Join in the chocolate fest that’s not held for a day, week or month. This one is 365 days a year, and held in every pueblo and city. Spain was enjoying the pleasure of cacao long before the rest of Europe.
On his fourth voyage to the New World in 1502, Columbus landed in Central America’s Nicaragua. The natives used their cocoa beans as their currency. It had a dual purpose and was served as a beverage too. Columbus was focused on still discovering a new route to India and the beans held little interest to him.
However, Conquistador Hernando Cortez had more than an extreme interest in the cacao beans. Obsessed with finding gold in the name of the King and Queen, during his dominance over Mexico in 1519, he set up a cacao plantation. However, it was not as a commodity used for chocolates. He believed that the Aztecs were cultivating “money” since it was used as currency by them.
Although foolhardy on his part to think such a thought, eventually the beans made it across the Atlantic and a very profitable industry was formulated. Of course, chocoholics were immediately developed on the Iberian Peninsula.
Whether chocolate pastries, churros dipped in thick hot chocolate or chocolate bon-bons are served, chocolate is all around you in Spain and visitors will need no guidance.
Let’s take a peek at a just a few of the thousands of gems around Spain.
Monasterio de Piedra (Zaragoza)
Address: Monasterio de Piedra, S/N, 50210, Nuévalos
The monastery happens to be the center as to where all the fuss about chocolate began in Spain. Visitor’s who normally visit the historic 12th century monastery are surprised to learn that its kitchen was used to prepare chocolate. Enjoy the exhibition on the history of chocolate and head into the kitchen where the first original batch of chocolate was prepared in 1534.
Museu De La Xocolata (Barcelona)
Address: Plaça Pons I Clerch, S/N, 08003 Barcelona
Barcelona‘s Chocolate Museum brings together some of Spain’s best chocolate offerings under one roof relating to the history and production process of chocolate. Besides viewing the exhibits on chocolate in Catalunya, there is a gallery full of sculptures and artworks made of this decadent sweet. Sip a cup of hot chocolate as well as various chocolate items that may never make it back home.
Valor Chocolate Museum (Villajoysa)
Address: Avda Pianista Gonzalo Soriano, 13, 03570 Villajoyosa
What Starbuck’s is to every major city throughout the world, Valor Chocolate shops are to Spain. Valor is one the biggest chocolate makers in Spain and has been satisfying chocolate cravings for over 300 years. Nearly every mall and airport has a Valor shop. Make the pilgrimage to seaside villages near Alicante to their museum that is devoted to the subject with exhibits machinery, tools, objects and documents.
La Mallorquina (Madrid)
Address: C/ Mayor, 228013 Madrid
Since 1894, near Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, time and time again those who reside in Madrid claim La Mallorquina’s is one of the best quality chocolate shops in their city. Chocolate lover’s never complain about the long to just get inside be waited or served in the upstairs dining area. They are known for creative, high quality chocolates and famous for the beauty of their chocolate creations.
El Leon Dulce (Valencia)
Address: C/ de Louis Bolinches Compañ 6, 46023 Valencia
One chocolate shop, El Leon Dulce (Sweet Lion) stands out as a hidden gem satisfying customers and locals who constantly pour in. They are master sweet makers offer an impressive array of chocolates, including truffles, creams, pastries and bon-bons to take out or eat-in. They have kept up with the demands of their clients and even offer gluten-free decadence.
Cacao Sampaka (Bilbao – Alameda Recalde)
Address: Alameda de Recalde, 20, 48009 Bilbao
The residents of Bilbao are convinced that this is the place to walk into for a paramount of fresh truffles, truffles, creams, cordials and break-up chocolate. Building on their fine reputation delicacies can be made of the finest ingredients in dark, milk or white chocolate, including sauces, powders, jams with chocolate, as well as chocolate covered fruit.
When it comes to loving the stuff, Spaniards today consume more chocolate than ever. Chocolate is consumed first thing in the morning and with a small sampling before retiring, and there’s nothing wrong with that.