Many chocolatiers and chocolate makers say taking a bite of chocolate is just as enjoyable as taking a vacation.
But now chocolate lovers can do both.
The Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa in Cebu, Philippines, has launched “The Land of Chocolate,” a “sweet signature journey” featuring chocolate made from cacao grown at the resort.
Developed over two years, the program is led by chocolate sommeliers who were trained in chocolate making by Raquel Choa, known as Cebu’s “Chocolate Queen. She brought global attention to Cebuano cacao as founder of The Chocolate Chamber.
Within the resort’s Chocolate Garden — which features cacao plants, naturally — the sommeliers demonstrate how to create chocolate from cacao beans. And, through a chocolate tasting, guests can experience cacao from three different Filipino destinations — Cebu, Bohol and Davao.
Tastings start with native sikwate (hot chocolate) served in the morning, followed by a chocolate high tea and signature chocolate martinis in the evening.
The chocolate experience also extends to the Lobby Lounge, where pastry chefs highlight locally-sourced cacao. The chocolate high tea features macarons, tarts, eclairs and a selection of fresh fruits, all served with premium tea or sikwate.
Also served in the Lobby Lounge, the resort’s chocolate flight features Almond and Hazelnut Layered Cake, Chocolate Dacquoise and Milk and Raspberry Cake. A range of premium cacao-infused liquor and the Cuddle in a Cup, a blend of chocolate and cream, are also available.
As an additional welcome, guests staying in Ocean Club rooms and suites receive complimentary artisanal chocolate, specially created for the resort. A range of retail chocolate bars are also available at the Lobby Shop.
Food tourism is booming industry, and there’s no reason why chocolate can’t be part of it. Educating consumers on high-quality cocoa, the farming process and the making of chocolate can only help them understand why paying $8-$12 for 3 oz. of it isn’t a bad thing — in fact, it’s actually a good thing.
And, considering cacao-producing countries aren’t always the wealthiest countries, generating more income through tourism could be an added bonus.
It’s only a 20-hour flight from Chicago to Cebu. I’m packing my bags — and my appetite.