Every Monday morning when I open the door to the chocolate factory to start my work week, that heavy, roasty, and sweet chocolate smell overwhelms my senses. By Friday I will have gotten used to it, but it only takes a weekend before it knocks me off my feet again on Monday.
I love that smell, but what I love more is how it represents the myriad things that go on under our roof at 740 Valencia Street. It’s the aroma of everything that we do. It comes from the production team roasting cocoa beans or grinding nibs to start a new batch in a melanger; from the cafe team, steaming up a hot chocolate; the kitchen crew baking off the next round of nutella cookies; the flavor team starting an experimental test batch to ensure quality in our chocolate; someone upstairs breaking up chocolate bars for our next Chocolate 101 class.
Our wide open factory is built on the basis that we love to share what we do. One of our favorite ways to introduce what we do is by showing you our process through a tour of our factory floor. Every time we give a tour, we get the chance to stop and really think through what we do and why we do it. The tour gives us a platform to engage regularly about the process, the local food community, the chocolate community, our relationships with the farms we work with, and the folks that visit us.
When we first established our tour program two years ago, we meant to build a clear look inside our process and how we do what we do. We wanted to make it easy and free, and the feedback has been more encouraging than we could have imagined.
Lately, we are finding that because the tours are free and easy to sign up for, it is also very easy to not attend. Of course, we totally understand that things come up, and anyone who signs up for a tour truly intends to come. However, lately, we have also been amazed by a recent influx of tour requests! Because we are truly trying to share our process with everyone who is interested, we are really hoping to make sure the opportunity to tour is really available for those who will definitely participate. So what to do? We decided to make some tour changes and improvements to our current system!
Sign up will now be available through our website with a calendar that’s easier to use. We are increasing the size of our tours to be able to accommodate eight people. Tours will be held Wednesdays-Saturdays from 6:10-6:50pm, and we have hopes of adding new days of the week in the coming months. We’re extending our tours so we can start with a guided tasting of our single origin bars before taking you on a tour of our factory floor and explaining our process. We are also going to start charging a $5 fee for the tour to encourage those who do sign up to attend. But at the end of the tour we will be giving all attendees who do come a free hot chocolate gift card to use in our cafe! We are hoping this system ensures that everybody who signs up really does participate and ends their tour on an extra chocolate-y note.
We hope to explore our factory and all of its toasty aromas, noises, sights, and tastes with you soon! To reserve a spot, head to our Tours page.