What Is Chocolate Tourism?

There are as many reasons to travel the world as there are people who enjoying traveling. From exploring different cultures and geographic landscapes to sampling exotic food, participating in major social events, exploring family origins, and connecting with other people, there’s no shortage of justifications for booking a plane ticket.

While the reasons for traveling may vary from person to person, modern travelers share a few things in common. Thanks especially to trends set by millennial travelers, today’s globetrotters are invested in having authentic experiences in unfamiliar locales, experiencing unique aspects of foreign cultures, and having up-close-and-personal encounters that provide them with a richer understanding of the people or places they visit.

As a result, specialized tourism industries are cropping up all over the globe. From ecotourism and voluntourism opportunities to industry tours and homestays, there are more options for exploring the world than ever before. So it was only a matter of time before chocolate factored into the equation.

Chocolate tourism is on the rise, and that’s a good thing for both travelers looking to better understand the industry and the producers who sustain the industry in the first place. Here’s a quick look at what chocolate tourism is all about.

A Brief Introduction to Chocolate Tourism

To understand what chocolate tourism is, it’s helpful to draw a parallel to wine tourism. Most people are familiar with Napa Valley, which has long been a famous destination for travelers. They flock to the region to learn about the wine production process and sample the fruits of these labors.

Chocolate tourism functions in just the same way. It involves traveling to locales known for their cacao production in order to tour farms and factories and sample all the chocolatey goodness these producers have to offer.

In the process, visitors gain a better appreciation both for how chocolate is produced and for the people who produce it. Their visits provide an additional source of income for cacao farmers and empower tourists to become advocates for these farmers back home—for example, by purchasing Fair Trade chocolate products or supporting brands such as TCHO that go above and beyond Fair Trade.

The chocolate tourism industry isn’t entirely new—the New York Times featured a piece about chocolate tourism half a decade ago—but it is growing increasingly popular. From Mexico (which many consider to be the birthplace of chocolate) to Panama, Italy, Nigeria, Cameroon, and the Caribbean, chocolate aficionados have no shortage of destinations to choose from. We may be biased, but we highly recommend our own supplier countries as stellar destinations for chocolate tourism. Ecuador, Ghana, Madagascar, and Peru each boast unique cacao beans with exceptional flavors: Ecuadorian cacao is known for its nuttiness; Ghanaian cacao boasts a deep chocolatey flavor; Madagascar produces chocolate with citrusy notes; and Peruvian cacao features fruity undertones.

No matter where in the world you travel to learn more about and enjoy delicious chocolate, you’ll return with a better appreciation for the farmers who work so hard to contribute to our treats and an elevated palette geared toward the world’s best chocolate.