Eating chocolates can be habit-forming or addictive (with withdrawal symptoms during days of abstinence). Consuming chocolates (and other sweet foods with high-fat content) make people release serotonin that can alter moods and make them feel happy. You need not worry, though, because this is just craving and not “true addiction.”
This means that you are free to pursue a chocolate tour when you get the chance. There are destinations that promise to let you witness, hear, feel, smell and taste the delicious transformation that chocolates go through to become decadent temptations. There are also walking tours that take you from shop to shop for a bite of their sweet chocolate creations – Brussels, Perth, New York, Seattle, and yes Zurich in Switzeland.
In the Chocolate city: Tour shows off Zurich as the Place for Chocoholics featured in CNN’s Destination Switzerland by Rania Margari for CNN – Travel Section, chocolate connoisseur Kerrin Rousset takes you to chocolate artisanal shops of rising stars such as Honold while sidestepping the popular ones – Teuscher and Sprungl.
“… We’re here because, although in Zurich you’re never more than a praline’s throw from an artisanal chocolatier (not that any sane person would throw away a perfectly good praline), it’s surprisingly tricky to locate truly excellent chocolate.
It’s a task for a local connoisseur who’s already cracked the cocoa code…
Outside Sprungli, Rousset steers us away from what we thought would be our first chocolate hit.
“You should definitely visit Sprungli while you are here,” she says. “The place is always lively, but it’s not included in our tour as we will focus on the more hidden, artisanal shops that would be harder to discover on your own.”
… A few minutes later, we’re on a lively pedestrian street in the Old Town, sampling the wares in Honold, a family-owned confectionery and chocolate shop founded in 1905.
The walking tour will also surprise you with more flavors that you would not expect in a chocolate concoction – galangal or lemongrass – and how balance unexpectedly make the combinations work. In between shops and more tastings are more chocolate facts and lessons – origins, percentages and flavors of cocoa.
By the end of the chocolate walking tour, you learn that chocolate bars do not really tell you their quality; just the amount of sugar and the darkness of the cocoa used. You also learn a bit about proper chocolate tasting, at least in theory. Rousett said:
“Use all your senses to recognize and appreciate a good quality chocolate bar; look for a nice sheen, not too glossy nor dull,” she says.
“Sound: Break off a piece and you should hear a distinct snap, letting you know it was well-tempered.
“Smell: There are countless aromas in cocoa beans, so you’ll smell a variety of natural aromas from fruits to spices to nuts, depending on the origin of the bean.
“Taste: Let it melt in your mouth — don’t chew — and you should taste several flavors and no bitterness.
“A sign of a good quality chocolate is when there are several stages of flavor — they develop in your mouth as it melts. More importantly, the flavor doesn’t just disappear after you swallow, but lingers.”
After the tour, it is time to visit the other chocolatier artisanal shops. Use your senses. Watch out for the nice sheen. Break it and listen to the snapping sound. Smell and focus on the distinct scents. Finally, let it melt in your mouth….