Who couldn’t love the idea of a chocolate factory tour??!! That amazing smell of chocolate permeating everything in the building. Oompa Loompas singing as they work (ok, that’s just me dreaming). Being unleashed with chocolate samples to eat to your hearts content (still me dreaming – sigh).
BUT – there are many aspects of touring the Seattle Chocolate company’s factory that are to love, especially if you’re a chocoholic.
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Before I tell you more details about the tour, here’s all of your basic questions answered;
Where is the Seattle Chocolate company factory?
1180 Andover Park W. Seattle, WA98188 (which is about 10 minutes from Seatac airport)
How do I book a tour?
You book online using this link: https://www.seattlechocolatefactory.com/book-a-tour
How much does a tour cost?
Tours cost $12 per adult, or $10 per child (between 6 and 12), plus taxes and fees.
How long does the tour take?
The tour takes about an hour, to an hour and a half. The first tour of the day starts at 10am.
Do I need a vaccine pass?
Yes, you’ll need to show your proof of vaccination, and wear a mask throughout the tour.
What do I see, do and get to sample on the tour?
Imagine the sensation as a liquid chocolate bar flows down your throat, the dark richness of it coating the inside of your mouth with a delicious warmth. Nom nom.
THIS is exactly the way this tour starts, and I must say it’s a mighty fine way to begin. When you begin your tour, you’re ushered into a tasting room, where you’re given a delicious melted chocolate to drink. Have I said nom nom yet?? As you devour your melted chocolate, you’ll watch a video that shares the story of the Seattle Chocolate company. This includes where their cacao beans come from, who owns it (Jean Thompson), how they’re harvested, and the process of turning them into the chocolate bars and truffles that the Seattle Chocolate company sell.
Like Theo, the origin and stewardship of their cacao beans is important to them. It was great to see that they are part of the Rainforest Alliance in West Africa and Peru. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds goes back to local charities to feed the hungry in the community. Big tick Seattle Chocolate. All of this costs money, which is why your Seattle Chocolate will cost a little more than the chocolate you’d normally be buying at the supermarket.
Once the video is finished you’ll head into the factory. No cell phones, handbags etc are allowed on this part (they’re all securely stowed for you). You’ll climb up stairs onto an overhead walkway that enables you to look down on all sides of the factory. Making, processing and packing on one side, and stores of chocolate on the other. It’s great to see how the production line works. Depending on what they’re making that day, you might see bars being made, truffles being filled, chocolates being wrapped and packed, or gift baskets being put together. It’s fascinating to watch from above, and you can may even get a smile and wave from one of the workers. It was surprising how many parts of this process were done by hand. I found this part of the tour fabulous, and a step above what I saw on the Theo Chocolate Factory tour.
After the tour, it’s back into the tasting room, to try some more samples. How this is done is quite unique (I won’t spoil it for you). However, I was a little disappointed that you couldn’t choose what you wanted to try, as for me, one of the great things with a tour, is to be able to try the chocolates you think you’ll like, before you purchase. At the conclusion of the tour, you’re given a 10% discount voucher to use in the shop (if you so wish!). Personally, I thought 10% was a little miserly, especially if you compare it to the deals at the Theo shop.
BUT, the shop does have a great range of truffles that you can buy per flavour, which I loved. I’m definitely a truffle kinda gal, and loved being able to purchase my favourites, and only my favourites. The Seattle Chocolate company has a great range of both truffles, and chocolate bars, so there’ll be sure to be something in the shop to tempt everyone. There’s also a range of complementing souvenirs, including wine!
In fact, one of things they do that I really love, is their chocolate bar packaging. These are designed in collaboration with several artists, including Seattle locals. Just like the chocolates, the wrappers are designed to capture the spirit of the Pacific Northwest. As an example, the Hiker’s Trail Mix bar is designed to embody and complement the outdoorsy lifestyle available in abundance in Seattle. It’s filled with raisins, peanuts and roasted sunflower seeds. Perfect to pop in the backpack on one of those famous Seattle hikes me thinks! This uniquely PNW wrapping also makes these the perfect ‘omiyage’ – souvenirs to take home. Now, if you can’t make the tour, you can still get your fix of delicious Seattle chocolates through the delightful experience of online shopping.
All in all, I really enjoyed the tour – I’m sure there’s not a chocolate tour I wouldn’t enjoy, let’s be real! It did however, make me appreciate the Theo tour a little more. As with anything, they both had really good points, and things that could be improved. I really think you need to try them both to make up your own mind on them!
It’s definitely a unique thing to do in Seattle, that I’m sure you’ll all be talking about it later, as you munch your way through your purchases.
PS. A couple of extra hints
I’m not sure how true this is, but I have heard that Friday is often a day without production, so if you’re thinking about going on a Friday, and seeing the factory itself working is important to you, it may be worth phoning and checking.
AND, I’ve also heard that on Saturdays, they bring out bags of ‘seconds’ for sale at fab prices in the shop!