I was reminded of this by friends and colleagues at least a dozen times prior to my recent trip to Las Vegas to attend a conference. It was my first time visiting what some consider the entertainment capital of the world.
Well, this is one time when what happened in Vegas will be shared!
Any one who has visited this city of a gazillion slot machines and equally as many lights knows that Las Vegas is a place where things are more than a little over the top. Prior to my trip, I had read somewhere that inside the Bellagio Hotel on the Strip one would find what some consider the “8th wonder of the world” – – the tallest chocolate fountain on the planet! As a die-hard chocoholic, a visit to see free-flowing chocolate falling from the heavens was a must while in town.
And so, one evening, after the day’s conference sessions were over, I made a pilgrimage to the Strip where I easily found the Bellagio.
On the lake in front of the hotel, the Bellagio’s signature dancing water fountains performed routines to music every 15 minutes. Amidst a throng of tourists, I watched a couple routines, then ventured inside the grand hotel to track down the chocolate fountain.
Assuming the chocolate shop would be in the Shops area, I followed the signs which took me through the hotel’s casino to a series of high-end stores. No chocolate store or chocolate fountain to be found. After some fruitless searching, I thought it best to ask for directions. I was advised to return to the lobby, then veer right into the Spa Tower. After retracing my steps through the casino (every path through every hotel in Vegas takes you through a casino!!) to the front desk, then wending my way down an elegantly appointed hall, I soon found Jean-Philippe Maury’s Patisserie.
Can you see the chocolate fountain on the right side of the picture? It’s quite a sight – an architectural and culinary marvel created by the Bellagio’s Executive Pastry Chef Maury.
The Patisserie sells chocolate (of course) and cakes and other baked treats as well as gelato and savoury dishes such as sandwiches, salads and crepes.
The chocolate fountain is a star attraction with many visitors stopping to admire the clever design. Nearly two tonnes of white, medium and dark chocolate circulate through six pumps and 500 feet of stainless steel piping. The chocolate rises 27 vertical feet from a lower level pump room. It is dispensed through six spouts in the ceiling, 14 feet above floor level, and falls into 25 handmade glass vessels.
The world’s tallest and largest volume chocolate fountain took two years to plan, design and create. Its creator, Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Philippe Maury, talks about it in this video.