Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Theo Chocolate Factory Tour

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!

IMG_3109

The first thing we had to do on the Theo Chocolate Tour was put on a hair net.

  IMG_3071

Everyone had to wear one.

IMG_3076

Dad even had to wear one on his face!  Logan decided he needed a beard net too:

IMG_3059

Did I mention everyone?

IMG_3073

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.

IMG_3106

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:

IMG_3061

Cyan really loved watching the ‘coco liquiour’ come out of the machine and mix with the milk powder and sugar.

IMG_3079

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:

IMG_3092

IMG_3093

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:

IMG_3099

He’s making cherry almond bars in this picture.  Smile 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!

IMG_3107

It was a wonderful tour and a great start to our staycation!

IMG_3103

2 comments:

Sarah Policastro said...

Oh man! My good friend had her wedding today, the very day my home school co-op toured a chocolate factory. Then I see this post, I'm definitely going to have to try and do this sometime.

Amber said...

Yummy!
Just saying hello :) x