See how the chocolate is made! For dark chocolate-loving tweens, teens, and adults, the interactive TCHO (Pronounced with a long ‘O', like Cho) Chocolate Factory Tour in Berkeley could only be more delightful if there were real Oompa Loompas singing songs. This experience was very close to my personal idea of heaven, but it is not for everyone.
The ninety minute experience includes:
- 20-minute lesson about global chocolate production complete with facts and trivia (attention span required!)
- 20-minute guided walking tour around the sterile factory floor (hairnets included!)
- 20-minute tasting session of different varieties and stages of chocolate
All components of the tour are guided by a knowledgeable representative of TCHO. Our tour guide told us all about the process and various machines as we walked through the small factory work stations. I got the impression that people further away from her couldn't hear all her remarks because it was noisy inside. The smell is amazing.
The remainder of your time is saved to browse the tasty shop. Younger kids who really think “chocolate factory” means Oompa Loompas will be disappointed and fidgety. The TCHO staff invites children as young as eight, but as always, you know best if your kid would be interested in a manufacturing lesson!
Your $10 ticket also gets you a $10 coupon off any items from the gift shop. So the whole experience is basically FREE (Or is my math wrong? I paid $10 toward delicious chocolate and got an informative experience and even more chocolate).
Make advance reservations to tour the chocolate factory because walk-ins are not welcome. As of this writing, tours leave at 10:30am and noon on certain weekdays; however, that schedule is likely to change over time.
Pricing and logistics:
- Reservations required; Book your tour online.
- Admission $10 for all humans over age 8; parking is free or metered.
- Visit TCHO online.
- Make sure to note restrictions before you show up, including NO jewelry, close-toed shoes, and long pants. Lockers are available for no additional charge.
- Address: 3100 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley. Plan to arrive 10 minutes ahead of time. From San Pablo Ave., head west onto Folger Ave. and look for a glass door with “3100” on the wall above and “TCHO” on the glass door.
Bottom line: a ton of fun for chocolate and factory lovers (me times two!). Recommended for ten and up; plan to bring children with the attention span for a chocolate lesson and a curiosity about machines.
Did you have a great time? Let us know in the comments.
[Photos by the 510families team and TCHO as noted]