Chocolate.  Who doesn’t love chocolate, to some degree or other?  Dark or milk chocolate, fancy truffles or a candy bar from the corner store, chocolate is one of our favorite treats.  We give each other chocolate on Valentine’s Day or drown our sorrows with it after a break-up because it releases endorphins and triggers the chemical associated with sexual arousal and pleasure!  Chocolate is literally a love drug!

I’ve tried chocolate in many forms - baked goods, desserts, chocolate drops mixed with exotic spices and herbs like cayenne, jalapeño, rosemary, & lavender, savory Mexican chocolate mole, “branch” chocolate in an Alpine-style village in Argentina, and amazing hot chocolate in Uruguay.  The point is, the beloved product of the humble cocoa bean is extremely versatile.  Having said that, here are a few of the Vegas chocolate creations that have raised my endorphin levels:

Frozen Hot Chocolate
Serendipity 3 is a whimsical eatery with the feel of an old fashioned ice cream parlor, sitting on the Strip just in front of Caesar’s Palace.  Serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, the menu is fairly extensive - big, sloppy burgers, foot long hot dogs, pizzas, pastas, and all manner of sinful sundaes.  But the thing that keeps me coming back is the fabulous Frozen Hot Chocolate.  Wait!  Frozen hot chocolate?!  How can they DO that?!  Well, to be honest, I don’t know, but imagine the best hot chocolate you’ve ever encountered, blended with ice, poured into a large glass goblet, and topped with fresh whipped cream.  This delicious, icy, chocolatey concoction will make your eyes roll back in your head with delight!  It’s a must-try!  They’re big enough for two, but order one all for yourself, and thank me later!

Giant Chocolate Macaron
Bardot Brasserie, at the Aria, has the ambience of a gorgeous Parisian bistro, and features classic brasserie fare like Escargots, Onion Soup Gratinée, and Steak Frites.  The dessert menu, however, is where you can find a French-style treat that will make you say “Oh, la la!” - the Chocolate Macaron.  With a crisp, meringue-based cookie filled with a light, yet full-bodied chocolate mousse, this oversized macaron is a symphony of textures; rich, airy, crispy, creamy, and chewy, all at once.  And just when you think it can’t get any better, a lovely dark chocolate sauce is poured over it.  This macaron est trés bonne!

The Hexx Cocktail & Chocolate Pudding
Hexx Kitchen + Bar is a relatively new spot on the Strip, serving terrific comfort food in a stylish, casual setting.  Hexx also has their own chocolate factory on the premises, creating amazing “confexxions” from their small-batch, single-origin chocolates.  Some of these delicious creations can be found on the menus, of course.  Try the Hexx Cocktail - vanilla vodka, Licor 43 - a vanilla-citrus liqueur, dark creme de cacao, walnut/hazelnut liqueur, house made Peruvian chocolate syrup, and cream.  Smooth, with a light orangey finish, it’ll make a surprising start to your evening.  If you do have a meal, leave room for dessert; the Chocolate Pudding, specifically.  Made with Tanzanian chocolate, cocoa nib infused cream, and a banana bread crumble at the bottom, it’s dark, creamy, extremely rich, and very much on the bittersweet side.  If you’re a fan of strong dark chocolate, this is the dessert for you!

Chocolate Burger
Ever eat a burger for dessert?  Well, at Burger Bar, from Celebrity Chef Hubert Keller, you can!  Located in the Mandalay Place shopping promenade between Luxor and Mandalay Bay, Burger Bar is a combination hamburger joint and sports bar, where the ubiquitous burger becomes haute cuisine.  At the bottom of their extensive menu, you’ll find a surprising category; the Sweet Burgers!  One of these unique dessert creations is the Chocolate Burger - a warm glazed doughnut as the bun, chocolate-hazelnut Nutella mousse as the hamburger patty, pressed passionfruit as the cheese, strawberries as the tomato, and kiwi as the lettuce.  This decadent, irresistible goodie is served with a drizzle of raspberry sauce, looking much like ketchup.  Your diet will be shot, but you’ll leave Burger Bar very happy!

Chocolate Terrarium
Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at the Cosmopolitan, is one of the most inventive restaurants I’ve ever experienced, and they serve one of the most inventive chocolate desserts I’ve ever tried: The Chocolate Terrarium.  A large glass dome is brought to your table, containing what looks like a mini garden, consisting of fluffy, shaved chocolate “soil”, chocolate pudding “mud”, boulders made from chunks of chocolate buttermilk cake, puffed wild rice pebbles, terrarium walls of crispy chocolate tuile, and hazelnut ice cream.  “Growing” out of the soil, are edible flowers and herbs.  This is one of those dishes that you’re afraid to eat, as it’s just so pretty and intricate, but trust me and just dig in - pun definitely intended!  

BLT Burger in the Mirage is known not only for their hamburgers, but also for their incredible milkshakes.  The Chocolate Shake blends premium chocolate ice cream with milk, a touch of heavy cream, and chocolate syrup, after which fresh whipped cream is folded in.  If you’re lucky, Hash House A Go Go will be baking up their mountainous Chocolate Snickers Bread Pudding, which serves four!  After all this, if you need more chocolate, you can always take a tour of the Hexx chocolate factory, or pick up some Ethel M Chocolates, whose factory is based in Las Vegas.

Chocoholics, start your engines!!