Spot Cool Stuff loves finding good bakeries on our travels. Spontaneously coming across one while exploring a village or city neighborhood can make an ordinary walk special. But some bakeries are special in their own right and worth purposefully seeking out — either for the quality of their baked goods or for their interior design or for the atmosphere of being there or for some combination of all those.
Below is our review of eight such bakeries. We hesitate calling them the “best,” since the world has many bakeries and we’ve only been to a relatively small handful. But each of our selections has something superlative feature that’s well worth a detour if you are traveling nearby.
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.
Have you ever been to a really amazing wedding reception that turned into an epic party? Exactly 201 years ago this October, the German Prince Ludwig the First married Princess Therese and afterwards hosted exactly such a celebration. It was so memorable that the attendees wanted to relive it every year. That desire spawned the annual alcohol-filled party known today as Oktoberfest.
Happily for lovers of celebrations and beer, Oktoberfest has very much spread beyond Germany in the last two centuries. Here’s Spot Cool Stuff’s roundup of a few great places to enjoy the occasion outside of Europe. Our selection of Oktoberfests span the globe and are attended by people across the spectrum of race, religion and political affiliation. We see it as proof that one of man’s most universal and fundamental desires is to have fun — while guzzling beer and wearing lederhosen.
Bathe in whipped chocolate milk while basking in the glow of Tootsie Roll-flavored candles and breathing in brownie scented steam.
Chocolate is romantic. Taking a candlelit bath with your special someone is romantic. So what could be more romantic than spending time with your special someone while bathing in chocolate?
It’s that sort of flawless logic that has Spot Cool Stuff writing a review of the world’s best chocolate spas. We found three spots in particular—one each in Switzerland, the United States and Japan—where you’ll want to go to experience the world’s best chocolate baths.
So, what’s it like to bathe in chocolate? you might be asking.
Contrary to what you might imagine, it isn’t like this . . .
The world’s highest tower is now in Japan. The recently-completed Tokyo Skytree rockets up a breathtaking 634 meters† (2,080 ft) above the Japanese capital. And now visitors can go up and check out the view.
How high is 634 meters? It’s twice the height of the Eiffel Tower. On a clear, day you can have lunch in the Skytree’s lower observation area and gaze out—way out—to Mt. Fuji on the horizon. From the upper observation deck you can distinctly see the curvature of the planet!
San Francisco, London and Dubai are among the surprisingly large number of cities that have a drinking establishment named the “Buddha Bar.” But there’s only one pub we know of where all the bartenders are full-fledged Buddhist monks—Vow’s Bar in Tokyo.
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.
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.