Touring the Theo Chocolate factory is one of my top recommendations for tourists (or locals) looking for a fun food experience. It’s almost cliche to call the place Wonka-esque, but what else can you say when surrounded by the smell, sight, and plentiful samples of chocolate going from sacks of beans to stacks of bars?
My problem with the $6 tours has always been that they sell out weeks in advance. I usually can’t get in by the time I think of making reservations. But Theo has just upped the number they offer, from 6 per tour day to 10 — they’ll be offering tours to nearly 60,000 people per year now, up from 35,000. Three of those tours each day are now set aside for same-day reservations. You can book them online here. Guides also now have microphones, among other improvements.
Theo’s known for its fair trade practices — no Oompa-Loompa labor here — and it’s got some other projects going that give us a chance to do good while eating well. Head to the factory at 3400 Phinney Ave. N. from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. today (Aug. 2) for Ice Cream Sandwich Day, where you can buy Bluebird Ice Cream sandwiched between two Theo-made cookies, and the proceeds will go to Food Lifeline to pay for meals for kids in need. The non-profit tries to feed students during the summer who normally depend on school lunches. Return from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 9 and 10 for “Th-mores” assembled with house-made graham crackers, Theo chocolate, and fresh toasted marshmallows, also benefiting the Food Lifeline program. Theo’s goal is to provide 2,000 nutritious meals to Food Lifeline. Transforming sweets into a sound meal — that’s alchemy even a hungry kid named Charlie Bucket would have appreciated.
File photo of the Theo Chocolate Factory by Erika Schultz/Seattle Times