I remember family car trips as a series of factory tours. Some were more interesting than others. The canned tuna tour was nightmare-inducing. The Hershey’s tour was much better. In the East Bay there used to be just one chocolate facility you could tour, but now there are two factories within spitting distance of each other- Scharffenberger and Charles Chocolates.

Scharffenberger is really all about the transformation of the beans to the bar. To see how it happens, you make a reservation and then you sit through a presentation on how chocolate is made and finally see the factory itself. After the tour, you can head to the cafe or retail shop. There is also a virtual tour.

At Charles Chocolate, the factory is also attached to the retail shop and there are long glass windows that allow you a great view of the action. While not exactly a tour you can see chocolate confections being made by a team of candy makers. Any time the store is open, you can take a peek.

My suggestion? Make a reservation at Scharffenberger, take a break for lunch and then head over to Charles Chocolate. Both offer a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes. You won’t have Willy Wonka as a guide, but the experience will be scrumpdiddleumptious nonetheless.

Chocolate Factory Tours 13 June,2007Amy Sherman


Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her
friends and family were constantly asking her where
and what to eat. Three months after it launched,
Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the
top five best food blogs, praising her writing as
“smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been
featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and
magazines in the U.S. and the world.

In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a
guest contributor to the Epicurious.com blog, and
Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes
restaurant reviews for SF Station.

Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook
reviews along with some interviews and current events.

Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer.
She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine.

She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.

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