Sandra Scott Travels: Sample ‘The Gift of the Gods’

Last week I asked: What is the best Valentine’s gift?

Chocolate.

Hershey Chocolate Fountain

Over the years, John and I have had the pleasure of visiting many chocolate destinations.

Here are a few of our favorite.

There is still plenty of time to book travel to a special chocolate destination.

Without question we both agree that Hershey, Pennsylvania, is our favorite chocolate town.

You gotta love a place where the streetlights are shaped like Hershey Kisses, but we are impressed with the whole Hershey story.

Milton S. Hershey made chocolate affordable for everyone but most people don’t realize he used part of his wealth to create a home and a school for orphaned boys.

At the spa

Today, the school continues to open its door to those less fortunate.

Besides the factory tour and the museum the Hershey Spa features a menu of chocolate-related treatments.

It truly is “The Sweetest Place on Earth.”

Hands down there is no street quite like the one in Bariloche, Argentina.

Its location above a lake in the Andes is breathtaking.

Bariloche has a very European feel to it mainly because some of the earliest settlers were from Europe, but it wasn’t until after World War II that they began making chocolate.

Bariloche

What is the benefit of having a whole street lined with stores selling chocolate?

The answer is each store tries to make itself unique and tries to create the best chocolate.

John and I purchased small samples from each store and took our goodies to the central park with a view of the lake and called it lunch.

Today it is considered the “Chocolate Capital of Argentina.”

We have been to several chocolate museums.

Chocolate Art Museum in Prague

The Chocolate Art Museum in Prague has to be the most unique.

But, without a doubt John and I think the Choco-Story Museum in Brugge, Belgium is the best we have visited.

Located in a historic building in the city center that is an UNESCO World Heritage Site the museum covers several floors.

Besides detailing the history of chocolate it also has demonstrations, workshops, and special children’s activities.

Choco-Story Museum

Many museums are part of a specific chocolate company, but the Choco-Story does not appear to be even though they sell a variety of chocolate products.

John and I have sampled wonderful chocolate delights in various places in the U.S., Latin American, Europe, Asia and Oceania, but we have not found anything that competes with the Chocolate Buffet at the luxurious and historic Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Vietnam.

I must say it was a bit of a surprise to find such an expansive chocolate selection in Hanoi because while everyone loves chocolate Asians are just developing their taste for “The Gift of the Gods,” as the Mayans called it.

Chocolate Buffet

Every Sunday the Sofitel Le Club spreads a buffet that is yards long with every conceivable chocolate treat including ice cream made in-house.

This was one place we threw caution to the wind and tried as many different kinds of chocolate as we could.

If traveling afar is not in your future, not to worry.

Check out Man in the Moon Candies in Oswego where Amy Stone-Lear makes her confections using the 70-year-old recipes used by her grandparents.

Man in the Moon Candies

There is also Oswego’s Stone’s Home Made Candy Shop.

Looking for something a little different to send someone?

Then check out the Chocolate Pizza Company in Marcellus where they have hand-decorated, heart-shaped chocolate pizzas that will put a smile on everyone’s face.

They also have peanut butter wings covered in chocolate.

Chocolate Pizza

Travel Trivia Tease™: Where can you soak in warm waters?

Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!