What is a Chocolate Box Experience?

Hands on during the Chocolate Box Experience.

Are you seeking a Chocolate Experience?  You've come to the right place.

Michel Brotman, owner of The Chocolate Box, has figured out how to pack chocolate history, tasting, trivia, Seattle sight seeing, a chocolate factory tour, and making chocolate with your own hands into three hours of fast paced delicious fun called "The Chocolate Box Experience".

The Chocolate Box is so much more than just a chocolate shop.  Located just a stones throw away from the Pike Place Market in Seattle, right next to a wine shop called 106 Pine which lets you wander back and forth between chocolate, then wine, then back to chocolate again.  A brilliant plan, if you ask me.

Not only does the Chocolate Box have access to 106 Pine a wine shop right next door, it serves coffee and tea, has a dessert case, and is home to a Molly Moon Ice Cream counter...and we haven't even started talking seriously about "The Experience" yet.

"The Chocolate Experience"

It all starts with a warm welcome to The Chocolate Box.  As we were arriving for the Chocolate Box Experience it seemed that all hands on deck were there to give us a friendly hello and a hand shake.

Larry, our experience leader starts off his history of chocolate by serving a cup of warm, sweet drinking chocolate, the same kind that they serve right there in the shop made by Chocolate Vitale of Seattle.  He explains that thousands of years ago chocolate was consumed only in liquid form.

We learned more history as the tour went on.  Where the chocolate comes from, how it grows and details about the entire process that chocolate goes through from the flower to the fruit all the way to the chocolate bar.
Michel Brotman with photos of Cacao flowers.
What is the difference between a chocolate bar that you would find at a grocery story and fine artisan chocolate?  How about the difference between chocolate and chocolates?  All of that was discussed as we sampled fine artisan chocolate and Michel, an expert on tasting chocolate, led us through how to properly taste chocolate one sense at a time.

Hands on  with cocoa beans and cocoa butter.
Next we took a ride in the Simply Seattle / Chocolate Box touring van for some sight seeing and more lively conversation about chocolate on our way to a rare look at a functioning chocolate factory.  There may be only two or three places in the country where you can see a factory such as this! 

At the Theo chocolate factory we were ushered into a special VIP back entrance while others waited in line for opening time. Yes, you do get the feeling that you are a rock star while on this tour.

Inside the Theo Chocolate factory.

Stepping into the back entrance you are greeted with a huge waft of chocolate scent.  Becca, our Theo tour guide, took us out onto the factory floor showing us the equipment working to make chocolate which turned out to be much bigger than I expected.  Of course she served us and more chocolate, fresh nibs this time, along with various chocolate samples at the end of the tour.

After the tour we were whisked back to the Chocolate Box where a table waited for us all set up to make our own chocolate bars and chocolate dipped creations.  This is the hands on part of the experience.  So much fun!
Our chocolate making table is all set.
Larry pouring melted chocolate for us to hand temper.

The chocolate making table was in the wine shop so we were surrounded by fine wines, just in case you see wine in the photos.  It really doesn't get any better than this!

While our creations and custom bars hardened we learned how Moonstruck Chocolates makes Irish Cream truffles.  We sampled those truffles as too.

Moonstruck Irish Cream Truffle

As soon as our custom chocolate bars and dipped creations were ready to transport we were presented with Chocolate Box bags to take everything home.  Inside the bag was more chocolate as well as coupons for use at the Chocolate Box, 106 Pine, or Simply Seattle, all owned by Michel and Valerie Brotman.  Bonus gifts!  Wow!

The time flew by so fast.  Looking back I realize how much we packed into three hours of chocolate history, current events about chocolate, tasting, and more tasting, even making our own custom chocolate bars.  Not a second was wasted and all 5 senses were involved.

Clearly the Chocolate Box is much more than chocolate and the Chocolate Box Experience is much more than a chocolate tasting class. 

Would I do it again?  Oh yes, in an instant!
Check out the other tours offered by Michel and Valerie Brotman (yes there is wine involved...and chowder too.)

Don't miss out...106 Pine occasionally has wine and chocolate pairing events, make sure you sign up on their web site to receive advance notice.
My hand dipped creations.
My chocolate dipped hands.

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