Do you love chocolate? Not just like chocolate. Are you obsessed with roasted and ground cacao seeds? Can you not imagine going a day without eating the sweet treat? If that’s the case, Slovenia is your next trip.
Slovenia doesn’t sound like the chocolate capital. Most of the world’s beans come from West Africa (the Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana), Southeast Asia (Indonesia), or South America (Brazil). The small, Central European country is pretty far from all of them. That doesn’t mean Slovenes don’t enjoy their chocolate. A Trappist monastery began making chocolate there at the end of the 19th century. Slovenes quickly discovered their sweet tooth. They even have a chocolate resort now.
Teta Frida is a chocolate factory in Maribor, Slovenia’s second-largest city. It produces sustainable, handcrafted chocolate just south of the Austrian border. The factory also has a chocolate cafe and shop in Limbuš, a small town just a few miles to the west. It makes the air smell sweet along the Drava, one of the Danube’s longest tributaries. Last fall, a small resort opened on the south bank of the river. It offers chocolate amenities, breakfasts, pairings, spa treatments, tastings, and workshops. It’s absolute heaven for chocoholics.
Chocolate Village by the River is a glamping resort. It lies about 90 minutes northeast of Ljubljana, Slovenia’s green capital city. It’s also just a few miles from Maribor Pohorje (Slovenia’s largest ski area) and three hours from Vienna. So it’s a perfect road trip.
When you arrive at the resort, you find fire pits on the lawn and ducks on the river. A welcome pack from the reception desk corresponds to the three types of Lushna cabins on the property. Each cabin, whose color scheme is based on rich brown, is named after a different kind of cocoa. Two-story Forastero Houses have panoramic windows, small kitchens, and large terraces. Trinitario Houses add private fireplaces and jacuzzis. While Criollo Cabins, named after the rarest type of cocoa, are stilted, treehouse-style rooms with unique beds. You’re staying in one of those.
Inside your cabin, you notice the usual robe and slippers. The other amenities aren’t as common. Chocolate toothpaste, soap, and shampoo are in the bathroom. Chocolate-flavored gin sits beside beer in the complimentary minibar. There are more chocolate samples on the table, too. Breakfast will be delivered in a large, lodge-shaped box in the morning. You can opt for a traditional Slovenian spread (based on ingredients from local farms), a healthy option (lots of fresh fruit), or a chocolate alternative (chocolate cheese and sausage).
Then you’re off for the day’s adventures. Even if they don’t involve chocolate, be sure to cap it off with a soak in the Finnish sauna (it’s also in a treehouse) and hot chocolate around one of the fire pits. This is sure to be the sweetest trip you take all year.