The average American adult consumes more than 11-and-a-half pounds of chocolate every year — and that’s just the average. Chocoholics, those passionate souls obsessed with the deep, sweet taste of the cocoa bean, notoriously overindulge in chocolate in all its wondrous forms and crave new exciting chocolate experiences as frequently as possible. While Belgium and Sweden might boast the world’s best chocolatiers, American chocoholics don’t need to cross the pond to find thrilling and fantastic chocolate confectionaries. On their travels throughout the U.S., chocoholics should look out for these famous and award-winning chocolate shops to sate their delicious addiction.
1. Ghirardelli Chocolate, California
There may be Ghirardelli stores around the country, but there is no better place to experience the delicacies produced by this famous chocolatier than in its hometown of San Francisco. Nestled in the aptly named Ghirardelli Square, the Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop provides everything a chocoholic could want: a tour of the chocolate-making process, a history of the iconic company, and tons upon tons of chocolate treats to sample. Ghirardelli produces countless varieties of its renowned squares, and you can assemble the perfect bagful at your leisure; additionally, you may choose to indulge in any of the decadent ice cream creations made fresh on-site. No matter what, a true chocoholic won’t leave Ghirardelli’s without a delicious bounty.
2. Hershey’s Chocolate World, Nevada
It would be remiss to call Hershey’s Chocolate World in Las Vegas a “chocolate shop” or “souvenir store” when in reality it can only be described as a chocolate wonderland on par with Willy Wonka’s. The country’s best-known chocolate producer gives chocoholics what they want most in this 13,000-square-foot, two-story warehouse, where more than 800 varieties of beloved Hershey’s candy are available for indulgence. What’s more, an in-store bakery supplies new, fresh sweets and treats every day. Two colossal chocolate monuments of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building are perfect for pictures, but unfortunately, not open for tasting.
3. See’s Candies, California
A box of See’s chocolates is a luxurious treat any time of year, so for a chocoholic, a visit to the very first See’s Candies kitchen and shop in Los Angeles is akin to a pilgrimage to Mecca. Though there are more than 200 See’s Candies around the United States, the original is full of history and culture; in fact, the city of L.A. was considering making the location a protected landmark back in 2009. While the store provides all the amenities of a regular See’s — world-class chocolates, unforgettable style — the profound importance of the site makes the store more than worth a visit.
4. Jacques Torres Chocolate, New York
This prominent chocolatier is ubiquitous in the city, with locations in the Village, Upper East and Upper West Sides, Rockefeller Center, and Grand Central. However, the famed French patissier (who perfected his art at no less than Le Cirque) started his business in a brick Brooklyn warehouse that still stands as a destination for chocoholics around the world. Jacques Torres is known for its simple and powerful flavor combinations that evoke strong feelings of nostalgia. With everything from the hot cocoa powder to the bon-bons made in-house, this factory, café, and store is delectably chic.
5. Lake Champlain Chocolates, Vermont
This lesser-known chocolatier takes inspiration from traditional chocolate masters in Belgium, but Lake Champlain Chocolates isn’t afraid to mix in recognizable elements of local flare. This bravery has brought them nationwide attention from food critics and chocoholics alike. For more than three decades, the sweets coming out of this shop have boasted complex flavors like maple, Vermont cream, and sweet butter, and the candy makers here never use preservatives or unnatural additives. Though chocolate seekers can find the widest variety of Lake Champlain treats in their store in Burlington, some national natural food grocery stores sell assortments of chocolates around the country.
6. Norman Love Confections, Florida
The chocolatiers who work for Norman Love Confections take pride in each and every sweet creation that comes out of their kitchen, which means chocoholics who visit this gourmet chocolate shop are treated to veritable works of culinary art. Candies and chocolates by Norman Love both look and taste extraordinary; vibrant colors and unusual shapes and textures make for a truly unique sweet experience every time. This chocolate kitchen loves experimenting with new and unexpected ingredients, so chocoholics are most likely to find the next greatest flavor combination here.