10 Chocolate Factories to Explore Around the World Slideshow
Have you ever stopped to think about that mind-blowing, silence-rendering, time-freezing moment that occurs when you take that first bite of chocolate? So does everyone at Zurich's Confiserie Sprungli. With chocolates in every shape and flavor and multi-colored macaroons, their true masterpieces are truffles. Open since 1859, they've been delighting palates and melting troubles with these freshly made truffles, which are meant to be eaten within 24 hours.
If you are one of the many who consider chocolate to be an art form, then you will love Mast Brothers Chocolate. Housed in a small Brooklyn warehouse, this chocolate factory is all about organic ingredients, an open work environment, and design-conscious packaging. Visitors can take a tour of the factory to see how flavors like Serrano Peppers, Fleur de Sel, and Stumptown Coffee are made.
Pull back the curtain on just how rich and creamy chocolates are made, at the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory. For a true taste of Vermont, try the Maple Crunch and Green Mountain chocolates, featuring maple syrup and fresh Vermont honey. Take a seat at one of the factory tables and watch as the chocolates you're ooh-ing and aah-ing over are made in the open kitchen. You'll wish you could bottle that warm, chocolate-y aroma that fills your nostrils.
Walking through the TCHO Factory may feel like entering a science lab. TCHO sources their beans meticulously, focusing on the cacao beans' quality and which farms they come from. Their hour-long tour educates visitors on the history of chocolate, TCHO's unique processes, and how their famous New American Chocolate is made from scratch. Of course, it also includes a guided chocolate tasting.
Set in the Swiss countryside, Maison Cailler is one of the founders of milk chocolate. Straying from the commonly used powdered milk, Alexandre-Louis Cailler used fresh cows' milk to create that creamy texture we associate today with milk chocolate. Maison Cailler isn't afraid of sharing, so visitors can partake in classes on truffle making (complete with choco-vernacular and a Cailler apron) before they wander the grounds of the magnificent Swiss home, which always smells of chocolate.
Theo Chocolates is known as the first chocolate factory in America to become fully organic. Focused on fair-trade farming and sustainability, Theo Chocolates is passionate from bean to bar and they're ready to impart that knowledge and love on visitors. Tours include a brief on chocolate history (from farming to ecological impacts), a discussion on cacao farming, and, of course, a look at how they transform those beans into succulent chocolates. The sampling can't come too soon.
Flickr/Katie & Ian
Now that we've established that you are addicted to chocolate (this is slide seven and you're still with us), you should know about Haigh's Chocolates, which opened in 1915 as one of the original family-owned chocolate shops in Australia. Book a spot on their free factory tour to see the chocolate-making process firsthand. For a sweet ending, each visitor can sit down, relax, and enjoy some freshly made chocolates, free of charge of course.
Which came first, Perugina's Baci or Hershey's Kisses? No matter, they're both delicious. Make a pit stop at Perugina Tour and Chocolate School in Perguia, Italy to see where those sweet Italian kisses are made. A factory tour and a stroll through their museum may please some, but true chocolate-lovers looking to delve deeper can also enroll in the company's Chocolate School to learn the craft firsthand.
A one-hour tour of Stettler Chocolate Factory in Switzerland showcases just how Glacé slabs, a favorite of Princess Masako of Japan, and perfectly rounded truffles with flavors like champagne, plum, whiskey, and rum are made. These creamy chocolates are known for being created with the utmost care, so the tour takes visitors from a brief history through tasting and ends with a gift to remember your experience by.
Côte D'or Chocolates has created a specialized tour, called the Temple of Chocolate, that makes you feel like you were whisked back in time. (It's put on for kids, loved by adults.) It takes you on an interactive tour through the Toltec temple, the Spanish Galleon, and finally, the old factory, where you'll revel in chocolate knowledge and even though you wish it would never end, you'll also yearn desperately for that chocolate sample that comes when it's over.