(Photo: Manufacture CHOCOLAT/Pierre Monetta)
From the white pulp of the cacao pod to the dark velvety candy, the path chocolate takes from bean to bar is a fascinating one. And travelers can follow along as companies reveal the whole process, starting with fermenting the beans and ending with molding cocoa liquor into delectable bars and bonbons. As the craft chocolate movement and people's food curiosities have grown, chocolate makers have become excited to share their obsessions with quality and innovative techniques by opening up their factories to the public. Learning has never tasted so good.
I've explored the world of artisan chocolate with both well-established chocolate makers and those with brand-new offerings. From the simple and raw to the classic and refined, here are a few of my favorite places to experience bean-to-bar chocolate.