Will travel for chocolate. Whether you’re a fan of biting into a piece of wonderfully nuanced, single-origin dark chocolate or prefer your chocolate milky, steaming in a cup, chocolate lovers know good chocolate is worth traveling for. These days, just as you would plan a trip around wine, beer or coffee you can plan a weekend away around chocolate. Here are 7 U.S. destinations made for a chocolate getaway where you can learn more about the production process, indulge, and see some sights. Think of it as your sweet tooth guiding your plans.
New York, New York
The city that never sleeps has a chocolate habit. Indulge in touristy favorites like Serendipity or Max Brenner but then plan on seeing how chocolate is actually made by taking a tour of Raaka Chocolate’s Red Hook factory where they turn beans into delicious bars. And for those that want to see as much of the city as possible while sampling as much chocolate as possible, there’s nothing better than a chocolate walking tour.
San Francisco, California
From chocolate beer to old-school classic chocolate, San Francisco has something for every type of chocolate lover. Iconic Ghirardelli Chocolate Company opened here in 1852 and today the square that bares its name and is home to its flagship location offers chocolate tastings as well as numerous other shops to explore. But after you’ve gotten a taste of the historic make sure to check out the up and coming small batch chocolate producers, such as Dandelion or, for those who want to drink their chocolate, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers’ chocolate milk stout is a must-try.
Tucked into northwestern Vermont, Burlington is a foodie paradise, especially for those that love chocolate. Head to the Lake Champlain Chocolates Factory Store for a free behind-the-scenes look at how chocolates are made. If you’re there on a Saturday, you can even join the free chocolate tasting seminar. Afterwards the small city is really your oyster, full of outdoor activities, lots of shopping, and delicious food; you’ll find it hard to return home from your weekend getaway.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Sin City may not be an obvious place for chocolate but Las Vegas is full of places for chocolate. Since 1981 people from around the globe have been coming to Ethel M for a taste of their liqueur-filled chocolates and almond butter crisps. Jean-Marie Auboine Chocolatier is a must-visit. The famous chocolatier produces dozens of chocolates in the French fashion. You want the Quessan, a caramel ganache with dark chocolate. Then there is Jean Philippe’s floor-to-ceiling cascading chocolate fountain at the Bellagio. Also in Las Vegas is the Sugar Factory Chocolate Lounge where you’ll feel like you’re in a real-life Willy Wonka factory.
The Pacific Northwest city is so much more than coffee. Start your chocolate weekend getaway in Seattle, at where else but Pike Place Market. The famous market is home to The Chocolate Box where you can learn how cacao beans are grown, and The Confectional, with its sweet and spicy hot chocolate and the bean-to-bar shop, Indi Chocolate. If after all that you’re still hungering for more chocolate, Theo Chocolate in the Fremont section of Seattle is worth a visit. The neighborhood spot was one of the first bean-to-bar chocolate companies to open in the U.S., and today offers 1-hour tours of its factory.
Check yourself into the Langham Hotel and you’ll find it hard to leave long enough to explore the city. The hotel is home to the Chocolate Bar, which has been whipping up every imaginable chocolate dish and then some, for more than 20 years. You don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to dine at the Chocolate Bar, but reservations, especially on the weekend, are recommended.
The Florida city has a surprising number of chocolate spots. Universal Orlando Resort is now home to every Harry Potter fan’s dream: a Hogsmeade’s candy hotspot Honeydukes. After you’ve caught and had that chocolate frog, head over the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium where those that like their chocolate in liquid form can order decadent milkshakes. Outside of Universal, the World Chocolate Museum is worth a visit. Iit’s impossible to not be impressed by the museum’s chocolate replicas of landmarks such as the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower, and more. No, you can’t eat them, but there is a gift shop full of chocolate to purchase.