A day after this blog was posted the beloved Gene Wilder passed away. He was and is the one and only Willy Wonka. Mr Wilder’s portrayal of this beloved character will forevermore be in my heart. Thank you for enriching my childhood.
One of the many things I love most about my job is that it allows me to not only visit a handful of new cities every month but revisit old favourites. As cabin crew it provides me with a chance to meet people from all over the world and as a travel writer I adore peeling back layers of cities with every visit.
But with anything there are challenges…
Meeting people in Dubai when you’re constantly flying in and out of the Emirates is difficult #letsbehonest. I was fortunate enough a few weeks ago to meet a lovely man who was not only a refreshing positive ball of energy but was the brains/inspiration behind this blog. Knowing I was returning to Amsterdam I was a little stuck as to what to explore next but thank goodness for the men of this world who love their tucker! When I complained to him that I needed help brainstorming ideas for this blog he suggested a food journey through Amsterdam given the city is known for everything else other than gastronomical delights. And when I say “everything” we all know what I am referring to.
This suggestion was the spark I needed and having just completed a Netflix binge with both Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory… well you guessed it! My planned food adventure narrowed into a pilgrimage to find Amsterdam’s best chocolate. Thank you Ron for the inspiration. Though it lead to piling on some sugary pounds and later a gruelling gym session your advice lead to morning tea with the unbelievably generous owner of Urban Cacao and thus became one of my fondest travel memories. This blogpost is for you and all lovers of chocolate.
Tucked away in Amsterdam’s famous 9 Streets (locally know as De Negen Straatjes) are boutique stores, quirky cafes, vintage shops and Marc, the owner of Urban Cacao whose love of quality chocolate will break any diet you may be on. No matter how strong your will may be, the scent and sight of globally sourced chocolate will seduce you and within moments you will find yourself channelling your inner Verruca Salt by singing,
“I want the world. I want the whole world. I want to lock it all up in my pocket. It’s my bar of chocolate. Give it to me now!”
In other words leave the calorie counting at the door.
The experience is in one word, cosmopolitan. The cacao beans are sourced from South America, Africa and Asia. The Middle East is represented through their Iranian pistachios and if you find yourself munching on chocolate infused with almonds, thank Spain for those moments of crunchy deliciousness. In addition, dairy and eggs are of local origin, bars of chocolate represent countries north, south, east and west and the snozzberries taste like snozzberries!!! Quality, natural and sustainable ingredients combined with passionate craftsmanship is what sets Urban Cacao apart and for those chocolate connoisseurs amongst us you will surely taste the difference.
Be sure to drop in and sample my favourite pieces the mudcake plak and a bar or two of the caramel sea salt milk chocolate. Even if you don’t like chocolate but know someone that has a sweet tooth (or teeth) this is the place to purchase your gifts as the chocolate is traditionally produced mere streets away and given the assortment available appeals to a wide range of tastebuds. For those in need of a caffeine hit or a refreshing tea grab a warm beverage to accompany your sight seeing throughout the 9 Streets in particular the Amsterdam Belnd which was by far the best herbal concoction I have ever sampled.
Now for those like me who prefer to drink their calories like me (because I’ve convinced myself it’s less guilt) don’t leave town without trying the decadent hot chocolate!
This is the place to go on a warm summers day should you be screaming for ice cream as this little chocolate heaven extends its quality range to Italian gelato and delightful macarons. Marc informed me that the company used for their gelato has been in operation since 1956 and given they’ve had 70 years to perfect their product it shows the moment that creamy goodness hits your lips! Urban Cacao raises the bar when it comes to chocolate and ice cream and the only disadvantage when indulging at this establishment is that all your sweet fixes will be compared forevermore to their creations.
There are two things in our lives that make the world a better place: great people and even better chocolate. When these forces collide as they do at Urban Cacao your time in Amsterdam will be enriched. I certainly anticipate my next Dutch layover, having another chat with my new friend Marc and will proudly wear my Spanx after over indulging once again at Urban Cacao.
Thank you for all involved for what was a brilliant ‘treat’ day and in the wise words of Willy Wonka always remember, “We are the music makers. We are the dreamers of the dreams.”
*Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views. They do not represent the views of Emirates*