On a recent trip to Norway, I left the Art Nouveau town of Alesund by boat to cruise through the spectacular fjords. The boat took me to the town of Oye where I boarded a bus for travel to a ferry. Along the way we stopped to allow a herd of sheep time to cross the road - not that I minded.
On board the ferry the cruising continued past more waterfalls than I could count streaming down steep mountains topped with blue glaciers. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking.
Just before reaching Geiranger where I would have a free afternoon to explore, a wooden boat full of rowdy Vikings and delighted tourists paddled by waving and shouting.
All in all it was a magical morning and I couldn't imagine any possible way the experience could be any better - until I started my stroll around the lovely little town.
There it stood at the water's edge - a little brown wooden building, its rooftop sprouting grass - set against the dramatic backdrop of the Geirangerfjord. The sign read "Geiranger Sjokolade - Chocolate with a view" - they weren't kidding.
Inside the delicous aroma of chocolate permeated the air. A spattering of three or four wooden tables and a nook with comfy sofas were filled with tourists sampling the sweets and sipping hot cocoa as they soaked in the postcard views through the windows.
Fjordnear Geiranger Sjokolade produces decadent chocolates from local raw ingredients inspired by the Norwegian fjords and mountains. The little wooden shop is actually a converted boathouse - the first to house a chocolate factory.
The chocolates are made on site at a tiny little chocolate factory on the fjord side of the building. I walked around to peek through the glass windows of the factory where the chocolate magic happens.
The flavors were incredible. I sampled handmade chocolates filled with brown cheese (a Norwegian specialty), blue cheese, Arctic berries and Aquavit - Norway's liquid spirit treasure. I loved them all!
I visited with tourists from around the world including a lovely family from South Africa who had found the perfect spot to sip their cocoa in clear view of a cascading waterfall. The employees enthusiastically shared their favorite flavors with me and their home countries. Some were from Norway, another Sweden, another France and also Scotland. It was truly an international chocolate incident!
Chocolate is always a favorite, but this delicious chocolate in this spectacular setting ranks right up there with one of my all time favorite chocolate experiences. If Norway's powerful natural wonders and jawdropping scenery aren't enough to entice you to visit, just do it for the chocolate!