For many travelers, sampling a destination's specialty cuisine can be just as memorable as taking a picture in front of its famous landmarks. Luckily for those with a sweet tooth, plenty of places offer an unforgettable chocolate fix. Here are five of the most indulgent:
Madrid, Spain: Spain's capital city is famous for its fountains, world-class art and chocolaterias, which serve fresh churros with a generous side of thick hot chocolate to dip them in. The most famous spot is Chocolateria San Gines in central Madrid, which has been around since 1894 and stays open even later than the city's lively nightclubs.
Vancouver, Canada: Vancouver's Sutton Place Hotel is the best place in the world for chocolate, according to National Geographic, thanks to the Chocoholic Buffet at its Fleuri Restaurant. Skip dinner to save room for a feast of cakes, pies, cookies, pastries, ice cream and crepes, with two seatings every Thursday-Saturday night.
Burlington, Wis.: This quiet, southern Wisconsin town is home to about 10,500 residents, but over Memorial Day weekend, that number more than triples for the annual ChocolateFest. In addition to eating chocolate, attendees can watch chef demonstrations, witness a candy wrapper fashion show and partake in unique chocolate-themed games.
San Francisco: New York has Times Square, London has Trafalgar Square, but only San Francisco has a square named after a brand of chocolate. Transformed from the old Ghirardelli factory, Ghirardelli Square is home to shops, restaurants, live entertainment and, most importantly, the flagship Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop, where visitors can see the original manufacturing equipment, eat decadent hot fudge sundaes and try free samples.
Oaxaca, Mexico: Oaxaca City is known for two versions of chocolate: hot chocolate and mole; the negro kind includes chocolate, chili peppers, onions, garlic and the hoja santa plant. Follow your nose to Mina Street, which is full of chocolate shops crafting their wares on-site. Shoppers can even choose the ingredients for a customized creation. While there, head to the adjacent market and find some tejate, a traditional drink made with corn, cacao, mamey seed and rosita de cacao.
-- Erica Wacker is based in Chicago and is an editor at Travelzoo. Travelzoo has 250 deal experts from around the world who rigorously research, evaluate and test thousands of deals to find those with true value.