Chocolate Factory Tours a Sweet Treat for Valentine’s Day

Looking for something more exciting than flowers and boxed candy for Valentine’s day? Why not take a loved one on a tour of a chocolate factory to see how these sweet confections are made, asks our mascot Vinnie Van GO. He recommends Brooklyn’s Cacao Prieto, Chicago’s Long Grove Confectionary, Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco and Manoa Chocolate in Oahu, Hawaii all of which offer guided tours and tastings to satisfy the curiosity and taste buds of chocolate lovers of all ages. In Brooklyn, visit Cacao Prieto. Its cocoa is 100% organic and sourced from the company’s self-sustainable family farm in the Dominican Republic, where the beans have been harvested for more than 100 years. The company offers tours at its Red Hook Factory Retail location for $15 a person and private tours also are available for $25 per person. Head west to tour Dandelion Chocolate in the Mission District of San Francisco. Dandelion workers roast, crack, sort, winnow, grind, conch, and temper small batches of beans and then mold and package each bar by hand. Dandelion offers free, 30 minute tours during which participants will learn about each step of the bean-to-bar process plus a tasting. Private classes are offered for $50. Chicago is known for its proliferate production of confections and candy enthusiasts will appreciate a tour of the Long Grove Confectionary, Co. located 35 miles north of the city. For just two dollars, tour takers will watch a video presentation; view production of an array of products and then shop in the store filled with its premium quality chocolates. Hawaii is the only state in the U.S that grows cacao and Manoa Chocolate Hawaii, a bean-to-bar, artisan chocolate company on Oahu, Hawaii takes full advantage of this local resource. The company claims they are “passionate about crafting quality chocolate in Hawaii and try to produce no waste,” with biodegradable inner and outer packaging. The factory is open daily for free, mini-tours and also 30-45 minutes tours where attendees will learn about Hawaii’s emerging cacao industry, spend time with the chocolate-makers and enjoy a chocolate tasting and tea service. Reservations are required and cost is $14 per person.

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