America? Well guess what… you could on Latam Airlines expense. Anyone can enter to win their perfect trip to Latin America. Just fill in the form on the link below to try and become one of Latam Airlines explorers.
For extra tips, read my advice on how to win travel competitions
Good luck guys and happy dreaming. x