Is chocolate good for you? Researchers, conducting highly scientific studies, have found chocolate beneficial in preventing a plethora of ailments including cancer, stroke and heart disease. But Spot Cool Stuff has a more simple theory:
If it makes you smile, it’s health food.
In honor of National Smile Month—and to the dismay of dentists everywhere—here’s our look at 12 wonderful chocolate shops. We hesitate calling them the “best” chocolate shops given how there are easily 60 or more stores that we could have included on this list. All the shops we did include are superlative in some way.
Note that this overview is a companion piece to our equally dentist-horrifying review of the world’s best candy shops.
If you think dessert is the best part of a meal, check out our review of the world’s best chocolate shops.
If you think dessert should be the only part of a meal, head to Tokyo, Japan and check out The 100% Chocolate Cafe.
But don’t let the name fool you. The 100% Chocolate Cafe isn’t exclusively a cafe where every menu item involves chocolate. It’s also a store — where every item for sale involves chocolate. And there’s also a street-side walk-up window — exclusively for chocolate.
The cupcake ATM has its own Twitter account with over 1,800 followers
In the Los Angeles area, there’s something even better than money that you can get out of an automated teller machine: cupcakes!
At the Sprinkles Cupcake shop in Beverly Hills, California there’s a public, street-side ATM that provides access to gourmet cupcakes 24 hours a day.
There’s no other bicycle shop in the world where you have to give serious thought to your wardrobe before visiting.
The best bike shops in the world do more than sell and fix bicycles. They fill you with a sort of enthusiastic energy that makes you want to get out there and pedal.
There are lots of great community bicycle stores out there, too many for us to declare the six we feature below to be the absolute best. But each one is superlative in its own way:
Welcome to the Chrome Zone.
That’s not the title of a science fiction movie (that we know of). It’s what you’ll hear when you walk into Google’s first retail store1. It’s located not in the vacinity of Google’s California headquarters, as one might expect, but across the pond in London.
The store is named such because its featured product is the Google Chromebook notebook computer. (The notebook computers are named such because they run the Chrome operating system.)
Reportedly, Google is modeling their retail strategy after Apple. Some of the larger, flashier Apple stores have become destinations in themselves. Go to their store in Shanghai or on Fifth Avenue in New York City, for example, and you’ll see tourists from the world over snapping photos of themselves in front of large, glass-encased Apple logos. So how does the Chrome Zone in London compare to those cool shopping experiences?
South Korea is the second-hardest working country in the world1. All those hours at the office don’t leave much time for food shopping. So when England-based grocery store chain Tesco (called Homeplus locally) wanted to expand their market share in the Korean capital they looked to a place that the residents of Seoul already had idle time to pick out their foodstuffs—on the platform of subway stations while waiting for trains.
The problem is that subway platforms have no room for full-fledged supermarkets (or even quarter-fledged supermarkets). So Homeplus went virtual. They put up backlit posters with grocery items displayed on shelves as they would be in a real store.
The Ottoman Empire may conjure up images of elaborately mustached men decked out in fez hats while women recline seductively behind floaty veils in the sultan’s harem, but there is much more to this exotic empire than first meets the eye. At the height of its might, Ottoman territories expanded across the three continents of Europe, Asia and Africa. Istanbul, known then as Constantinople, was wrestled from the hands of the Byzantines in 1453 and remained the capital of the Empire until its end in 1923. Situated on three bodies of water with a literal treasure chest of historical gems, the Ottomans further capitalized on Istanbul’s breathtaking beauty to ensure it maintained its reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
Although Istanbul has modernized at a startlingly rapid pace, some of the most glorious remnants of its past are everywhere to be seen. From centuries-old wooden mansion hotels to ancient shopping malls, mosques, palaces, bathhouses and much, much more, it’s possible to spend some time in Istanbul shopping, eating, praying, relaxing and sleeping much like the Ottomans did!
This store is as close as you can get to a real-life Willy Wonka experience without wrangling some umpa lumpas and opening a shop yourself
Travelers with a sweet tooth weakness, do not proceed any further in this post. What follows is Spot Cool Stuff’s selection of the 6 most interesting-looking, diabetes-inducing candy stores. A trip to any one for these shops (well, except for the last one) is likely to result in a sugar overdose. Ye be warned.
Note: These are all primarily candy stores. We’ve reviewed our favorite chocolate stores in a separate post.