Last week, local confectioner the Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company cut the ribbon on its new factory at 5025 Pattison Avenue on the Hill. With visions of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory dancing through our head -- except for the Oompa-Loompas, who still give us the capital-C Creeps -- we fashioned our own golden ticket: a tour of the factory from Dan Abel Jr., whose father founded the company in 1981.
Are there rivers of chocolate? Not really. There are nuts and fruits, however, so those with specific allergies aren't permitted to take the tour.
Visitors enter the factory through a spacious display room, which also serves as a retail space. Rows of cases display a vast assortment of confections. Among the truffles alone there are a dozen different varieties, including mint dream, pumpkin pie and "Hill Truffles," a special release with pistachios and "toasted ravioli" chocolates.
Visitors then walk the factory floor as confectioners assemble and hand-decorate hundreds of truffles and other treat. Visitors can even take their turn stirring milk chocolate in a large copper kettle. The entire process is surprisingly slow and quiet.