Six Spanish towns with a chocolate tradition to discover by motorhome


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Cocoa, ‘food of the gods’ that gave men strength and vigor, had to travel a long way to reach Europe: its seeds and recipe were sent by Friar Jerome de Aguilar from the territory that today corresponds to Mexico. The first chocolate made in Europe was then prepared in the Monasterio de Piedra, an old Cistercian building located in the Zaragoza town of Nuévalos in 1534. Although its preparation has changed over time, since it initially had medicinal uses and was consumed bitter, The truth is that Spain is the land of great master chocolatiers. It is not difficult to find century-old chocolate shops and bakeries where you can enjoy a delicious cake or drink hot chocolate, and
Yescapa
, the leading motorhome and camper van rental platform, offers us a route to discover by motorhome some of the most chocolatier Spanish towns:

Astorga (Leon): The relationship of the Leonese town with chocolate is long-standing. It was in the 16th century when Hernán Cortés returned to the peninsula from America and established cocoa as part of his daughter’s marriage dowry. Although the link never takes place, since then the chocolate industry begins to develop, counting by 1914 with more than 49 chocolate factories. Currently, Astorga has five important chocolate factories: La Maragatina, La Cepedana, Peñín, Santocildes and El Arriero Maragato. Most of them have shops in the city where you can buy their creations and taste a delicious hot chocolate. Such is the importance of this industry in Astorga that it has a ‘Museum of Chocolate’, a place where those with a sweet tooth can learn in detail about its history and other curiosities.

Astorga Chocolate Museum
Astorga Chocolate Museum

Molina de Aragon (Guadalajara): In addition to being a town famous for registering some of the lowest temperatures in the country in winter, the Parador de Santa Rita rural house is located in this town of just over 3,000 inhabitants. There, under the ‘La Cadena’ brand, the Iturbe family has been making its own artisanal chocolate since 1900. To this day, this family with a great chocolate tradition is the only one that produces chocolate in the province of Guadalajara in an artisanal way and with the same machines that their ancestors used. Declared a Historic-Artistic Site since 1964, a visit to Molina de Aragón is the perfect opportunity to get lost in the historic and picturesque corners of this medieval town.

Agramunt (Lleida): In Lérida we find another medieval town, this time located in the Lleida region of Urgel, which, in addition to having an important cultural legacy such as the Church of Santa María or the Pilar de Almenara tower, has the peculiarity of being the town where the oldest chocolate in the world is produced. Since 1770, the Jolonch chocolate factory has been dedicated to the artisanal production of chocolate, especially stone-baked chocolate, considered an indigenous variety of this town. The company, which has continued from generation to generation, makes chocolate directly from the cocoa bean that is selected, roasted with oak firewood and stone ground, a process that gives the chocolate a unique flavor and texture. If you decide to visit Agramunt, in the center of the town you will find the Jolonch Chocolateria, where in addition to being able to taste its elaborations, you can visit the factory to observe how the cocoa is roasted in a wood-fired oven.

Villajoyosa (Alicante): Located on Alicante’s Costa Blanca, this fishing village, in addition to having some of the best beaches in the province and being a place to visit for lovers of ‘slow travel’; It is a must visit place for chocoholics. And it is that Villajoyosa, with its characteristic colored houses, smells of the sea, but above all of chocolate, thanks to the large number of factories housed in the town. Chocolates Valor, Chocolates Marcos Tonda, Chocolates Clavileño or Chocolates Pérez are some examples. Take advantage of your stay to take a guided tour of one of its chocolate museums and see the evolution of the production processes, but also to stroll through the historic-artistic ensemble of the old town, declared an Asset of Cultural Interest.

Villajoyosa
Villajoyosa

Duenas (Palencia): The history of the municipality of Dueñas in Palencia is indisputably linked to chocolate: it was in San Isidro de Dueñas where the first chocolate in Spain was made, more than fifty years ago. For this we go back to the beginnings of Chocolates Trapa in 1891, when the monks settled in the Trappist monastery of San Isidro de Dueñas. The chocolate company, for its part, was established in 1964, when the Cistercian order decided to sell the factory, with all its old formulas for the production and treatment of cocoa. Considered by many to be the most important monastery in the province of Palencia, San Isidro de Dueñas, also known as the Monastery of La Trapa, is a jewel of Romanesque architecture in Palencia.

Monastery of San Isidro de Dueñas Town Hall of Dueñas
Monastery of San Isidro de Dueñas Town Hall of Dueñas

Munilla (La Rioja): Although this municipality of just over 100 inhabitants in La Rioja does not currently have any chocolate factory in operation, this town has a chocolate past that deserves to be remembered. And it is that in the middle of the 19th century, when it was still an isolated town and without close access to the train, Munilla had eight chocolate factories that stood out for their high production and for their many international awards.

Munilla, in La Rioja
Munilla, in La Rioja

Las Vargas or El Pilar are a good example of this. Although there are few vestiges of the factories, the town offers options for cultural tourism and nature, such as the Church of San Miguel from the 14th century and its valuable altarpiece from 1622, the work of Gabriel Pinedo; the Sierras de la Hez or the Santiago beech forest.

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