Today is #NationalChocolateDay and we know you’ll do the right thing and stuff your face with your favorite milky, sugary, sweet bar of goodness. While celebrating this gift from the gods, don’t forget that there’s a lot more out there to understand about chocolate. For all you cocoa connoisseurs out there who want to taste AND learn something different, here are a few outfits across the country that produce bean-to-bar chocolate and offer awesome tours, so you can feel like that kid in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (no, not the greedy one!).
Start your small batch chocolate tour of the country at Theo Chocolate. Located in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, this chocolate maker takes pride in being the first organic, Fair Trade and Fair for Life certified bean to bar chocolate factory in North America. They’ve been churning out high-quality chocolate from the world’s best cocoa beans since 2006 and offer tours of their factory 7 days a week. Visitors can walk through the facilities and get to learn about the social and environmental issues faced by cocoa farmers. While you must wear closed toed shoes and pay a $10 per person, the one-hour tour doesn’t leave you empty-handed — visitors are rewarded with a Theo chocolate bar.
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When you think of artisan chocolate, Missouri might not come to mind but it will after a visit to Askinosie. Located in Springfield, Askinosie Chocolate source and import beans directly from farmers. Started by a criminal defense lawyer, the chocolate factory provides tours on how bean to bar chocolate evolves. Of course, guests can sample chocolate throughout the tour with bites providing tastes of the different stages of the chocolate making process. Tours cost $5 for adults and $4 for children and students. You can go on a tour every Tuesday at 3:30PM.
Olive and Sinclair Chocolate
Set up in an old grocery store from 1890, Olive and Sinclair Chocolate produce a decidedly Southern style of chocolate in Nashville, Tennessee. As the first bean to bar chocolate makers in the state, Olive and Sinclair approach the process by slow roasting and stone grinding beans in small batches. Tours of the factory walk through the process of making bean to bar chocolate, as well as showing off the company’s antique stone mills. Plenty of samples are offered along the way. You can catch a tour on Saturdays from 10AM to 5PM on the hour for $5 a person.
Mast Brothers Chocolate
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One of the bigger names in small batch chocolate making, Mast Brothers Chocolate has been around since 2007. The company sources cocoa beans from around the world and roasts and grinds the beans in small batches, resulting in truly handmade chocolates. Mast Brothers began in Brooklyn and you can still take a tour of its flagship facility. Even if you can’t make it for one of the daily tours, you can sample Mast Brothers Chocolate in over 500 locations around the world.
Have you recently toured a chocolate factory? have a favorite artisan slab we should try? Got anything sweet to share with us? Peel off that wrapper and put it in the comments below!