Chicago’s chocolate heaven
Monday, March 02, 2009
Chocolate’s history traces back thousands of years. And although Chicago’s history with chocolate doesn’t travel back that far, you can still discover a few of Chicago’s hidden gems by taking a walk with Chicago Chocolate Tours.
Chicago Chocolate Tours was started by former lawyer and self-proclaimed chocoholic Valerie Beck. During her law years, she says she would sneak out of the office for a little treat to "regain my sanity." Soon Beck turned her passion for chocolates into a successful business.
Beck’s year-round chocolate-tasting tours run 90 minutes to two hours as a guided walking tour. (For families who need a little more control on the tour, private tours are available for an extra fee.) There are currently two tasting tours, which include the Loop and the Magnificent Mile and Gold Coast. In one store, chocolate lovers head back into the super-secret chocolate kitchen for an insider’s scoop. And to keep things fresh, chocolate tours through Andersonville and Wicker Park are in the planning stages.
According to Beck, the tours consist of three simple things, "chocolate, walking and learning"—a balance that creates a flow as smooth and as sweet as the treats they celebrate.
Loop tours run Fridays at 12:45 p.m. and include Argo, Hannah’s Bretzel, Lavazza, Frango and Sarah’s at Macy’s. The Chocolate Shops of the Magnificent Mile and Gold Coast step off on Saturdays at 10:45 a.m. and Sundays at 3:45 p.m. Look forward to tasting treats from Teuscher Chocolates, MORE Cupcakes, Sarah’s Pastries and Candies, Lindt, Frango and Argo. If you can’t take in all of that chocolate at once, don’t worry, Beck provides takeaway bags.
Beck’s favorite part of the tours is simple. "I love meeting other fans of chocolate."
Tickets to regular Chocolate Tours are $40, $35 kids. Tours are recommended for kids 6 and up, but with all of the stops within a six-block radius, Beck leaves that decision to the parent’s discretion. For more information, call (312) 929-2939 or visit chicagochocolatetours.com.