Trend Report: Chocolate Is Hot

When you're in the mood for chocolate these days, your biggest problem might be deciding where to go for your fix.

The Early Show correspondent Melinda Murphy reported on the latest rage for chocolate, in


Now, instead of buying a chocolate bar, you can actually go to a chocolate bar. These delectable locations are sprouting up across the country — and Murphy says that once you visit one, you can find yourself hooked.

What she found in her explorations was that in addition to chocolate bars, hotels in a number of cities offer a chocolate buffet on weekends and special occasions — such as Valentine's Day. Murphy and her crew went to a few cities and locations to see what's going on and talked to an industry expert to see why this is happening.

"It's an emerging trend. I think we're seeing some chocolate houses again and chocolate bars coming into play, and I think it's one of the many new and exciting ways that people are enjoying chocolate," said Lynn Bragg, president of the Chocolate Manufacturer's Association.

The place for chocolate lovers in Chicago? Ethel's Chocolate Lounge.

In Philadelphia: the Ritz Carlton, where a basic brew of hot chocolate is an unforgettable experience.

And New York is keeping up with the trend with its very own Chocolate Bar.

The good news for chocolate lovers is that industry experts think this delectable trend is on the rise.

Most of these hot spots have popped up in the last few years, but Boston's Langham Hotel claims to have kicked off the trend on Saturdays way back in the 80s.

Its chocolate bar is a full-on chocolate buffet. "It goes for about four hours, and we put out approximately 68 to 75 different types of chocolate desserts in some way or another," says Alejandro Luna, head pastry chef at the Langham.

These chocolate bars could do for chocolate what Starbucks has done for coffee.

"It not only feeds people's ordinary addictions and their favorite habits and things like that, but it's a neighborhood spot," says Alison Nelson, owner of Chocolate Bar in New York. "It brings people in and they see each other and get to know each other while eating their favorite treat on the face of the earth."

Murphy points out that this is not the first time chocolate bars have been popular, nor will it be the last. Back in the early 1700s, she says, there was a time when chocolate bars were actually more popular than coffee houses and taverns. Yet another example of "everything old is new again."