Explore Your Inner Willy Wonka at These Top Chocolatiers

Chocolate is not just a piece of candy to satisfy a sugar carving. Chocolate has many health benefits when consumed in moderation, of course. Studies show it can be beneficial in fighting diabetes, reducing stress and improving blood flow. It can also be great for bringing groups together around a sweet, shared activity. Here are some places your group can learn about the history and process of candymaking—and sample some delicious chocolate.

Hershey’s Chocolate World, Hershey, Pennsylvania

Come to the factory that played a major part in shaping chocolate as we know it today. From bean to bar, Hershey’s free tour offers an immersive chocolate making tour in a trolley car. Put all five of your senses to work by learning the art and science of tasting and enjoy partaking in the transformation of cocoa beans to candy bar. For a personalized parting gift, let attendees create their own candy bar wrapped in your logo.

Ethel M Chocolates, Henderson, Nevada

The preservative-free chocolate powerhouse offers chocolate tastings on an hourly basis that lasts from thirty and forty-five minutes. The experience includes some education on how chocolate is sourced, refined and produced, as well as the subtleties of chocolate tasting and flavor identification. Your group can choose from six different type of chocolates. Group discounts are offered for parties of ten to nineteen.

Zak’s Chocolate, Scottsdale, Arizona

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Try a few of Zak’s decadent, exotic samples that originate from Costa Rica, Peru, Columbia and Ecuador on a guided factory tour. Your group will experience a succulent variety of chocolate and learn the processes that it takes to produce it. The 2-hour experience encompasses a deep dive into the craft of chocolate, a guided tasting and a chocolate making demonstration.

Chocolat Michel Cluizel, West Berlin, New Jersey

Take your party on a private guided tour of this beautiful chocolate museum. The classic tour includes an educational experience on the history and production of this sought-after treat. The last part of the tour features an assortment of chocolate to taste, including a decadent, homemade ganache. Tours are by appointment only and require a minimum of 15 guests per party. The tour lasts for about 1 to 2 hours with a lunch option available.

Chocolate Maya, Santa Barbara, California

Chocolate Maya offers walk-in tastings, as well as private tastings. Your group can relax in the colorful Chocolate Lounge and enjoy a hot chocolate, a rich and thick drink with high-quality cacao. Private tastings feature single-origin chocolate bars from around the world, along with a lesson in the complex life of a piece of chocolate, from bean to bar to truffle. If interested, the tasting can include an in depth-discussion about how cacao beans are grown and processed, and the social and environmental issues surrounding chocolate production and the luxury food industry.