Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was a great movie, and if there’s one part we wish we could bring into the real world – well, it’s not the Oompa Loompas. It’s Wonka’s factory that we envy. They just don’t make chocolate rivers like they used to. But even if we can’t vacation to an indoor candy wonderland, we can fill the cavity-sized hole in our hearts with these sweet bakeries and candy factories.
4 Rivers Smokehouse Sweet Shop
4 Rivers Smokehouse is not only a great place to get Texas-style brisket in East Orlando, but it has an on-site Sweet Shop, where the treats start at $3.75. The shop has all of your conventional desserts like S’more Brownies and Mississippi Mud Cake, but for the cupcake lover they go out of their way to be one of a kind. The Sweet Shop combines sweet and salty with their Mountain Dew Dorito Cupcake and the Coca Cola Potato Chip Cupcake. If it sounds odd, it’s probably even stranger that the cupcakes are a huge hit. The over-21 crowd will also appreciate the Texas Bourbon Pecan Bar, whose pecans are covered in a sugar coating with a rich bourbon flavor oozing through the middle.
Chip Shop NYC
The Chip Shop was founded in New York City to bring British comfort food to America. However, the shop seems to have picked up an American love for deep-fry, as it is the originator of the Deep-Fried Twinkie. Now there are no limits to what gets fried; you can order deep-fried candy bars like Reese’s and Twix, or fruit like pineapple glazed in the berry sauce or syrup of your choice. Their website even has a spot where you can tell the owners what they should fry next! To get a taste of desserts across the pond, try the $5 Spotted Dick: “a sponge pudding with raisins and served with custard.”
Morley Candy Makers Factory
This Michigan chocolate factory has been cranking out sweets since 1875. You can take part in the “Stop & Shop” tour of the chocolate factory and see the confectioners create the hand-made chocolate desserts before sampling some and buying enough to take home from the gift shop. The factory started out from one man’s dream and a barrel of sugar, and today produces Bumpy Cake (Devil’s food cake with buttercream bumps and fudge icing), Ice Cream Sodas, and Hot Fudge Cream Puffs. In the autumn, their seasonal treats include chocolates in the shape of pumpkins and turkeys, and a gluten-free cinnamon pear caramel topping that will go over perfectly on your Thanksgiving pie.
The Flying Monkey Bakery
When it comes to dessert there are cake people, and then there are pie people. But at The Flying Monkey Bakery in Philadelphia, you don’t have to choose. You can buy both in one, known as a “Pumpple Cake”: either a chocolate cake with a pumpkin pie baked inside, or a vanilla cake with an apple pie inside. Not since ice cream-cake has there been a dessert that so seamlessly combines two treats. The entire specialty cake costs $45, and comes filled and frosted with vanilla buttercream. But if you’re looking for a single-serving dessert, you can try the Arnold Palmer bundt cake, or the peanut-butter-banana Elvis whoopee pie for $3.
Sweet’s Candy Company
Sweet’s Candy Company has spent almost 120 years producing taffy, cinnamon bears, gourmet chocolates, and even sugar-free candy in Salt Lake City. The family-owned company now has over 250 candies and offers a free 40-minute virtual tour. The candy company specializes in salt water taffy and customizable fruit sticks. You can go on their website and order either a 6 or 12 pack of orange, raspberry, or cherry sticks covered in milk or dark chocolate. You can also customize your own 2.5lb bag of taffy, with flavors like candy corn, huckleberry, rum, and cherry cola. Or if the choice overwhelms you, you can stick with a simple chocolate-covered peanut cluster.
Chego is a restaurant that describes its food experience as “LA in a rice bowl,” and that goes for its desserts as well. These aren’t your typical after-dinner specials. The Sriracha Bar with a chocolate crisped rice base covered with caramel, Sriracha ganache, dark chocolate, and spiced candied peanuts for $4. Also combining spicy with sweet is the Tres Leches, where devil’s food cake is soaked in cayenne-cinnamon-infused leches with spiced peanut brittle and tapioca milk pudding. Chego is a great place to visit if you’re an adventurous eater looking for desserts that are off the beaten path, and don’t mind a spicy kick.
The Rogue Bakery is an artisan online bakery that specializes in delivering homemade cookies around Columbus, Ohio. The “I’m Not A Snickerdoodle” sugar cookie is a delicious classic, but the bakery isn’t afraid to venture into the weird and unknown. If you’ve ever wondered what Ranch dressing would taste like in cookie form, wonder no more. A four-pack of the specialty Ranch Cookie costs $10, but you’ll have to provide your own carrot sticks or salad to go with it. Their other experiments are a little more conventional: Bacon Pecan Blondies, and the WTF Cookie which is made of chocolate marshmallows, pretzel sticks, butterscotch chips, and potato chips. Don’t worry – you can also buy a normal Milk Chocolate Chunk cookie.
PEZ Candy Factory
Pez candy has come a long way from its original conception as a breath mint in Austria. The candy revolutionized playing with your food, coming in dispensers that bore the face of our favorite cartoons, superheroes, and even Presidents. And with 14 flavors the tiny candy was a sugary bite of candy that was as fun to eat as it was to pop from the dispenser. You can tour the Connecticut factory and its new Visitor’s Center, which has the world’s largest PEZ dispenser coming in at 40-feet high – and it works! The factory also hosts birthday parties that come with candy buckets you can fill, and a customizable dispenser you can turn into your own face.
This ice cream parlor has an entire spectrum of frozen treats for its New York City customers. On one end on the spectrum the classic cold dessert, its Frrrozen Hot Chocolate: a mix of gourmet cocoas with milk and ice for $8.95. Near the other end of the spectrum is the Golden Opulence Sundae. You may have heard of this – it won the Guinness World Record for most expensive dessert, costing a total of $1,000. For that grand you get a sundae with edible gold shavings, gold-coated almonds, Amedei Porcelana syrup, caviar infused with orange, passion fruit, and Armagnac. If that doesn’t sound like the most decadent dessert, just wait: the ice cream parlor also created the Frozen Haute Chocolate, which like the Golden Opulence must be ordered 48 hours in advance. The Haute Chocolate, however, knocked the Golden Opulence out of first place as the most expensive dessert in 2007. For $25,000 you receive a golden goblet full of 28 rare cocoa flavors, more golden shavings, a jewel-encrusted spoon, and a diamond bracelet. Is all of the self-indulgence really worth it? If you’ve for the money, you can afford to find out.