This year, our vacation is a low budget one… so instead of going somewhere for our two weeks off we decided to have a ’staycation’ in which we go on field trips every two days! The Theo Chocolate Factory Tour was Staycation Day #1!
The first thing we had to do on the Theo Chocolate Tour was put on a hair net.
Everyone had to wear one.
Dad even had to wear one on his face! Logan decided he needed a beard net too:
Did I mention everyone?
They sat us in a room and the chocolate eating began. They started by describing how chocolate is processed and grown. And in fact, I found it interesting that the tree that first grew their chocolate is called the “Theo Cocoa Tree” which is how they got their name! I always thought it was a guy named Theo. lol! But in fact, it’s named after a variety of cocoa tree.
We started tasting with the very darkest chocolate (91%) and moved to the sweeter stuff. Kind of like a wine tasting, we could taste the differences between chocolate grown in different places and climates. It was VERY interesting!
After that, we went into the actual factory. We were blessed to have two workers on our tour… a tour guide and a former coco roaster! Something else I didn’t know is that Theo is one of the only factories in the USA that actually roasts it’s own chocolate. Most places that claim to ‘make’ chocolate actually only ‘melt’ chocolate.
This flow chart shows how it’s done and which machines do what:
Cyan really loved watching the ‘coco liquiour’ come out of the machine and mix with the milk powder and sugar.
Then we got to go into the ‘confection room’. With no Oompa Loompas in sight, we watched real people make chocolate bars and confections right before our eyes as our tour guide told us what was what and who was doing which chore:
This was one of the 5 bar guys. Making the actual chocolate bars is a HUGE job. This room is where all of the add in’s for the bar chocolates are added:
He’s making cherry almond bars in this picture. YUM!
Our tasting time was well from over though. When in the confections room we got to taste quite a few different confections and then went into the gift shop where all of the bar seconds were broken up and we could taste them ALL. By the time I left I was chocolated out… for probably the first time ever! lol!
It was a wonderful tour and a great start to our staycation!