The Rhône: Tain-l’Hermitage, Valrhona’s Cité du Chocolat

Les Grands Crus–chocolate at a higher level

With Wanderlust in the paint shed we embarked on a three-country road trip that led in the end to a return stop at Tournon-sur-Rhône in May of 2018. Across the Rhône from Tournon is Tain-l’Hermitage. Near the river on the Tain side is Valrhona’s Cité du Chocolat.

Valrhona’s Cité du Chocolat is essentially a discovery museum for the company’s chocolate brand. Displays inside describe the history of Valrhona and the steps in sourcing and producing the company’s chocolate. It is reasonably well done and informative. Undoubtedly the Cité du Chocolat is a must-see destination for chocoholics.

Pampero, a vinyl chloride carrier, heads down the Rhône between Tain and Tournon.

With the admission price comes access to numerous free chocolate samples. Despite the glitzy displays and the numerous types of chocolate available I didn’t find a type of chocolate that I particularly cared for. Valrhona would likely to be disappointed to hear that a visitor came away from the Cité du Chocolat with the conclusion that he didn’t really much like Valrhona’s chocolate, but so it was. It was not for the lack of trying.

As is often the case with museums, the route through Cité du Chocolat exits through the gift shop. If you didn’t get enough chocolate from the displays inside you can get even more from the free sample bins in the shop. Indeed, those uninterested in the art behind the confection can go directly to the gift shop and try for free more chocolate samples than is healthy.

Bins of samples in the Valrhona’s Cité du Chocolat’s gift shop

A few too many

By the time I reached the gift shop I had enough chocolate. Becky didn’t. The effectively bottomless bins of chocolate wafers were irresistible to her. If I hadn’t acted quickly and physically removed her from the shop she would undoubtedly been left in a quivering mass on the floor, a victim of a nasty chocolate overdose.

Death by chocolate: It’s not pretty.

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