Winter or summer, Lanark County has the perfect ‘cocoaventure’ in store for you. While the word cocoaventure may be made up, it’s one that perfectly relays the experience of combining rich, velvety chocolate with outdoor adventures in the natural paradise of Lanark County.
If you love chocolate more than – well, let’s face it, probably more than any other edible – you’re in good company. The attraction to chocolate is one that spans back more than 2,000 years (the word originates from the Aztec word, xocoatl), so it seems even ancient peoples were in love with this bittersweet delicacy.
In Lanark County, chocolate is serious business, where people are specializing in the production of the world renowned, dark and decadent chocolate. From Mississippi Mills to Lanark Highlands and Perth, let Lanark County’s chocolateries be your inspiration for a sweet and savoury day trip unlike any other.
Indulging your favourite addiction is a no-guilt activity here, because in Lanark County you can combine your passion for cocoa-inspired edibles with outdoor adventures like skating, snowshoeing, birdwatching and more, to burn off the calories from indulging in this sinful treat.
Almonte: Award-winning bean-to-bar chocolate and bird watching
Start your cocoaventure in Almonte, and explore the award-winning Hummingbird Chocolate Maker specializing in extra-rich, pure dark chocolate. Made in small batches, you can taste a variety of source-specific flavours, carefully curated by the world-travelled cacao experts who own and operate the shop.
Hummingbird was the dark horse in the international Academy of Chocolate competition in 2016, walking away with the coveted Golden Bean Award for their Hispaniola bar, and earning the reputation as the best bean-to-bar chocolate in the world.
Find out more about how chocolate is made, and book an informative – and delicious – tour at Hummingbird. Behind-the-scenes tasting tours take place on Saturday afternoons, but space is limited, and tickets must be reserved in advance.
While in Almonte, embrace the energy boost of chocolate and embark on a delightful bird-watching excursion with Gilligallou Bird Inc., the Eastern Ontario birding experts. During your outdoor trek, experienced guides will lead you to some of the best bird-watching spots in Almonte, and putting your chocolate indulgences to good use.
Just as Hummingbird specializes in pure chocolate, Gilligallou specializes in pure bird feed. If you enjoy treating our feathered friends, check out non-GMO and pesticide free bird feed, and enjoy happy visitors at your bird feeder as we help them through the Canadian climate.
Lanark Highlands: Swiss chocolate, snowshoeing and skiing
The charming village of Lanark has a lengthy history with chocolate-making; Lanark Village has been home to the well-known Village Treats Chocolates since 1979. Explore the small storefront right in the heart of Lanark, where they make chocolates from scratch using the same machinery as when the business began nearly 40 years ago!
Village Treats has a focus on incorporating local ingredients into their chocolate treats, and use real maple syrup and dairy products from throughout the Ottawa Valley. This is the place to go for holiday chocolates like Valentine’s Day, Easter, or Christmas, but you don’t need to wait for a holiday to savour their quality chocolate delicacies.
Complete your cocoaventure in Lanark Highlands with some snowshoeing or cross-country skiing at nearby Wheelers Maple Sugar Camp, where you can explore their network of wooded nature trails that are perfect for the novice or beginner. Trails range from the light and easy half-kilometre Halfway Trail to the 7-kilometre and rugged Maple Trail.
Don’t have snowshoes? No problem! Wheelers is happy to rent some for your outing. While you’re there, be sure to visit their Maple Heritage Museum, and explore the largest collection of maple syrup artifacts in the world.
Perth: Belgian chocolate and skating under the sun or stars
There is a new addition to the Lanark County chocolateries! Perth is now home to Perth Chocolate Works, a one-stop-shop for everything you need to satisfy your chocolate cravings. Using only the highest quality Belgian chocolate, their small-batch chocolate treats have taken decadent delights to a beautiful new level.
If you can make it with chocolate, Perth Chocolate Works probably has it in stock. Explore an assortment of truffles, chocolate barks, bars, cupcakes, toffee, popcorn and more. Be sure to try their Belgian Hot Chocolate, complete with whipped cream and chocolate shavings for the perfect chocolate indulgence.
Nothing works up an appetite for some rich, dark hot chocolate more than a wintry outdoor skating adventure. In Perth, you can enjoy outdoor skating on an outdoor rink at Conlon Farm, or explore the 400-metre skate trail through the woods at Perth Outfitters, across from Last Duel Park.
Perth Outfitters offers a quintessentially Canadian experience, with a warm log cabin, campfire, marshmallows, and even a shinny rink. Skate those chocolate calories away, or plan your day to skate first so you can indulge guilt-free.
If you’re up for a winter wonderland drive through scenic Tay Valley, you can also experience rural outdoor skating on an outdoor arena in Glen Tay at the Glen Tay Public School, or in Maberly at the Maberly Ice Rink on Bolingbroke Road.