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Five decadent spots for chocolate lovers

By A. Pawlowski, CNN
Get your fill of chocolate at festivals, train rides, tours, museums and special bars in Europe.
Get your fill of chocolate at festivals, train rides, tours, museums and special bars in Europe.
  • Eurochocolate Festival in Italy features chocolate pasta and other whimsical creations
  • Chocolate train in Switzerland takes you to a famous chocolate factory surrounded by Alps
  • Harrods Chocolate Bar in London is billed as a "chocoholic's fantasy come true"

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." -- Charles M. Schulz

(CNN) -- Traveling to beautiful places is already sweet, but the journeys can get decadent if you succumb to the power of chocolate.

Chocolate tourism is big, as luscious bonbons, pralines, pastries, cakes, cookies, mousses and other delights have chocoholics all over the world craving classes and museums devoted to the heavenly food.

You probably already know about Hershey, Pennsylvania; Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco; and other destinations for chocolate-lovers closer to home.

Here are five more options in Europe.

Eurochocolate Festival and Casa Del Cioccolato -- Perugia, Italy

Come to Perugia to celebrate Italy's chocolate tradition in a big way. The annual Eurochocolate Festival in the city's historic center, scheduled to take place this year from October 14 to 23, features chocolate pasta, chocolate salami and other whimsical creations from chefs and confectioners.

"This is heaven for chocolate lovers," Frommer's promises. "This event promises to fulfill even the most insatiable craving."

You can also admire huge, edible sculptures carved out of chocolate blocks -- the festival recently featured a chocolate igloo made out of almost 8,000 pounds of the sweet stuff.

Visitors get to munch on the chocolate shavings produced during the creation of the sculptures.

YouTube: A tasty tour of the chocolate festival

Perugia is also home to Perugina -- the maker of Baci chocolates -- and a short taxi ride from the heart of the city will take you to the Perugina Casa Del Cioccolato (House of Chocolate). There, you can explore the Perugina Museum and tour the sweet-smelling factory where the Baci take shape.

Perugina allows visitors to become chocolatiers for a day by taking courses offered by its Chocolate School.

Complete your experience by staying at the Etruscan Chocohotel, which bills itself as the first hotel in the world dedicated to chocolate.

Chocolate tours -- Brussels, Belgium

You can't escape it -- chocolate looms large pretty much anywhere you go in the city, and that's a good thing.

First, some sweet statistics: Belgium produces 172,000 tons of chocolate per year and is home to more than 2,000 chocolate shops throughout the country, according to the Belgium Tourism Office.

Many of them are located in Brussels -- this is where Godiva chocolate began -- and visitors can choose from a number of tours that take them to chocolate-making demonstrations, workshops and tastings.

Here is one sample itinerary, billed as "the ultimate chocolate indulgence walk": Learn how to make your own pralines, spend some time with a chocolate master, try unusual flavor combinations and visit famous chocolate boutiques.

You can find a comprehensive list of the tours at

Chocolate Museum -- Cologne, Germany

All you ever wanted to know about chocolate should be inside this unique building located next to Cologne's Old Town.

There are three exhibition levels for chocoholics to enjoy. The first features a greenhouse where cocoa trees grow (they require a humid environment and an average temperature between 77 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit) and a small chocolate factory that shows visitors how chocolate bars, hollow figures and pralines are made.

The second level explains the history of chocolate, which began with ancient American cultures 3,000 years ago. The Maya and Aztec civilizations used cocoa both as medicine and a means of payment, the museum says, while the first evidence of chocolate in Europe showed up in 1544.

The third level is all about chocolate products, including a closer look at some of the biggest names in the industry, a timeline of chocolate advertising and movies on the sweet subject shown in a "chocolate cinema."

End your tour with a treat from the museum's café, which tempts visitors with cakes and drinking chocolates.

For more information, visit

Chocolate train -- Switzerland

Cheese, chocolate and gorgeous scenery -- what's not to love?

You board the train in Montreaux, Switzerland, then head to Gruyeres, home to the famous cheese that's used in fondues and melted on top of French onion soup. This part of the journey includes a visit to a cheesemaking factory and a tour of Gruyeres Castle.

Next stop: the idyllic town of Broc and a visit to the Cailler-Nestle chocolate factory, where you can indulge in samples and take in the beautiful of views of Lake Gruyeres and the Alps.

The factory was opened in 1989 by the grandson of François-Louis Cailler, who brought the first chocolate recipe to Switzerland in 1819, according to the company.

This daylong excursion runs Monday through Friday during July and August, and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in June, September and October.

Visit Rail Europe for more information.

Harrods Chocolate Bar -- London

The famous department store calls this eatery a "chocoholic's fantasy come true." Visitors will find melting chocolate fountains and a selection of hot, cold and alcoholic drinks made with the sweet stuff, like dark chocolate martinis.

Hungry? The menu features cakes, muffins, crepes, brownies and other tempting desserts, including chocolate fondue, molten lava chocolate cake and chocolate waffles.

For a luxurious touch, you can try strawberries served with chocolate dip and a flute of champagne. Or go for the chocolate ice cream with the hot chocolate topping.

Then go for a nap. Sweet dreams.