It was a perfect day to tour a chocolate factory, gray and chilly (let’s be honest… when is a day ever not perfect for a tour of a chocolate factory?) The building, which is right in Fremont, used to be the old Red Hook Brewery. The interior still has a factory/warehouse feel with an artistic upgrade.
The tour itself was very indepth and was led by a very friendly guide. The equipment was impecably clean and was color coated to correspond to the action taking place throughout the chocolate making process.
Overall I was very impressed with the care they take to ensure that the essence of the cacao be preserved in every step of the way. They are very meticulous about the process. The only additions that are ever added to their Theo bars are organic beet sugar and sometimes a bit of extra cocoa butter. No vanilla or soy lechitin is ever added to their chocolate (with the exception of the 3400 Phinney Vanilla bar).
I purchased each one of their bars they produce and brought them home for a more extensive review. Currently they carry a 65% Madagascar, 75% Ghana, Panama and Ecuador, 84% Ghana, 75% Ivory Coast, and 91% Venezuela (this one is limited edition).
First off, the only one I don’t really care for is the 65% Madagascar. Although I will say that the others with whom I was tasting this with did enjoy this bar. I found it far to fruity for my liking. I tend to gravitate towards the very dark, deep and super intense tasting chocolate. Therefore my favorite was the 91% from Venezuela. For being such a high percentage of cacao is was incredibly smooth and palatable. During this tasting I also tried Michel Cluizel’s (who produces my favorite chocolate) 99% bar which is extremely bitter and far too harsh – but really it’s 99% what do you expect?
I really enjoyed the flavor and I greatly appreciate their efforts towards preserving the true essence of the cacao and not adulterating that with other “fillers”. I value their approach to using organic ingredients and their efforts to provide fair wages for their cacao farmers.
All that being said I am in the process of acquiring a wholesale account with the hopes of using some of their chocolates for my confections.