Choco-dar first erupted on our multi-country circuit of Europe in a VW van. That adult onset, self-diagnosed radar for chocolate experiences led us serendipitously to many wonderful chocolate discoveries and surprises. In the process I learned some chocolate travel tips. Chocolate travel generated the book and the website that I came to call On the Chocolate Trail. It all started with travel.
So here are a few delicious tips for fun chocolate exploration, I encourage you to exercise your own choco-dar as you forge your own chocolate trail.
Tip #1: Plan
Plan your adventures before departure. Check On the Chocolate Trail for a list of worldwide chocolate festivals, museums and tours. Do an online search for chocolate in the towns, countries, and regions where you will be traveling. If possible head to chocolate centers. We aimed for chocolate hubs such as Belgium, France, Mexico, Spain, and Switzerland.
Tip #2: Stock Up
Items for storing your chocolate purchases and samples may be packed ahead or picked up at your destination. Carry an insulated bag or two, especially in hot climates. Keep a supply of small plastic bags to protect each find separately and a marking pen to identify. Alternatively, take a photo to provide a visual record, with date/time/location stamp.
Tip #3: Practice Choco-dar
While on the road, stay alert to chocolate events, treats, information, and more as you wander and enjoy. It was choco-dar that led us to a local chocolate festival in Turin, Italy. Choco-dar raised my head from my reading just in time to notice the international headquarters of Valhrona Chocolate as we drove through the small town of Tain L’Hermitage, France. While crossing the Alps into Italy, my choco-dar found the factory store for Venchi Chocolate.
Tip #4: Inquire
Search out local specialties as you explore. Also, it is worth asking the chocolate shop staff for their favorites and whether samples are available. I learned about the mendiants and chocolate fish of France this way.
Tip #5: Buy Local
Check out local groceries in addition to specialty chocolate stores. Some chocolates will be less expensive in local markets.
Tip #6: Record
Keep a journal of what you have tasted, where, your experiences, and what you thought of it.
Tip #7: Collect
Collect pretty wrappers as souvenirs of your trip.
Most of all, enjoy!
Pan de Calabaza: Pumpkin Challah
This bread brings fall ingredients to your festive meals and reflects the longtime usage of pumpkin among Sephardi Jews. Prep time: 30 minutes Rising time: 1 hour 45 minutes Baking time: 45 minutes Yield: two loaves and 12 rolls or three loaves Adapted from: Sephardic Holiday Cooking by Gilda Angel INGREDIENTS 2 packages active dryRead more ›
Yemarina Yewotet Dabo: Ethiopian Honey Bread
This sweetly spiced bread maximizes honey, both inside and out. Prep time: 30 minutes Rising time: 2-2 ¼ hours Baking time: 1 hour Yield: One large bread adapted from Culinary Adventures with Camilla INGREDIENTS 1 tablespoon active, dry yeast ½ cup warm water (about 110º F) 1 tablespoon honey + ½ cup honey 1 egg,Read more ›
Ambasha (aka Himbasha, Hambasha) Ethiopian Wedding Bread
This stylish Ethiopian celebratory flatbread derives its unique elements from the hand styled design and sweet flavorings. It was probably initially baked over coals. While many recipes give instructions for baking it in the oven, I prefer to use the stovetop for speed and for keeping my kitchen cooler in the summer. adapted from: MyRead more ›
Recipe for Dabo: Ethiopian Pan Cooked Shabbat Bread
Here’s another easy bread requiring no oven, no mixer and no braiding. Also, no fussy flour needed. Perfect for summer, though delicious all year long. adapted from The Sephardic Kitchen by Copeland Marks Prep time: 15 minutes Rising time: 7 hours Cooking time: 30-35 minutes INGREDIENTS 1 teaspoon dry yeast 2 tablespoons baking powder 3Read more ›
Some Previous Posts
(in alphabetical order)
- A Chocolate Cake for October's Tricks: Devil's Food
- A Shikker Challah
- Cheese Babka Recipe
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Chronicles: Inventions & Elections
- How About Some Mindful Chocolate Tasting?
- Is that coffee or chocolate?
- Jews on the Chocolate Trail
- Lachuch (aka Lahoh or Lahuh): A Yemenite Flatbread for Shabbat
- Los Siete Cielos or Seven Heaven Challah Recipe
- Lunch & Learn: Central Synagogue
- Lunch and Learn: Tasting the Best Chocolate
- On the Chocolate Trail in Belize’s Jungle
- Recipe for Dabo: Ethiopian Pan Cooked Shabbat Bread
- Recipe for Fancy Shapes in Dough: Shaping Dough
- Saluf (aka Salouf or Saloof): Recipe for a Yemenite Flatbread for Shabbat
- What is the Chocolate Babka Project?
- What's a Key (shlissel) Challah?
- What? No Babka at Catskills Hotels? *
- Yeast Raised Khachapuri Recipe