ORLANDO, Fla. - Anyone can stock a stuffing with chocolate goodies, but how about giving the gift of a chocolate tour - which also promises tastes of the delicious treat?
Spend time learning about the history of chocolate and how it's produced; sampling unique treats; and admiring chocolate masterpieces during two Orlando area tours: one at Chocolate Kingdom and the other at Chocolate Museum & Cafe.
If you're looking for a family-friendly tour that will get children entertained with a fairy tale plot, consider Chocolate Kingdom, where guests follow Prince George the Good and Meechu on their quest to make a pair of chocolate shoes for the princess of Chocolate Kingdom.
"We really wanted to make chocolate fun, and whether you're 2 or 102, we wanted you to feel like a kid in a candy store when you walked out," said Aileen Mand, Chocolate Kingdom's chief chocolate chick.
For a more adult tour, check out Chocolate Museum & Cafe, where guests not only learn about the history of chocolate but also take a gander at the largest collection of retired chocolate equipment in the United States, marvel at chocolate sculptures - such as the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower - made from cocoa paste that stand up to 6 feet tall and sample a variety of chocolate from around the globe.
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"We have so many things you can do here: You can do the tour. You can just stay here and drink coffee or have cake or just do the wine and chocolate pairing ... also you can have lunch - we have nice paninis," said Susan Mora, chocolatier and manager of the cafe.
And on the way out from either of these tours, you can explore the gift shop and pick up some chocolate goodies to-go.
- Chocolate Kingdom: Tours take place on the hour from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily at 9901 Hawaiian Court in Orlando. $16.95 for adults and $12.95 for ages 4-12; 407-705-3475; chocolatekingdom.com
- Chocolate Museum & Cafe: Tours are offered on the hour from 12-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday at 11701 International Drive, Suite 400, in Orlando. $16.95 for adults, $12.95 for kids, seniors and military and free for ages 3 and younger. 407-778-4871; wocorlando.com