The perfect vacation activity – sitting on a beach? – hiking in the mountains? –watching a show? how about touring a chocolate factory – including plenty of samples? Oh Oh! That’s the one for me!
The factory is in the old trolley barn. My husband’s cousin said it was once a microbrewery also. Now it’s a chocolate factory.
Theo Chocolate is the first (and so far only) organic and fair trade “bean to bar” chocolate factory in the United States. They roast their own cocoa beans, something most chocolate makers don’t do, combine the crushed beans with sugar and other flavorings and – ta da- chocolate to die for.
We checked in for our tour with time to spare so we had a chance to look around the shop. We were warned to avoid trying the many samples in the shop because we would be getting a lot of samples during the tour. The guide was under the silyl impression that I could actually become sick of eating chocolate. I tried really really hard not to try the samples – but every now and again one slipped between my lips. I mean how could I not try the chai tea milk chocolate?
We saw where they make their genache confections – the fancy candies – and we got to try one. I chose a fig, fennel, and almond one – – heaven in a tiny square.
As if the organic/fair trade/make the world a better place mission and the amazingly wonderful chocolate weren’t enough they have also teamed up with the Jane Goodall Institute and a portion of the sales of some specially marked bars (milk chocolate and 70% dark chocolate) goes to the Jane Goodall Institute. When my husband and I were deciding what to get whom as thank yous and we thought of yous we decided that a quality candy bar for a cause was just the ticket. [By the way, chocolate that is 70% chocolate or more is considered a health food. Oh, and if the chocolate wrapper says that it was alkalized or involved Dutch processing than apparently all the good antioxidants are killed off regardless of the percentage of chocolate – so read those labels!]
And for ourselves? It was a really hard decision. We each picked our favorite candy bar – I chose the Nib Brittle. And, as one of the two grown ups I also got to buy something else for myself – chipotle spice sipping chocolate. It is midsummer and we’re looking at a heat index of over 100 tomorrow, so sipping chocolate hasn’t been high on my list of treats this week, but soon. Maybe I should just crank up the a/c and make a cup – – -I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I will not toss my green efforts aside even for spiced sipping chocolate.
Whole Foods carries Theo Chocolate as well as a number of other places, none of which are closer than 90 miles from my home. Luckily, you can buy it online also. I’m afraid I can’t afford a constant Theo fix – handmade organic and fair trade chocolate does not come cheap, but perhaps Santa will leave some in a few stockings. Visions of nib brittle dance in my (chocolate Buddha) head…