There’s nothing like the mention of chocolate to bring out the inner kid in us. (Maybe it’s that Willy Wonka effect). Lucky for us, we don’t have to travel far to feel like Charlie…or Veruca Salt or an Oompa Loompa. Just about every day of the week, you can find a chocolate factory tour or class highlighting the entire manufacturing process—from start to finish—in kid-friendly lingo. Scroll down for your golden ticket to our roundup of the best chocolate factory tours and chocolate-making classes in Seattle.
Seattle Chocolates invites you to taste, explore and discover their world of truffle and candy bar-making from their "hot pink walkway" that is lifted ten feet above where all the action is at their factory and flagship store in Southcenter. During the 50-minute tour, you’ll get a short history on chocolate, learn how Seattle Chocolates creates new flavors and even get the opportunity to share a few ideas of your own. You’ll also get to taste test along the way–you know, for quality control.
Tours are offered Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (with the last tour starting at 2 p.m.), however if you want to see it all, your best chance is to come during the week as the machines are usually not in operation Fri.-Sun. Admission is $10 per person and children must be at least six years of age. There is plenty of free parking as well.
Seattle Chocolates also offers a few classes and special events throughout the year. You’ll find their current offerings here.
1180 Andover Park W.
Seattle, WA 98188
Boehm’s Candies and Chocolates
Boehm’s Candies and Chocolates has been crafting handmade European-style goodies for over 75 years inside their famous chalet located on a busy street in Issaquah. Inside the Hansel and Gretel-themed building, you’ll find a variety of touring and class options. This year the store is offering guided tours from June 25–Sept. 5, but you are welcome to enjoy a free self-guided tour looking through windows along the side of the factory and the three TV monitors any time of the year. Self-guided tours also offer free samples! The best time to go is between 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Fri. when their worker bees are the busiest.
Good to Know: Guided tours offer a more up-close-and-personal view of the goings on inside the factory with tasty samples along the way as well as a look at the authentic chalet where the Boehm’s founder lived and the High Alpine Chapel (if not being occupied by a wedding or event). The 40-minute guided tours are $7 per person.
Sweet Extra: Boehm’s is a great place for kids ages 8 and older and their parents to take a chocolate-making class. Classes are offered on the weekends at 2 p.m. and Thursday afternoons. Classes include a tour of the factory and the opportunity for mini chocolatiers to make their own chocolate mold, clusters, soft centers and rocky road candies and decorate a chocolate bar with piping and decorations. Not only will you return home with a wealth of knowledge, but also with more than 1 ½ pounds of chocolate (a $45 value!). Classes are $65 per person.
255 N.E. Gilman Blvd.
Issaquah, WA 98027
Theo Chocolates offers one-hour tours that offer plenty of samples. You’ll learn the history and science of chocolate (if only they covered that in school!), where the company gets their cocoa beans, the benefits of organic and fair trade practices and the bean-to-bar process throughout the tour of the factory. The best time to go is during the week when all of the machines are in operation.
The general tours are $10 per person, ages 5 and up. For children age 5 and under, Theo’s offers a Kids Chocolate Story Time Tour. Not only is it a couple of bucks cheaper, but it will also keep your kids’ attention with a kid-friendly tour, a story time featuring Molly and the Chocolate Tree story (written by one of their own guides) and, of course, chocolate treats. The Kids Chocolate Story Time Tour is $8 per kid and lasts approximately 45 minutes.
Sweet Extra: If you have your afternoons free and can plan ahead, you might want to take advantage of Theo Chocolate's Fremont Third Thursday program which offers free tours at 4 p.m. Tickets are released two months in advance (limited to 5 guests). Theo Chocolate's also offers a variety of classes throughout the year for both kids and adults, including classes on hand-rolled ganache truffles and a kid’s chocolate bark class. You’ll find the complete list of classes here.
3400 Phinney Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98103
Joe Chocolate Co.
Seattle’s newest chocolate factory isn’t the largest and won’t open until sometime in May, but when it does, it just might be your new favorite. In fact, you may have already heard of it. Joe Chocolates was founded by two hiking college buddies who were looking for the perfect snack to take on the trail and ended up creating their own. Soon, their creations were packaged and sold at REI.
Joe Chocolates are handmade and naturally caffeinated with artisan coffee. Their new shop will be located at the Pike Place Market (right next door to Beecher’s) and will include an espresso bar serving coffee, chocolate drinks and ice cream sandwiches alongside their signature chocolate snacks and a viewing section of the production area.
1606 Pike Place
Seattle, WA 98101
We featured Mona in our Whidbey Island Learning Vacation story and how she's making a trip to Langley all that more sweet. While Mona’s store is quite spacious, her kitchen is a bit on the small side, so she is open to conducting private groups (like your family or friends) in addition to semi-private and group classes. While she offers classes involving tempering chocolate, making toffees and brittles and fudge-making, we recommend taking a truffle class. It's a lot easier than you'd think and you’ll take home a ton of treats to boot!
Classes are $65 per person. Give Mona a call to how she can best accommodate your group.
221 2nd St., Ste 16
Langley, WA 98260
Dawn's Candy and Cake
Dawn Mote just might offer you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to chocolate-making classes. For $25 per person, her Chocolate 101 class includes all supplies needed for your first project (up to one pound of the good stuff), a short demonstration, a free mold to try out what you learned at home and box for your treats. Unlike other classes, Mote will even take on children as young as two-years-old as long as they are accompanied by a parent (otherwise that would just be mean). Other classes offered include tempering chocolate, truffle-making, a chocolate piñata class and even cake decorating.
3333 184th St. S.W., Ste #J
Lynnwood, WA 98037
Can you think of a better name for a chocolate shop? Oh! Chocolate has been run by three generations of the Krautheim family since 1985, so Margo Masaoka and her crew know their stuff. Masaoka offers chocolate dipping classes on Saturday evenings. During the class, you’ll learn how chocolate is made from the humble cocoa bean to the delicious bars you're used to eating, plus how different types of chocolate taste, how to temper chocolate and how to coat your favorite items (think: strawberries and Oreo cookies). You'll also get to fill a box of goodness to take home. While not a place for little ones, Masaoka does welcome kids ages 12 and up to learn a new sweet skill set with their parents.
Classes are $79 per person and usually last from 1.5 to 2 hours. Class sizes are limited and regularly sell out, so be sure to register in advance.
2703 76th Ave. S.E.
Mercer Island, WA 98040
The Chocolate Man
Bill the "Chocolate Man” not only loves chocolate, but has a passion to share his chocolate knowledge with others young and old. Bill knows just about everything you’d ever want to know about chocolate. And he has created some of the most stunning chocolate works of art you’ve ever seen from small creatures to huge sculptures. He also sells different bulk chocolate from all over the world in addition to lots of different chocolate-making equipment, including molds, flavors, books and more.
Bill offers classes to kids as young as six-years-old and their parents and offers classes on how to make chocolate suckers, decorating with “luster dust” and making chocolate pizza. Bill offers a variety of classes including some for kids only and others for adults only (hello, date night!).
Classes are $29 per child and $55 for adults and provide everything you need to make some great treats to bring home.
Lake Forest Park Town Center
17171 Bothell Way N.E, #A130
Lake Forest Park, Wa 98155
Editor’s Note: Most of the places mentioned above require advance planning as tours and classes fill up fast.