Willy Wonka does not exist. Really, that’s a relief. He is creepy.
But CHOCOLATE factories do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Being the two nerdiest people on earth, the boy and I went on a really really awesome chocolate factory tour!
Massachusetts residents may recognize those bars (if you have bought chocolate at Espresso Royale, for example). Taza is a super-awesome, fair trade, locally built-from-the-ground-up business. And they have a REAL LIFE CHOCOLATE FACTORY that opened up for tours on Saturday (I found out via Yelp, yay them!).
They had a store area set up (the top picture) as well as a tour into the chocolate making area, and then the line for samples.
So the sample line was killer long. I mean, OBVIOUSLY. So we decided to start up with the tour. But first fortified ourselves with (LUSCIOUS!) hot chocolate, served by these guys:
I think if I worked in a chocolate factory, I’d probably always be in a good mood. Um p.s. the entire place smelled like chocolate. I mean, you probably figured. But I figured I’d tell you :D
Step one: roasty roasty!
When the company first started, they didn’t have their own roasting equipment and had to go to J.P. Licks and use their coffee roaster! But they picked up this GIANT RED MACHINE at a going-out-of-business sale at a chocolate factory in the Dominican Republic. Let’s just think about the awesomeness of that phrase for a minute.
Crunch off the shells, shoot the nibs out of chutes. They look like this:
Then the first grind, done with something that looks like this:
It’s quite similar to the traditional implements used.
Then some of the chocolates are done, and they just add sugar (the Mexican style chocolate). The bars get refined one more time, through this smooshy thing (I believe that’s the technical term):
We didnt get to see the shaping and packaging area, so that was the end of the tour. It was way cool! Then, to brave the sample line.
They very nicely kept us fortified as we waited- employees wandered through the line with little bowls:
And then, eons later, we got to the good stuff!
Most of their chocolate is from the Dominican Republic, where apparently the chocolate has fruity overtones (which I definitely got once they told us that- it was almost winey!). That second bar from the left is their holiday bar, and they have a limited supply- when it’s gone, it’s gone. That chocolate is from Chiapas, in Mexico, and is uber fancy.
Whoa, have you ever had cacao nibs?! I had not! They taste CRAZY! I would fail at describing them… campfirey. That’s the closest I can come.
And finally, my fave, the Mexican chocolate:
It has a coarse grind on it and is awesomely chewy and rich and dense. The yerba mate flavor was aaaaaaaawesome. Also not pictured is one with guajillo chiles, which was also GREAT.
But my favorite was definitely, DEFINITELY:
Oh my God. The salted almond. Sooooooooo rich and gritty and intense. There are no words. And, um, hello, antioxidants like you wouldn’t believe. HEALTH FOOD!
So basically one of the better days of my life.
Left the camera at the boy’s following a DELISH dinner (I’ll post that at some point…), but, yknow, I’ll get it back someday. Hope everyone’s gearing up for a good week. Eat some chocolate!