Chocolate Therapy in the English Countryside

I discovered a wonderful gem in the English countryside, about an hour out of London. The Vineyard at Stockcross (, in Newbury, Berkshire, offered me the most decadent spa treatment I've had anywhere. The ChocoTherapy Facial was special because, well, it's all about chocolate. But what really sets it apart from other similar treatments is that chocolate surrounds all of your senses — not just your skin.

The spa room was welcoming, with a gorgeous painting of a sea nymph on the ceiling above me. After a relaxing full back massage, during which time I could smell chocolate simmering in the room, it was time for my facial. I was already relaxed and thinking about my wonderful afternoon. I had no idea it was going to get even better.

Spa at Vineyard, Stockcross. Photo courtesy Vineyard, Stockcross

Spa at Vineyard, Stockcross. Photo courtesy Vineyard, Stockcross

We started the treatment with a frothy chocolate and vanilla milkshake foam on my face. Ah…the smells of chocolate and vanilla were almost as good as the smooth strokes on my face. After carefully washing my face, the therapist touched my shoulder and told me she had a treat for me. I opened my eyes just a slit as she popped a lovely chocolate truffle into my mouth. Heaven.

But it got better. The next step was an exfoliating mask made from grape must, lavender honey and a textured chocolate. Again, these comforting aromas wrapped me in a familiar yet decadent cloak. The therapist followed the exfoliating scrub with yet another treat — this time a thin chocolate orange wafer. Now I was certain I'd died and gone to heaven. Chocolate heaven.

The therapist then moved her angel fingers (I was in heaven after all) around my face, caressing a gentle tiramisu serum made from Arabian coffee over my now-silken skin. She followed that with a milk chocolate anti-aging mask that blended essential oils with warm chocolate.

I was dozing a bit, letting the smell of chocolate surround me, when the therapist whispered that she would give me time to relax (was it possible to be MORE relaxed?) and be back in a few minutes. I spent the next 15 minutes or so floating somewhere in dream land. A dream land filled with chocolate and tiramisu and the English countryside.

Finally, the lovely young woman re-emerged and gently wiped away the chocolate, leaving me feeling completely satisfied. But she wasn't finished. She gently propped me up and handed me a small cup filled with the softest whipped white chocolate mousse. Oh yes, this was definitely paradise.

After finishing off the mousse (and I'm sure I was purring), I snuggled into my thick terry robe and padded back to a gorgeous suite overlooking the gardens. Where I found even more chocolate. Waiting there in my room was a small plate of fresh chocolates, luscious strawberries and the sweetest little raspberries I'd ever eaten. I felt as if I'd spent the afternoon with the gods. And what a way to go…

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Written by Susan Lanier-Graham

Founder and publisher Susan Lanier-Graham has traveled the world for the past twenty years, filling a passport or two along the way. She has wandered through the jungles of Thailand, explored the mysteries of the Great Pyramids, and shared the night with a leopard in Zambia. She sailed in the Mediterranean, sipped her way through Burgundy canals and Champagne caves. She followed Rembrandt’s footsteps through Amsterdam. Susan found her center on the red rocks of Sedona and soaked up an exquisite sunset over the Indian Ocean in Bali. Susan is always looking for wow moments around the world or across the street to share with adventure lovers everywhere. She has authored more than 75 books and hundreds of magazine articles. Susan is an award-winning travel writer and member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA). She is a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). Susan's work still regularly appears in print and online. Susan is an award-winning travel writer, a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and is a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). Susan has worked as an ambassador for Travelocity and is currently a travel ambassador for Rocky Mountaineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online in a variety of publications. These include various AAA publications, Postcards for Travel Leaders,,,, So Scottsdale, Uptown, Green Living AZ, Life Refined, Modern Luxury,, WHERE Arizona, WHERE Traveler Phoenix + Scottsdale, and more.

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1 Comment

  1. Susan


    I want to be at this spa now. This moment. With chocolate on my face, in my mouth, and up my nose. (Okay, that sounds gross, but you know what I mean.)

    Next time I’m in England…I’m SO there!


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