Villajoyosa – Joy and Chocolate
Posted October 10, 2015on:
I love chocolate! Studies have proven that chocolate, in moderation, makes you happy and is actually good for you. So, when we took a bus trip to the colourful town of Villejoyosa, famous for its chocolate industry, I wasn´t surprised to learn that Villejoyosa means “joyful town”.
The day began with a stop at Finestrat, a small community where we enjoyed a stroll through the market and a cafe con leche (descafeinado for me) on the lovely beach.
Next stop, the Chocolate Museum!
Villejoyosa was the first city in Spain to export chocolate. In the nineteenth century, chocolate manufacturing was the main industry in town, boasting 39 factories. Of the three factories left, Valor is the largest. It was established in 1881 by Don Valeriano López Lloret who imported the cocoa beans from Ecuador and began producing chocolate. The factory is still operated by the fifth generation of the same family. Many of the old pieces of equipment are housed in the museum.
After watching a video explaining the process of making chocolate, we were led through a glassed in walkway overlooking the modern, clean and efficient factory. Valor chocolate is extremely popular in Spain and shipped all over the world. No photography is allowed in the factory.
There was no escaping the tempting aroma of chocolate as it was being mixed, placed in moulds and wrapped for shipping. Like an alcoholic visiting a brewery, I raced to the chocolate shop where we were treated to generous mouth watering samples. Before you ask, of course I purchased some to take home!
We returned to the main part of of this happy town for a nice lunch overlooking the beach. After all that chocolate and food, we took a walk past the brightly painted houses along the beach and overlooking the river. The story is that many years ago the houses were painted different colours in order for each fisherman to be able to identify their house as they approached by sea.
Whether the town is called “joyful village” because of the brightly painted houses or the connection to chocolate, I´m not sure. I did, however, leave very happy I visited this cheerful place.
We journeyed on to a castle in Alicante which I will tell you about in the next post.
What is your favourite type of chocolate?