Chocolate never needed any help in the PR department—its deliciousness speaks for itself, and its health benefits are just a bonus. So when Gene Wilder (and creator Roald Dahl, of course) danced onto the scene and brought a magical chocolate factory beyond our wildest dreams to life, it was just the cherry on top of the (chocolate) sundae. Fortunately, many chocolate companies now open their doors to public tours. Whether it’s a quick drive away or a stop on your next vacation, be sure to visit all of these tantalizing tours. Easy on the free samples!
TAZA CHOCOLATE, SOMERVILLE, MA: Nestled roughly equidistant from Harvard and MIT sits the factory of Taza Chocolate. Inside the unassuming building, you’ll see the authentic Oaxacan style of stone ground chocolate that founder Alex Whitmore discovered on a trip to Mexico. Taza offers tours seven days a week (but note that the factory is not in production mode on Saturdays or Sundays), with special Cacao Scouts kids’ tours on the weekends. Watch and learn the process from bean to bar, with the unique stone ground style that sets Taza apart from the pack. Tours require an online reservation and an $8 admission fee, which is more than paid back with the samples.
SEATTLE CHOCOLATES, SEATTLE, WA: As a Seattle-based company ourselves, the Chococurb team was thrilled to see Seattle Chocolates re-open its factory to public tours. If you love their melt-in-your-mouth truffle bars and exotic flavors, you must see them behind the scenes. The Experience Chocolate Tour runs on Monday to Saturday, 10am to 3pm, for $10. To guarantee safety and quality, the factory does not allow glass in the production room, so you’ll have to leave your cell phone behind in a provided locker (but you can break it back out for the retail and classroom areas). #nom
DICK TAYLOR, EUREKA, CA: As former boat makers, co-founders Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor know how to create premium products with their hands. See the quality and detail that goes into making fine chocolates like the Maple Coconut bar at their Northern California headquarters, located a few hours north of San Francisco. This one-hour tour walks through steps like roasting, winnowing, refining, milling, conching, tempering, and molding. Don’t even know what some of those things mean? No worries, it’s all in the tour, provided on selected dates every month.