We hate to spoil it, there’s no chocolate river — but there is a chocolate waterfall covering truffles on the official tours at Seattle Chocolates in Tukwila.
The company started offering tours in early 2017. It’s $10 per person, for ages 6 and up only. There are a few other ground rules: Tour attendees must wear hair- and beard-nets, no glass is allowed (which means no cameras or cell phones), and no food or drink in the tour factory.
The tours start out in the classroom, where you’ll taste a melted chocolate bar and learn about the history of chocolate. Then the tour takes you inside to where the magic happens — the 60,000-square-foot factory. Following a hot pink catwalk, a tour guide takes you through the process of how Seattle Chocolates’ famous truffles and bars, including jcoco and Frango mints, are made. Spots along the tour include videos that tell you more about the company.
You’ll see the chocolate move from the tempering units to the molding and enrobing line. Enrobing is a fancy word for what is basically a chocolate waterfall.
“It’s the closest thing to Willy Wonka that we have,” said Seattle Chocolates CEO Jean Thompson.
Then the truffles go through the wrapping machines that can wrap up to 14 truffles per second. Gift boxes for the chocolates are folded by hand.
This is the 25th year for Seattle Chocolates, which has been in the Tukwila plant for a decade. Reservations may be made for the tours up to 90 days in advance. The company recommends reserving a spot about two to three weeks out. There are a few spots for walk-ins. Tours take about an hour, which includes a chocolate tasting.
See more from inside the plant:
Photos by Rachel Coward