Roald Dahl’s classic story of Charlie Bucket has inspired kids big and small to go out and seek their very own fantasy chocolate adventure. And many of the world’s major chocolate makers offer just that, serving a rich insight into the history of their delicious product – and tasty samples of course! Here are some of the best.
Haigh’s chocolates are virtually an Australian institution, and the company remains the oldest family-owned chocolate maker in the country, creating sweet delicacies since 1915. The Haigh’s factory is located about 20 minutes from the Adelaide city centre, and tours of the site are available Monday – Saturday. You’ll learn a little about the history of Haigh’s, and get an opportunity to see the chocolate crafting process first-hand. For a little extra, enjoy a special tasting session, and sample freshly made truffles. Bookings are essential as spots are limited and fill quickly.
Much more than a simple factory tour, Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is a mini chocolate-themed town. There are numerous shops and restaurants, with Hershey’s naturally dominating the desserts. You can also create your very own chocolate bar, catch a 3D movie featuring Hershey characters, and learn more about the sweet treat at the onsite museum. Of course, there’s also the factory tour itself, complete with free samples. If you’re still not Hersheyed out, head to the adjoining Hersheypark for an adrenaline rush of rides, attractions, shows, dining and shopping. Just don’t eat too much before you tackle its 13 roller-coasters.
Renowned as one of the greatest chocolate-producing countries in the world, visitors to Switzerland are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a factory to tour. One of the most interesting, and famous, is the Maison Cailler factory tour in Broc-Gruyere, set amongst the peaceful Swiss countryside. Unlike many other producers, Cailler uses only cow’s milk, never powdered – so their products are always rich, smooth and creamy. This factory tour is also great for those who are particularly fond of truffles, with classes available teaching the art of truffle making. You’ll even be provided with your very own Cailler apron so you’ll be creating delicious morsels like a seasoned professional in no time. The Cailler factory is an easy day trip from Geneva, and being very first chocolate factory in Switzerland it is also rich in history.
The hilltop medieval town of Perugia in Italy is the birthplace of the famous ‘Baci’, or ‘Italian kisses’. Located on the outskirts of the town centre, the Perugina Casa del Cioccolato is a must-visit destination for any chocolate lover, and is regularly rated amongst the very best chocolate factory tours in the world. Start with a visit to the onsite museum, to learn about the history of Perugina, the famous ‘Baci’, and the art of chocolate making, Italian style. Then visit the factory to see all the theory put into practice, and finally for the truly dedicated students, there’s an entire school, so you can sign up for some sweet classes.
Located in the picturesque city of Brugge, Choco-Story is less of a factory and more of a museum. You’ll be taken back in time to learn about the 4,000 year old history of chocolate. Don’t worry – it’s a feast for all the senses. You will learn how chocolate is made, uncover how the experts get it so silky smooth, and of course have the opportunity to taste some for yourself. The museum is open daily and also offers workshops for kids and adults.