For those who think Seattle is all about the coffee bean… there’s another contender… cacao.  And Seattle is home to some amazing chocolate factories that will educate you, as well as fill your tummy with delectable goodness.  Here are a few places to go:

Theo Chocolate
3400 Phinney Ave. N.
Seattle, WA

Just around the corner from the Troll in Fremont, in an unassuming little building (formerly the Red Hook brewery) called Theo Chocolate. You can call about a tour, or sign up online The tours are $6/person for ages 1 and up. You’ll get plenty of chocolate for that $6 and quite an education. Whisked into a back room, you are told about how and where the cacao fruit grows, how the beans are harvested, what they taste and smell and feel like, and why Theo uses beans from Fair Trade farmers and chooses to be the only organic roaster in the US. You’ll feel pretty heady with all the information, and become a bit of a chocolate connoisseur during the 90 minute tour. Then you get to see the factory itself, and watch the chocolate bars being made. You’ll be taken to the kitchen where there are chocolate artisans who put the finishing touches on beautiful pieces, and concoct new flavors for Theo’s seasonal treats.

Boehms Candies
255 NE Gilman Blvd
Issaquah, WA 98027

Julius Boehm was an Austrian immigrant and the grandson of a candymaker. His family fled from Austria to Switzerland in 1939, and he came to Washington in 1941. He settled in Issaquah and built the Edelweiss Chalet, a tribute to the old country, and right on the grounds of where his chocolates have been made for over 40 years. You are welcome to stop by any day and view the hand-dipped chocolates, caramels and nut clusters being made through the windows of the shop. The candies are made Monday thru Friday from 9a – 2p, and the retail shop is open 7 days a week. If you’d like a guided tour, they begin on June 1, 2011 and are $4/person. Children 4 and under are free. You can call for a tour, or go online to register at Tours last about 45 minutes. If you or your kids (over age 8) would like to attend a candy making class, they offer a chance for you to get into the kitchen on Sundays and Thursdays to mold and create your own goodies. For $55/person you also take home over a pound of chocolate.

The Chocolate Box
108 Pine Street
Seattle WA 98101

If no time is a bad time for chocolate, then you won’t mind lining up at 8:30am on a Friday or Saturday for The Chocolate Box Experience at 1st Avenue and Pine. The three hour tour is $49/person, but your tour actually includes a tour of Theo Chocolate (see above) and a lesson on making ganache with Moonstruck Chocolatier Julian Rose of Portland via video. And you get to meet a guest chocolatier from either Carter’s or Fran’s (President Obama’s favorites) on how they make their signature treats. Finally, you are given a chocoholic’s dream gift bag to take on your way, and a chance to shop in their store next door, 106 Pine, for wine and cheese.


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