Eating & Drinking

12 Divine Chocolate Shops

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.

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Luxury, Romance, Nature—and Pod Dinning

The Eco-Villa is made from locally sourced materials, is powered by renewable energy and features a private natural swimming pool that uses plants to clean the water.

Spot Cool Stuff has reviewed a pod bed, a pod ski resort and a pod treehouse hotel. But this is our first ever pod restaurant.

And what an amazing location our first pod restaurant is blessed with: on the grounds of the gorgeous “six star” Soneva Kiri beach resort located on Thai island of Ko Kood.

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3 Obviously True Travel Facts That Are Wrong

Everything you know about travel is wrong . . . . . or, at least, it could be wrong. Anyone who travels often enough, and daringly enough, has surely already discovered this. Pre-travel, you might believe that herds of cows don’t roam cities, that money comes only in paper and metal form, that the health of one’s father is not connected to one’s choice of footwear. Then you travel to India and step into (and, occasionally, onto) its bovine urban environment, or go to Yap where purchases are made with large rock slabs, or visit Madagascar and discover fady. (Don’t know about fady? Read on).

This is one of the true joys of travel—to shatter expectations and expand the realm of what’s possible.

In many ways, the entire travel channel of Spot Cool Stuff is dedicated to the surprising aspects of travel. For some clear examples, look through our unusual hotel reviews.

In honor of the official Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong Day, March 15th, we bring you a special post about three travel destinations—one country, one city and one restaurant—where you’ll discover that what you were certain was right is, in fact, wrong.

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The World’s Only Pub
That’s Inside a Tree

The Big Baobab Bar has everything you'd find in a traditional British pub (except more ants).

Sometimes the name of a pub describes exactly what it is. So it is with the Big Baobab Bar in Limpopo Province, South Africa.

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Experience Istanbul Like an Ottoman

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!

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Bangkok’s Robot Restaurant

The day may come when machines overthrow the human race and our robot overlords force us mortals to serve at their will. Until then, we can suggest going for a meal at the Hajime Robot Restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.

At the Hajime robots not only serve food to customers but also dance for them. (This makes the Hajime Robot Restaurant is the only establishment in Bangkok that has a tagline promising to “serve your every need” and that features dancing waiters and that’s also child-friendly).

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The World’s Best Candy Stores

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.

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Hamburg’s Man-dergarten

If it turns out that all you really need to know you didn’t learn in kindergarten then you can always try learning it at Maennergarten.

At least you could if you are an adult male in Northern Germany

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