"The greatest tragedies were written by the Greeks and Shakespeare… neither knew chocolate."
Easter evokes in us a period of rest, renewal and rejoicing in Spring's new beginnings and sunshine. Long associated with merrymaking garden parties, hunting for eggs, and gathering with your nearest kin, it is also the perfect excuse for children and adults alike to indulge in an ancient and pleasure-inducing treat - divine chocolate. Originating from the treasured cocoa pod, the process of fermenting, drying and roasting the beans stimulates our scent and taste buds in an addictive and almost animalistic manner! There simply is no substitute for it, reasons why its rich flavours have been harvested and refined for over 5000 years.
Without further ado and taking you to some of the most renowned destinations who have perfected the exquisite craft, this one goes out to the chocolate fiends...
Known as the world's largest producer of organic sustainable cocoa, fair and direct trade reward the farmers and makers who adhere to high standards of production of premium cacao and agroforestry. Highlighting cacao's nuanced and natural flavours as the star of the show, they take pride in creating bars worthy of the most discerning palate.
Stay at: Amanera's contemporary clifftop casitas, nestled in the jungle in the North Coast.
The history of cocoa goes hand in hand with Ecuador, who was once the world's largest exporter until new cultivations in Africa and Asia took their place in the early 20th century. Known as 'black gold,' the valuable Arriba bean has a delicious floral, fruity and spicy profile rather than bitter, perhaps due to the elevation and soil of plantations along the Guayas river.
Stay at: Mashpi Lodge for total rainforest immersion, engaging with one of the world's richest ecosystems.
When the Swiss commit to something, they manage it with poise and perfection. You might not know that chocolate was once sold as prescription medicine in pharmacies, a tribute to their healing properties. Lindt is best known globally, with over 370 shops spread across the world! The 'melt-in-your-mouth' technique was also created and patented in 1879 by their innovative founder, Rodolphe.
Stay at: The Woodward, with panoramic views of Mont Blanc and world-class dining experiences.
This unassuming country's cocoa plantations have grown massively over the islands of Sulawesi, North Sumatra, East Kalimantan, Papua and West Java. Measuring over 1.5 million hectares in total, raw beans are their 4th largest agricultural export after rubber, coconut and palm oil. The origins of this production was introduced by the Dutch in 1778.
Stay at: Capella Ubud and lounge on your outdoor decks unspoilt and lush natural surroundings, complete with your own Capella Culturalist.
Explorers during the 17th century brought back cocoa beans from South America while still under Spanish occupation. The country even created a law in 1884 stating that at least 35% cocoa must be used to maintain its composition! Don't miss Jean Neuhaus's store which is still standing as the maker of the first praline in 1912, among independent artisan chocolatiers who all bring something unique to the table.
Stay at: Hotel Amigo for the perfect marriage of 'traditional elegance with a contemporary artistic spirit.'
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