chocolate (15)

Fewer foodstuffs in the world today seem to have more fans than xocolātl, the cacao-based infusion the Spanish conquistadors found quaffed by the elites of Aztec, Mayan, and other Mesoamerica societies they conquered. Back then, it was not necessarily always sweetened but also confected in varieties included fermented and chili-pepper-spiced.

But of course once chocolate made its way back to the aristocrats of Spain, then and onward to the rest of Europe and the world, it was transformed into

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9009005671?profile=originalChocolate lovers pay attention!

Get your fill of chocolate at Costa Rica’s fourth annual Chocolate Festival in Puerto Viejo on the Southern Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. Sample chocolate from local artisan producers and top Costa Rica chocolate makers, try pairing chocolate with single malt whiskey or red wine, and attend workshops and fun events all starring chocolate.

Better than trick-or-treating, the Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival 2015 will be held Halloween weekend, Oct. 30 through Nov. 1,

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One Sweet Chocolate Tour in Los Angeles


There is a hot chocolate sipper that is pure decadence, an ahhhhhhh moment, a pound the table scene from When Harry Met Sally moment, savor pure chocolate at its best from a bean-to-bar chocolate shop. This is what I’m looking for, what I can’t forget. How did I get here? When I lived here 20 years ago I could navigate—but never happily. Who, I ask you, likes to drive in Los Angeles? Certainly not me.

I took the "Chocolate Indulgence" tour with Tourific Escapes. After meeting up in an Industrial

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Creamy, gooey, mouth-melting, milk, white, dark, bitter, sweet … chocolate melts our hearts not just our taste buds.

Cacao-beans-photo-courtesy-of-Smithsonian-Magazine-300x161.jpg?width=300As the story goes, chocolate was once considered gold. Prized by the Aztecs and Mayans, and formerly reserved only for royalty in Europe, chocolate has held an irresistible allure for cultures worldwide over the past 4,000 years. In some areas, chocolate beans were even used as currency.

Chocolate comes from the seeds of the cacao fruit tree, which originated in the Americas, and g

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9008915679?profile=originalIf you visited the beautiful property of Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge four decades ago, instead of a high-end Costa Rica eco-lodge, you would have found only “chocolate trees.”


Cacao tree plantations were once plentiful in Costa Rica’s southernmost region of the Golfo Dulce and Osa Peninsula. Cacao was an important export market for Costa Rica until the fungus blight called Monilia destroyed 95% of production in 1979.


On the Chocolate Tour at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, you will learn abo

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9008841675?profile=originalIf you have not seen the film Chocolat, stop now and go rent / buy / download it so you know what I am talking about. If you have seen it, you know the expressions of ecstasy on the faces of the townspeople as they are transformed by Vianne’s exotic chocolate creations.


In the film – which is perfect for Easter Week – Vianne livens up the inhibited French town with ancient Maya secrets of chocolate preparation from Central America.


9008841274?profile=originalPrized by the Mayas, Aztecs and Inkas, and formerly reserved onl

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Hershey, Pennsylvania is called the “Sweetest Place on Earth” so it is only fitting that it has the sweetest spa.  The spa features a variety of chocolate-infused treatments in honor of our rich chocolate history. Sink into a frothy Whipped Cocoa Bath, relax in the warm cocoon of their Chocolate Fondue Wrap, and inhale the rich chocolate aromas that put a twist on traditional spa treatments such as the Cocoa Facial Experience and the Cocoa Massage. And there is more, chocolate and non-chocolate

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The Gardens in Hershey, Pennsylvania


Gardens like Hershey Gardens in Pennsylvania are wonderful places to visit.  They appeal to people for all sorts of reasons. There are those who appreciating the mix of flowers, trees and lawns, while some seek out trees, especially bonsai, and others are interested in the individual blooms of the flowers.  And, then there are others who feel the need for a few hours of serenity. 


Hershey Gardens is one of several lasting gifts from Milton Hershey. The gardens first opened in 1937 as a rose gard

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by David Paul Appell

On my most recent visit to Iberostar’s ginormous Playa Paraíso spa facilities on Mexico’s Riviera Maya below Cancun, I decided to take a more in-depth look at the modern, elegant spa used by guests at all five resorts here. Situated at the back of the quaint town-plaza-style resort shopping center, it’s an impressive two-story affair open 365 days of the year, with 25 shower-equipped treatment rooms, each of which is identified by a mysterious-sounding Maya name (don’t worr

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Amazing chocolate cake

Amazing chocolate cake


Located on the Bay of Bengal in Myanmar, Amazing Ngapali Beach Resort is amazing in many ways – the beach, the accommodations, the service and their Amazing Chocolate Cake.


Amazing’s Amazing Chocolate Cake


6 eggs, separated – room temperature

1/2 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups sugar, divided

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup baking cocoa

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar


In a large bowl, b

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#1. Belgium


Belgians love chocolate almost as much as they love beer – which is to say, a lot.

#2. England


It’s not quite Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, for there are no Oompa-Loompas, but it is Cadbury World.

#3. Italy


Chocolate shops are numerous and top-notch along the grand boulevards and piazzas.

#4. France


Chocoholics, you’ve found your heaven.

#5. Switzerland


This compact nation has the highest per-capita chocolate consumption in the world, and has spawned some of the most famous makers.

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The hotel du Cadran is the hotel you need if you want to have an exceptionnal stay in Paris!

It's located only a few minutes from the Champ de Mars, and the Eiffel Tower... 


The design of this hotel will seduce you immediatly! From the lobby to the rooms, everything is decorated with details, with all the modern conveniences. The rooms offer to the customers a particular and soft atmosphere, thank to the beautiful decoration. Spacious, comfortable and luminous would be the words I'd choose if I h

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La Jolla Wine Tours



Where are La Jolla’s best restaurants?

Our eclectic food and wine scene can be a bit overwhelming for the first time visitor, but Shira Wiseman will be happy to help you get the lay of the land.

This local foodie offers culinary walking tours of the village and, in the process, helps fellow San Diegans and out-of-towners find our best food and wine gems.

Her three-hour excursions include four to five stops, including local restaurants, a purveyor of chocolates, and a little-known source for gourme

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My Favorite Tastings at Sun Wine Fest 2011

9008591462?profile=originalThis past weekend’s Sun Wine Fest at Connecticut's Mohegan Sun Casino was a bonanza of top chefs demonstrating their skills on stage to packed audiences, a surprising variety of beer & liquor tastings, and of course a vast treasure trove of wine sampling. My strategy for this 2-day event was to spend Saturday roaming at will without an itinerary. I wanted to give myself the “kid-in-the-candy shop” experience first and then get more focused on specific brands on Sunday. This turned out to be smar
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9008543276?profile=originalThis past week was extra special deep in the rainforest of Belize about an hour south of Punta Gorda. Underneath its gigantic namesake tree nestled between the Moho River and lush rain forest, the Cotton Tree Lodge hosted Chocolate Week along with the Annual Toledo Chocolate Festival held every year on the second to the last week in May. I’m making it a life goal to attend this one next spring even if it breaks the bank! Here’s why:

Chocolate at the Source

Did you know that Cacao was used by the a

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