The best – and most chocolatey – Easter dates around
You don’t need a golden ticket to explore Cadbury World and, unlike one of Willy Wonka’s unfortunate guests, there’s no danger of turning into a giant blueberry here. You’ll just learn the history of chocolate and see how some of your favourite bars are made. Visitors might even get a glimpse of the actual factory when you see where the products are wrapped, and in one of the interactive zones, you can find out how you’d look made out of chocolate. Not just for kids!
Height of passion
For an extra natural high, mix chocolate with some mood-lifting exercise. If you and your date are feeling sporty, head to Alton Towers and work up a sweat on a new climbing wall inspired by the sweet stuff. Mt Rocky is a 32ft climbing tower combining a chocolate-scented bouldering wall, biscuit crumb grotto and a waterfall made of real chocolate. There’s even a 10m high chocolatey cliff face to tackle if you’ve got a head for heights. It’s open from April 10-15, so get a date in the diary.
If toughing it out on a climbing wall sounds too much like hard work, why not get pampered together instead? Chocolate-inspired beauty treatments are a guilt-free way of soaking up those heavenly flavours. For a head to toe treat, try the Chocolate Body Wrap at the Ajala Spa in London’s Grange Hotel. Meanwhile, the Malvern Spa offers the Chocolate Back Treatment, combining Dead Sea salts, essential oils and warm cocoa butter in a sweet-smelling body scrub and massage. Both spas have joint treatment rooms, so there’s no need to spend time apart.
Many of us know our nose from our body when it comes to fine wine, but when it comes to chocolate, do you know what the terroir or the conching time are? Thought not. There are oodles of complexities and levels of flavour within our favourite sweet treat, and proper appreciation opens up a whole new world of taste. Hotel Chocolat offers tasting adventures in its Covent Garden store in London, where guests can discover what to look out for. All that focus on sensory pleasure will put you right in the mood for romance!
Do it yourself
There’s nothing like getting stuck in, and making your own chocolates is a brilliant way to show your date your creative side. There are loads of places across the country where you can produce your own tempting treats. Melt Chocolates do a hands-on class for a minimum of two people at their Notting Hill store, so the pair of you can have an intimate experience. Or make decadent champagne truffles at a workshop run by I’d Like To Do That. When it’s over, you’ll have something tasty to share.
Make a meal of it
Chocolate tastes so good it’s a shame to restrict it to snack time. And with the health benefits well documented – not to mention its aphrodisiac properties – why not incorporate it into every course for a special romantic dinner? You could try a salad with cacao nibs, cranberries and goat’s cheese, followed by a classic Mexican chicken dish served with lashings of chocolate-spiked mole (that’s a type of sauce, if you didn’t know!). For dessert, there are all kinds of things you can go for, but you can’t go wrong with an oozing chocolate fondant pudding. Serve with a chocolate mocha martini and your impressed date will be only too pleased to help with the washing up.
To get your sweet fix without breaking the bank, take your date to the Chocolate Festival. Free to attend, it’s coming to four cities so you’ll never be far from the opportunity to sample goodies like artisan truffles and chilli chocolate. Top chocolatiers from across the UK will be on hand to give you the lowdown on different aspects of chocolate and how to taste it like a pro. Coming to Brighton, Oxford, London and Bristol at different dates in March and April.
Belgium is arguably home to the finest chocolate around, thanks to its top ingredients and traditional manufacturing techniques. If you’ve been together a while, whisk your date off to Brussels, where a visit to the Chocolate and Cocoa Museum will tell you all you need to know about the origins of this delightful delicacy. Tour some factories to see the master chocolatiers at work, and then stock up on treats to take home.