As you know we take our ahem chocolate research very seriously. We have always taught the children at our events about the fantastic journey of chocolate from times of the Mayan civilization to the confections of today. We haven’t quite made it to South America, where it all began, yet. We did however have the pleasure recently of visiting Barcelona, home of the Picasso Museum, architecture by Antoni Gaudi and a city centre beach. We met plenty of scousers n our trip which made us feel very much at home.
Spain was the first European port of call for the cocoa bean, in fact the first chocolate processing plant in Europe was established in….Spain and it was Spanish clergy that popularized the addition of sugar to the chocolate drink that the Aztecs traditionally had with spices such as chilli or cloves. As it had such a huge influence on the modern taste of chocolate, we couldn’t visit Spain without doing a chocolate tour
There are a few options available in terms of city tours. We chose to go with Cristina Garcia, the founder of the Barcelona Chocolate Tours, www.barcelonachocolatetours.com. Cristina is, as can imagine, passionate about chocolate and she was kind enough to guide us around the city’s chocolate museum, school and several of its finest ‘chocolaterias’ (chocolate houses).
The cost of the tour was very good value, covering coffee, treats and chocolate tastings at different locations including Bubo Barcelona where we tasted Xabina, winner of the ‘world’s best chocolate cake’ award in 2005. Four layers of praline, cocoa beans, cappuccino sponge, Madagascan vanilla and chocolate mousse (Yum!).
The visit to the Chocolate Museum was one of our tour highlights, it houses a culinary school, with lovely windows out onto the courtyards where one can watch trainee patisserie chefs at work. Another quirk is that entry through the turnstiles is via the scanning of a chocolate bar that is given to you. An edible ticket stub, Genius!