The goods for the remaining $7.25 after tour fee (that's a sample cup of coffee)

Theo Chocolate, 3400 Phinney Ave. N., Fremont

What does $13


$13 at Theo Chocolate

The $5 tour promises lots of samples of usually expensive chocolate.


The goods for the remaining $7.25 after tour fee (that's a sample cup of coffee)

Theo Chocolate, 3400 Phinney Ave. N., Fremont

What does $13 get you: $5 for a stuff-your-face-with-samples factory tour + $3.25 for a 3400 Phinney Chocolate Chai Tea chocolate bar + $4.00 for a box of two of Theo’s specialty “confections” (I chose Earl Grey, and Rose Caramel) = $12.25, but they don’t have anything for close to 0.75, so it was either that or go another couple bucks over.

Recommended?: Yes, but only if you look good in a hair net. 


We got to the factory about half an hour late for our 3:00 tour, and also brought along an extra person that we hadn’t made reservations for. After receiving a dirty look from the girl at the desk for our mistakes, we were ultimately given our hairnets and allowed to catch up to the tour. Apparently we hadn’t missed much—only a couple of samples and a bit of chocolate history.  

Theo's twice-a-day tours fill up fast. They run at 1 and 3 p.m. weekdays with an extra tour at 11 a.m. on weekends. I was surprised to see almost 30 people crammed into the little room where the tour started, all trying to load up on free chocolate. Our guide was far from a seasoned pro. She had only been there a couple of months, and a good tour guide comes only with practice—even at a chocolate factory, the material can become dry fast. By the end she was warming up to us (or maybe it was the chocolate buzz kicking in). I learned that Theo cares a lot about creating high-quality chocolate that’s also organic, and they support growers from all over the world. 

Located in the old Redhook Brewery, the factory is hotter, louder, and more uncomfortable than the Wonka factory, but getting to see them make their tiny confections (Theo’s version of truffles) by hand was neat. When the tour is over you’re ready to bound upstairs to their cozy café-type showroom and buy as many confections as your pockets can carry or your wallet can afford. Some tour-goers continued the sampling right out the door, asking the girls behind the counter if they could sample every confection under the glass; there were about 30 different flavors. The girls were obviously used to this kind of savage free chocolate gathering and felt free to tell the greedier ones they were running low on that particular flavor. 

My favorites of the day were the Chai Phinney Bar, the ginger confection, and the Theo Ghana Dark Chocolate Bar (though at 6 bucks a pop that one would have seriously put a damper on my budget). 


Basketloads of free chocolate—well, $5 chocolate.

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