Monday, May 19, 2014

Chocolate Factory Field Trips

We went on a couple simple, but fun field trips. One was to Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolates up in North Salt Lake. We've actually done this tour before and it's a pretty fun one, though you don't actually get to go onto the factory floor. You look through the windows and learn about what's going on, and you watch a video about how chocolate is made, and you get several samples throughout the tour. Fun!

Our other field trip was to Utah Truffles, in Sandy (they have recently moved, so don't go to the Salt Lake address. The address at the link above is correct.) Their website just says "come in any time for a factory tour!" so we had no idea what to expect or if they'd welcome children. But they did. Again, it's not really a tour---just looking through a window at the conveyor belts and the chocolate centers going through the chocolate waterfall, etc. Kind of like the donuts you see being made at Krispy Kreme! But the lady who helped us was really nice; she answered all our questions and---most wonderful of all!---gave us several huge handfuls of truffles, some in every flavor, to take home! The children were astounded at this generosity and talked about it all the way home: "She gave us SO many! Can you believe it?! And we didn't even have to pay!" We tasted them all after lunch that day, and they were all wonderful. We love truffles, and these seem particularly good (especially for the price point)! Utah Truffles was still settling into their new factory, and it looked like it would be even better when they have their Grand Opening in a few months---they will have a little retail store, an atrium, etc., which were still under construction when we visited.

We wanted to visit Amano Chocolates, but when I called, they told me they weren't currently doing tours. The guy said they were hoping to have tours up and running in "a few months," so we'll check back again later this summer, because it would be fun to see how a true chocolate-maker (as opposed to a chocolatier---the former actually makes chocolate from cocoa beans; the latter makes chocolate confections with chocolate that has already been made somewhere else). At least I think Amano is a chocolate-maker. 

Theo Chocolate in Seattle is a bean-to-bar factory, and next time we're in those parts we want to take their tour. We tasted some Theo chocolate in Oregon and it's really good.

There's also the famous Hershey Chocolate Factory in Pennsylvania, which I visited when I was a teenager and was greatly disappointed by (I'd been, perhaps unfairly, expecting a magical world like Willy Wonka's factory:)). We watched their factory tour videos on the day we learned about Milton Hershey, who is a fascinating and inspiring man. We also watched this video about the school for orphans he founded, which is still around today. Definitely worth watching.
Here are some videos about how chocolatiers make chocolate candies:

Moonstruck Chocolate, in Portland, Oregon (which we visited a few weeks later, pictured above)

See Chocolate Bunnies, etc. being made

How assorted chocolates are made

Of COURSE we read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory aloud together during this unit, and we loved it. One day I had the children design chocolate-making machines to go in Mr. Wonka's chocolate factory. They had fun with that assignment. Their designs are below:
Abe's machine
Malachi's involved putting banana-shaped chocolate inside a banana peel, so you would have a big surprise when you peeled the banana! :)
Seb's machine

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