Neither Grandma nor I felt very rested, even though we tried to sleep in after Jim & Linda quietly left early in the morning. Grandma wanted waffles again so got those ready while I did my T-Tapp exercises outside again, then I looked up the Theo Chocolate tours in case there were any left, since we knew they were closed on Monday for Labor Day. There was one slot left at 3:30 showing open, but I didn’t want to pay in advance since we weren’t sure if there were too many stairs or too much walking for Grandma, so we decided to gamble and ask when we arrived. We took Greenwood instead of any freeways, but the chocolate building was farther down where Phinney changes direction several times. Some of those hills with narrow residential streets reminded me of Astoria! We made it and the shop said there were openings in the 3:30 tour so just walk over to the tour door. By the time we got there, the person in front of us had taken the last spot! Argh! I said if I’d known that I would have run & let Grandma catch up! Since we were only 2 people, she was able to squeeze us in. That was at 3:10, and instead of walking back to the shop & back again, we stayed sitting there, taking a photo with our funny hair nets on for the tour. We heard several people come up after us and not get in, so we were very lucky to be the last ones to get on, since all the tours the rest of the day were booked solid. She said “this is the hot tour right now” so I guess that’s true? I only heard about them at all because my cousin Kathleen posted on Facebook that she went there a few weeks ago. I guess being the first organic & fair trade chocolate maker in the US everyone wants to visit them.
The beginning of the tour was seated in a small room with 5 different chocolates to taste as our guide described and showed us how cacao is grown and chocolate is made. I knew some of this already but it is still interesting, and our guide was a bubbly girl who was entertaining. Even the 85% dark chocolate was quite good and I don’t usually like darker than 70%. After that portion, we had to wear hairnets to enter the factory floor. Since they have to keep it at 98F, they have a room with windows on all sides with air conditioning so we could stand in comfort and listen as the guide explained all the machines.
We only walked through the actual factory floor for a short trip to the confectionary room, and it was even hot for Grandma, so I’m glad for that little room! In the confectionary room they make their truffles and fun creations. I saw they hang their silicone mats when not in use which would let them dry without sticking to things, so I might try that in the future! They gave us samples of truffles, so I made sure Grandma got to try one of the Scotch truffles. She liked it!
Our guide mentioned a Walla Walla Onion Truffle they have right now, so we got one for each of us to try…very tasty! Those onions are very sweet in the first place, and it tasted like they carmelized them before adding them into the chocolate. I kind of want to try making some onion chocolate myself now! 😉 I figured this could be my place to buy some birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, and thank you gifts, plus they have Partner Bars where portions of the proceeds go to good causes, so I spent awhile shopping…and when I thought I was done, the clerk pointed out that if I got this or that handpacked instead of pre-boxed, I could get the tour 10% discount, so I went back 3x before I actually paid…ending up still spending about $150! At least it didn’t take up as much physical space in my suitcase as the Mexican chocolate & mole sauce assortment I bought in Oaxaca that took up half of one side of my luggage!
We had thought we would go to the Chiluly Glass Garden and Spaceneedle since the weather was so nice, but after the tour Grandma was tired and asked to go home before dinner. We had a break, then we went to Anthony’s in Edmonds on the water, just in time for a nice sunset dinner of delicious seafood. Yum!
By the time we were finishing dinner, the return ferry was coming, all lit up, with just enough daylight left to see some mountains and clouds in the background. I almost got out my good camera for this, but it was moving so fast, by the time I dug my camera out of the bottom of my bag, I think the ferry would have been docked!
You can keep reading for a lot more photos of the chocolate tour…hopefully more downtown Seattle tomorrow!