Bungee jumping? Scuba diving? We've all got a bucket list, but not all worthy items require an adrenaline rush. Some of the most life-changing moments just might be waiting on a plate—or a very messy napkin—at a bakery in your future. For the real chocolate devotees, it's not a culinary life fully lived without these five over-the-top, yet oh-so-necessary sweets. Pack your bags and ready your tastebuds!
Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, Serendipity 3, New York
Photo courtesy of @serendipity3nyc
When I was a kid, my mom promised that we could have dessert for dinner if we walked the whole way there. So, naturally, we walked 50 blocks up to Serendipity 3 and celebrated with one of the most amazing desserts I’ll ever have in my lifetime. The restaurant and dessert icon is a New York landmark well worth the hype. Regardless of the season, you’ll melt when you taste the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity 3. It’s fully flavorful—no icy, watery quality like some frappes—and truly unique. You'll spoon up a creation that's sweet, rich, creamy, chilly, and full of texture. Can’t make it to the Big Apple anytime soon? Whip up a cup in your own kitchen with their mix, available online.
24-Layer Chocolate Cake, Strip House, Las Vegas
Photo courtesy of @brguesthospitality
Las Vegas has long been known as a city of indulgence, so it’s no surprise that you can find one of the world’s most decadent desserts within city limits. You’ll need to save room (a lot of it, actually) for the 24-Layer Chocolate Cake at Strip House, which promises to “satiate your wildest chocolate cravings.” It’s no misnomer: count twelve layers of rich, just-right chocolate cake, sandwiching twelve more layers of fudgy chocolate ganache.
World-Famous Hot Fudge Sundae, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco
Photo courtesy of @ghirardelli
As one of the world’s most popular chocolate labels, you can expect Ghirardelli to offer a supreme menu at its San Francisco cafe. When you’re done ogling all the machines and vats of chocolate, settle in for an unforgettable dessert: the Hot Fudge Sundae. Enjoy two scoops of vanilla ice cream, drenched in homemade hot fudge. Want even more chocolate? The Midnight Reverie Sundae starts with chocolate ice cream and homemade dark chocolate hot fudge—and then adds dark chocolate chips and a piece of its Intense Dark Twilight Delight 72% Chocolate. Might want a glass of water with this one.
L’Africain Hot Chocolate, Angelina, Paris
Photo courtesy of @angelina_paris
All the way across the spectrum from the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate lies a dark, thick, actually-hot hot chocolate in the ultimate chocolate-lover’s city: Paris. Angelina is world-renowned for its tea house (rumored to have been a regular favorite of Coco Chanel, no less), with an exquisite menu of pastries and sweets. You must order “Le chocolat chaud à l’ancienne dit ‘l’Africain,’” or “L’Africain” Hot Chocolate. You’ll be served a cup, saucer, and a piping-hot pitcher of this specialty beverage. It’s almost thick enough to be classified as pudding, but falls just lightly enough within the lines to be sipped. A side of whipped cream enhances the decadence, but we’re focusing on the leading character.
Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie, Levain Bakery, New York
Photo courtesy of @levainbakery
This whopping six-ounce cookie is so popular, the website has a Line Cam to help hungry cookie monsters decide when to visit for their fix. The Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie at Levain Bakery is one massive hunk of a cookie, with a crispy crust and that perfect almost-but-not-quite-crumbly cookie center. Semi-sweet chocolate chunks melt in your hands (you’re gonna want a napkin for this one) and walnuts provide a chewy break from the sugar overload. Hey, it’s healthy if there’s protein, right? But seriously, bring a friend to split—this is no solo dessert.