Forrest Gump may have said that “life is like a box of chocolates,” but life would be much sweeter if it were spent eating a box of chocolates. And while faraway places like Belgium and Switzerland are renowned for their confections, there’s plenty of sweet, sweet goodness in the United States to satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth.
Hershey’s Chocolate World, Hershey, PA
Rumor has it that even the air in Hershey, Pennsylvania, smells like chocolate. We’re not sure if that’s true, but at the very least it is worth the trip to test the theory. Chocolate World offers free tours of the factory as well as paid experiences like chocolate tastings and the opportunity to create your own candy bar. Kids can meet and pose with their favorite confections, and the food court and gift shop are filled with all kinds of flavors you won’t find anywhere else. With outposts in NYC, Las Vegas, and Chicago, there’s plenty of opportunities to give in to your chocolate craving.
San Francisco, CA
There’s tons of delicious chocolate to be had in San Francisco, but you’ll have to make sure you eat it before it melts in the sun. Ghirardelli Square is home to America’s oldest continuously operating chocolate maker, Ghirardelli, opened in 1852. In addition of gourmet and luxury shops throughout the square, this location has an ice cream fountain and views of the wharf, including the sea lions. San Francisco is also Dandelion Chocolate where you can watch the company’s chocolate makers perform magic and turn cocoa beans into chocolate bars. Be sure to check the website as they offer tours, classes, and even lead trips to cacao farm.
Los Angeles, CA
While it’s a city known for being into fitness crazes and green juices, Los Angeles is also home to some very delicious chocolate creations. The flagship store of cult favorite See’s Candy opened in LA in the early 1920s and has since expanded to more than 200 locations across the United States. In Silver Lake, L’artisan du Chocolat is creating classic chocolates daily using traditional French techniques. They’ve also developed an avant-garde collection that includes unique flavors like Korean garlic, Kalamata olive, and Japanese red bean.
New York City
You’d be hard-pressed to find yourself with a craving that can’t be satisfied somewhere in New York City. And your sweet tooth is no exception. Li-Lac in the West Village is Manhattan’s oldest “chocolate house,” having opened in 1923. The respective chocolate empires built by Jacques Torres and Max Brenner have their flagships in the city, too. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can cross the river and check out the Mast Brothers artisan chocolate factory, which offers tours of the facilities every day.
Though relatively new in relation to some of the chocolatiers featured in this list, Theo Chocolate (started in 2006), is the first 100 percent organic and fair-trade chocolate manufacturer in the United States. The daily hour-long tours of the facilities cost ten dollars per person, but they include a chocolate tasting. Theo even offers a “Chocolate Story Time,” where for a slightly discounted price, you and your little one can experience a kid-friendly tour, chocolate treats, and get to hear the story of Molly and the Chocolate Tree, a tale written by one of the factory’s own tour guides.