Chocolate and charity

How about a tour where all you have to do is pack your sweet tooth and a desire to make the world a little bit of a better place?

You've gone on a dig. You've done the kibbutz thing. You've floated in the Dead Sea and done photography tours, art tours and volunteered a few days with the IDF. So what's left when you or your family are looking for something new to do in Israel? How about a tour where all you have to do is pack your sweet tooth and a desire to make the world a little bit of a better place? That's exactly what's at the core of Adina Mishkoff's Chocolate at Heart, designed by a self-confessed chocoholic to provide a trip that may be sinfully delicious, but also offers a chance to do some important mitzvot along the way. The day-long tours combine visits to some of the chocolatiers mentioned here as well as others scoped out by Jerusalemite Mishkoff, who runs a capital-based catering service Taste of Talbieh Catering. But each tour also features at least one tzedaka project "that would be giving rather than just eating, fressing and taking," says Mishkoff. The idea came to Mishkoff and her partner in the business, Enid Moskowitz, who's from New York while they were hearing friends tell them one night of the specialty tours they'd been on and how they were hungering for something else. "Enid and I looked at each other at the same moment and said: 'Chocolate!'" recalls Mishkoff. "I'm a research librarian by training, so I went out and started doing the research and that's when I discovered to my shock and amazement - and this was over a year ago - that there are dozens of chocolate companies in Israel. We wanted to make it high-end, a little bit higher quality, and we also didn't want people to just sit and fress every day. We wanted it to be a little bit more giving back." While initially conceived as a multiple-day tour, logistics and other considerations led to Chocolate at Heart being retooled as one-day tours visiting either the Jerusalem area, the Coastal Plain or the North, but still what Mishkoff calls "Chocolate and Charity." So the Jerusalem region tour, for example, features a visit to a local cooking school for a tour of the shouk and a cooking class involving chocolate; a stint working at one of the capital's soup kitchens; a visit to the Eila Valley's Corinth Chocolates; a stop at Yad Binyamin to shop for bridal shower gifts; a stop at Ein Tzurim to meet the spokeswoman for Gaza evacuees living there and a visit to their store; and a return to Jerusalem to walk down Rehov Emek Refaim for dinner and ice cream and chocolate tastings. The visit up North features stops at the Kfar Tavor Marzipan Museum; picking fruit for the needy via the Table to Table program; a chocolate workshop at Kibbutz Ein Zivan, including distributing chocolate to soldiers at checkpoints, and another chocolate shop at the Gaida Farm at Kibbutz Deganya Bet. "I don't trust anyone who doesn't love chocolate," says Mishkoff, who was inspired by a New York City tour of chocolatiers that left her in seventh heaven. Asked for her own idea of the best chocolate experience she could imagine, she said: "An unlimited day of chocolate tasting - with no calories at the end of the day." For information: