When you consider the whole 19-kids-and-counting thing, you’ll realize that the Duggar family are celebrating birthdays constantly. If you’ve ever kept an eye on the controversial fam’s Facebook feed, you’ll notice that there’s one thing that all of the celebrations have in common. And no, it’s not those awkward videos where Jim Bob and Michelle praise whatever kid-of-the-week for being godly and obedient. We’re talking about the freaking Chocolate Mess.

“WTF is the Chocolate Mess?” you may be asking, your brows furrowing at the computer screen. Well, it’s a sundae so supersaturated in fudge that it’s coated with cocoa all over the glass. It’s a delicacy at MarketPlace Grill, an Arkansas restaurant that has like a 4-star rating on Yelp, so it’s maybe okay. It’s also, second only to pickles, a Duggar family food obsession and birthday tradition. Each year (or more) a Duggar child decides to indulge in this instead of going hard at the nearby Olive Garden like they usually do. And according to the official family blog, this is a TOTES FUN ACTIVITY and NOBODY IS PUSHED TO DO IT.

“For those who have asked if the chocolate mess is ‘forced’ on the Duggar kids or if they are ‘allowed’ to choose a different means of celebration, we assure you that they are free to select a different restaurant,” they wrote back in 2017. “In fact, we have posted many photos of such birthday celebrates.” All right, Jim Bob and Michelle, bring it down to a dull roar.

As delicious-ish as it looks (like even Willy Wonka thinks it’s “a bit much”), the Duggars persistent Chocolate Mess celebrations are pretty overwhelming. Don’t believe us? We have the receipts.

Joy-Anna is probably one of the most fervent advocates of the Chocolate Mess.

joy anna chocolate mess

Joy has celebrated multiple birthdays there, always choosing to accessorize the diabetes-inducing treat with what looks like a cup of melted butter. Yum-bo!

Justin is also a passionate Chocolate Mess lover.

justin chocolate milkshake

He’s celebrated, on-the-record, at least two birthdays with the infamous sundae.

justin chocolate mess

You can tell it’s Justin by the braces, although we did have to do a double-take and wonder if Derick Dillard shrunk.

Jessa had a sky-high birthday Chocolate Mess as part of a healthy pregnancy diet.

jessa duggar milkshake

You know, as one does.

So an already-addicted Spurgeon had one for his first birthday.

spurgeon chocolate milkshake

Remember, the Duggars aren’t forced into celebrating their birthdays at Marketplace Grille, but here’s a literal infant being fed a 1450 calorie sundae.

James is also big on that Chocolate Mess life.

james chocolate milkshake

You can tell that it’s James because the caption said it was James.

And yes, Jinger Duggar got to have a birthday this year that, you know, celebrated whatever little individuality she can salvage.

jinger duggar birthday

She is free.

But let’s not forget that she was downing Chocolate Messes only a few short years ago.

jinger duggar chocolate milkshake

Jk, Duggars are never free.


jeremy vuolo chocolate mess

Mother of God, NOT EVEN IN-LAWS ARE SAFE FROM THIS TRADITION. Like, sorry, if you’re marrying into this family, you’re marrying into having Chocolate Mess birthdays until you die.

And finally, the Chocolate Mess is also a fan favorite of…this…one.

duggar chocolate milkshake

Tbh we have no idea which kid that is, but look how zombie-eyed everyone is, as if they’re under the hypnotic thrall of this artery-clogging concoction. “Join us,” They’re saying. “Join us. JOIN US AT MARKETPLACE GRILLE. They have a real great rewards program”


The truth is that on the spectrum of things-Duggars-are-forced-to-do, having an extra AF ice cream sundae for your birthday every year is far from the worst. Hell, we’d be ok with trying that for our birthday one year (just once tho, like two times seems like a hard health risk). It is, though, a weird snapshot of how the Duggars continue to vouch for conformity, down to taste in fashion, taste in religion, and taste in, well, taste.

…And really, what if you want a vanilla sundae?

More From In Touch

The Duggar Family’s Birthday Calendar Must Be Getting Crowded AF

Uh, WTF Is the Duggar Family’s Weird Obsession With Pickles About?

Meet the Next Generation of Duggars: The Grandkids’ Baffling Baby Album

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