Earlier this week I took the Theo Chocolate factory tour here in Seattle. The tour was well worth it, nicely paced, packed full of information and with plenty of samples. Shown above is a cacoa pod, about half the size of a usual one, did you know it takes about six of the pods shown to make one chocolate bar?
We were given a thorough tour of the facility, got to see the roast master in action, peeked in the confectionery kitchen, and introduced to their very own Theobroma cacoa tree:
The factory is fairly small and the tours groups are sized accordingly. So, no matter when you go call ahead to make reservations.
(The trays used to mold chocolate bars!)
Even though Theo is here in Seattle I didn’t know this: It’s the only certified organic and fair trade bean to bar chocolate factory in the US. They take great care with their products starting with the growers so you can feel ultra virtuous while eating a Big Daddy (peanut butter, caramel and graham cracker, more delicious than you’d even hope for):
Between the tour and the samples in their lobby we got to sample most everything they offer. My other favorites were among the fantasy flavor bars: the Chocolate Vanilla bar, the Fig Fennel & Almond, Coconut Curry and Chai. All delicious. I think my favorite plain chocolate bar was the 45% Milk Chocolate bar from the Jane Goodall collection, a super extra virtuous treat.
They have a few limited release flavors and this Ghost Chili flavor is my favorite from all their bars. It’s spicy, but not so hot that it obscures the chocolate. Around Halloween these will sport Jack-o-lantern labels.
Note: You will wear a hair net on the tour, and if you are a guy with a beard you will be asked to wear a beard net as well. It’s hilarious, just go with it.
Samples from the tour (among lots of the chocolate we got to sample). The burnt sugar ganache was my favorite.