Theo Chocolate - Seattle, WA
Theobroma is the scientific name of the cocoa tree. In Greek, it means “The food of the gods.”
Taking its name from “theobromine,” the chemical in chocolate which makes people very happy, Theo Chocolate was founded in 2005, and they began producing their impeccably delicious bars in 2006. Theo prides itself on being a business that has a social responsibility on an international level, working to establish strong, long-lasting relationships with the world’s chocolate-producing region, which is situated in the countries twenty degrees North and South of the Equator.
Theo Chocolate is the first certified FairTrade and Organic chocolate factory in the nation. They hold themselves to the highest standards, monitoring every step of the supply chain from the farm to your stomach, ensuring fair wages and healthcare for their workers.
During my tour of the factory, I learned that Theo’s dark chocolate ranges from 70-85% cocoa, with the remaining 15-30% made up of cocoa butter, vanilla and sugar. These very simple ingredients come together to create something otherworldly.
I also learned that the majority of their cocoa comes from Eastern Congo, and its unique flavor makes for deliciously creamy milk chocolate. At 45%, their milk chocolate boasts one of the highest cacao contents available on the market.
Civilizations dating back to the Aztecs found cacao to be a special plant. At that time, it was only for the emperor and his cronies to enjoy. It was the Aztecs who discovered that by fermenting the cacao, it can obtain its unique, sweet, chocolate flavor.
A major perk of visiting the factory is all the exclusive chocolates they make available to the public. For example, Theo’s ganache is sold primarily in Seattle because of the shorter shelf life. And I was thrilled to discover the delectable chocolate bitters from fellow Seattleites, Scrappy’s Bitters. They are made using Theo’s 100% certified organic cacao nibs selected and roasted specifically for the production of these sharp, floral bitters. Scrappy’s Chocolate Drop Manhattan has fast become my preferred way to enjoy the classic bourbon drink.
Though an anticipated peak inside a chocolate factory would probably not have involved a whimsical and eccentric genius twirling and dancing around a series of odd contraptions, I had no idea how complicated it is to make a bar of chocolate. Thankfully, with the help of the folks at Theo, I received a special tour of the place where they make the best chocolate known to man.
Enriched by a hint of peppermint, it impresses with notes of pepper balanced by slight citrus overtones, and a spicy, warming finish.
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A Chicago-based storyteller, keeper of a whiskey blog and shop-owner who's known for his appreciation of America.