One of the greatest parts of our vacation to “the West Side” was taking a tour of the Theo chocolate factory in Seattle – here’s my attempt to vicariously share the experience with my wonderful readers here in the PCW foodshed!
One of my favorite tidbits from the tour, is that the company, Theo, is named after theobroma, the genus name of the cocoa plant. Theo’s chocolate manufacturing begins with sourcing fair trade, organic, cocoa beans. Theo was the first chocolate company to undertake making excellent chocolate while supporting these practices. Their results have inspired many others in the industry to follow suit in the last decade. Of course, Theo prides themselves on their chocolate, not only their end product, but their entire process from start to finish. They source great beans, looking globally, particularly in Central and South America as well as Africa, for the best terroir and farming and labor practices to meet their high standards.
After making their way to Seattle, these beans are roasted in Theo’s historic, little, brick factory. Many chocolate company’s get chocolate liquor and create their own chocolate from that – not Theo!
After roasting, the beans are pulverized on site with two different stages – into chocolate liquor and then mixed into high-quality chocolate.
The bean roaster
This is a sign I always love to see!
I’m pretty sure that the Theo chocolate I get from the Moscow Food Co-op, is single-handedly getting me through grad school, so this stuff is pretty close to my heart!
At their retail outlet, it was fun to find that they carry an extended line of high-quality treats, all made in-house. We got to try many kinds of delightful truffles and unique chocolates like the 70% single origin chocolate from the Congo, Ghost Chili chocolate and (dairy-free, soy-free…) Theo peanut butter cups!
I suspect many people living in the PCW foodshed, not only enjoy Theo chocolates from the Co-op, but also make it over to Seattle once in awhile. For chocolate, this is pretty much as local as it gets and we are so lucky to have this gem in our region. If you are one of those folks, and love chocolate as much as I do – I invite you to enjoy a tour at Theo’s beautifully historic, factory in Freemont and see for yourself how this amazing chocolate comes together. The samples alone (and seeing your friends in hairnets and beardnets) are worth the $10 ticket price!
“My soul has had enough chicken soup, I want chocolate!” – sign in Venus Rising Coffee Shop: Butte, MT
Have you been to Theo’s factory? Tried some of their specialty chocolates? Have a favorite classic bar? Do you love Theo chocolate as much as I do? Please comment below!
Always with gratitude- especially to Shane McFarland for helping to clean up the messes I make!