If you're a chocoholic looking for an excuse to indulge, today is your day.

World Chocolate Day takes place on July 7 and there are plenty of ways to celebrate – whether that's cracking opening a block of Whittaker's at home, or sampling decadent truffles in Belgium.

It's believed to be the day on which chocolate was introduced to Europe in 1550.

With recent research from Booking.com finding that 39 per cent of Kiwi travellers pick a destination for its great food and drink, what better time to plan a trip to truly indulge that sweet tooth?

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For a bit of inspiration, we've put together a list of the world's greatest chocolate destinations.

Germany

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When German businessmen bought the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant in The Simpons, they referred to their home country as "the Land of Chocolate" – sending Homer into a sweet fantasy of chocolate houses, paths, rivers, rabbits and dogs.

While the buildings aren't actually made of chocolate, it's not far from the truth. Chocolate is plentiful in Germany and Cologne is a particular sweet spot. The city is home to the Stollwerk chocolate company and was once the second-largest supplier of chocolate to the US. For its 150th anniversary, the company opened an interactive chocolate museum – which includes a neverending chocolate fountain that's bound to get your mouth watering.

Switzerland

The Swiss Chocolate Train. Photo / Reid Pinkham
The Swiss Chocolate Train. Photo / Reid Pinkham

While Germany might be the Land of Chocolate, its neighbours over the border might just dispute that. Though they'd be far too diplomatic to point it out. Switzerland is home to some of the world's most famous chocolate brands – think Lindt, Toblerone, Milka and Nestle.

For an experience that's as close to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as you can get – minus the unfortunate mishaps – head to the chocolate-centric town of Broc. Start at Montreux and board the Swiss Chocolate Train – a 1915 Pullman train car that will take you on a round trip to the Nestlé's Maison Cailler factory in Broc. Here you can take a tour of the factory and sample all the creamy goodness you can handle. As a bonus, you'll also visit the Gruyères cheese factory along the way.

Belgium

Belgian is famous for its many chocolate shops. Photo / Getty Images
Belgian is famous for its many chocolate shops. Photo / Getty Images

Another European destination vying for the title, Belgium is home to some of the finest chocolatiers in the world, with over 2000 in the country. Visit Brussels for a taste of the best – there's so many shops and cafes, you won't have to walk far for the next delicious stop. If you're keen to find out more about how they do it, visit Chocolaterie Duval or Chocolaterie Jamart and explore the chocolate-making process.

There are a variety of chocolate tours on offer in Brussels, with a chance to taste-test to your hearts content while learning more about the history of the area. And for the best of both worlds, The Brussels Journey hosts a tour that combines the two treasures of Belgium – that's beer and chocolate.

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Ecuador

Workers in Equador sort cacao beans by quality and size before exporting for chocolate production. Photo / Getty Images
Workers in Equador sort cacao beans by quality and size before exporting for chocolate production. Photo / Getty Images

If there's one chocolate festival to add to your bucket list, you better believe it's Salon de Chocolate in Quito. Ecuador produces more high-quality chocolate than any other country in the world, so this is the perfect place to experience tastings and shop up a storm.
Salon de Chocolate takes place annually in June and over 15,000 visitors arrive in Quito to get a taste of the chocolatey goodness.

If you're really keen to get back to the source, you can also visit the estates where cocoa is grown. Located just outside of the city of Guayaquil, Hacienda Canas is one of the largest you can visit, with over 800 acres of cocoa farms.

Stay in the quirky Masaya Hostel Quito, while exploring the capital city of Ecuador. Close to popular landmarks and an array of well-known restaurants serving up Latin American cuisine, chocolate will be the perfect after-dinner treat!

New South Wales

Satisfy that chocolate craving with an old-school 'Choccy Crackle' – at Zokoko in Emu Heights. There's something special about that crunchy, sweet, chocolaty taste that takes you back to your childhood, but if crackles aren't your thing, Zokoko is also famous for their rich chocolate bars made from heirloom cacao. Zokoko has been named 'Favourite Chocolatier' by the Good Food Guide, making this Aussie gem a must try.

Located just a quick 20-minute drive away from Australia's chocolate expert, Spicers Sangoma Retreat is a secluded hideaway that offers a relaxing getaway. Hidden amidst Australia's bush land, this retreat hosts a luxurious pool, a top rating restaurant and five-star luxurious rooms where guests can enjoy those sweet treats.

Sydney is also home to plenty of top chocolate shops to taste your way around. Be sure to visit Kakawa in King's Cross, where the glorious scents will hit you as you walk in. The shop doubles as a chocolate factory, so you know it hasn't travelled far. The chocolate/peanut butter squares a particular highlight.

New York

Jacques Torres is known as Mr Chocolate. Photo / Getty Images
Jacques Torres is known as Mr Chocolate. Photo / Getty Images

New York is home to Jacques Torres Chocolate - also known as Mr. Chocolate. Jacques Torres is famous for his ice-cream sandwiches and delicious homemade cookies. If you're visiting this iconic city, be sure to stop by and experience a truly artisan experience where Jacques transforms cocoa beans into a rich handmade delicacy. One of the most famous items on the menu is the hot chocolate – it's rich and creamy and goes down particularly well with one of his incredible chocolate chip cookies. There are several locations around NYC, including DUMBO, the Upper West Side and Grand Central Station.

Just a short drive from Jacques Torres first café in Brooklyn, East Village Apartments are the definition of comfort and style. Located within walking distance from the iconic Soho and Greenwich Village, these historic brownstone Manhattan apartments feature fully equipped kitchens and are just a short stroll from Washington Square Park.

Samoa

Cacao beans drying in the sun at Palauli, Western Samoa, circa 1955. Photo / Getty Images
Cacao beans drying in the sun at Palauli, Western Samoa, circa 1955. Photo / Getty Images

You might not expect it, but in the Pacific, you can find some of the rarest cocoa in the world. Said to be introduced to Samoa in the 1800, the cocoa here is a Criollo and Trinitario variety first planted on German plantations. It's so important to the country that the crop has been protected by law since 1961 and it's forbidden to import any other live cocoa product. It's most commonly made into Koko Samoa, a hot chocolate that rivals Vailima as the national drink of choice.

If you're keen to bring the taste of the islands back home, Wilex Samoa sells traditional Koko Samoa, as well as a premium brand of chocolate called Koko Loa. It can be purchased direct from Wilex Samoa, the Sheraton Samoa and selected stores.