There are plenty of ways for a chocoholic to get their sweet fix, and here at TOURific Escapes we did our part by creating a Chocolate Indulgence Tour to showcase the best chocolate makers in Los Angeles. After launching our savory and sweet Hollywood Sites & Bites Tour in 2010, many friends suggested a tour focusing on one certain food such as bacon, cupcakes, tacos, etc. So being a self-professed chocoholic, I created LA’s first Chocolate Indulgence Tour, with up to 12 guests escorted in our Turtle Top van. From 2011 to 2013 this sweet tour visited shops in Hollywood, Beverly Hills and a few in between. I’m grateful for the long-standing partnership that we developed with John Kelly Chocolates. The tour has now become our seasonal, specialty tour offered during “chocolate season” from October thru May. Dates are set to coincide with major holidays from Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah to Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day.
Then it was time to mix things up a bit. In February 2014 we moved the location of our Chocolate Indulgence Tour from Hollywood to the Westside, where we found many female entrepreneurs who have opened small businesses to feature their own unique style of chocolate. And a new tour was born! We also got a new vehicle along the way, so now our tours are even more cozy and personal. Our Toyota Sienna seats seven guests maximum and Trish your tour guide is now also your driver.
The Chocolate Indulgence Tour West starts at the lovely Jin Patisserie where petite chocolates, gorgeous holiday center-pieces and mini French macarons are made by hand. We move to Sinners & Saints where it is a guessing game whether we are enjoying a “sinner” or a “saint” but each bite more delicious than the next. Don’t get this lovely dessert shop confused with a tattoo parlor! Our next visit is to ChocoVivo, LA’s first bean to bar chocolate shop in which our guests get a chocolate lesson while enjoying cacao nibs, bars, mylks and award-winning cookies. Essential Chocolate Desserts is up next, which looks just as you might imagine. Every chocolate product imaginable is on display, with house specialties being cake truffles, moon pies and oversized ding dongs. Our final tasting is to visit the ladies at Ococoa whose beautiful work is created in the shared kitchen space of B & K Sugar Arts Lab. Our guests get to sample their seasonal and signature nut butter cups along with other specialty chocolate they have on hand for the holidays.
At a couple of these shops we can actually see the chocolatiers in action. The owners make themselves available to meet and greet our guests whenever possible, and it’s always a thrill on the days they are there to welcome us and to share their stories. Each of these entrepreneurial business owners brings a little something different to our chocolate tour tastings. So whether you like cookies or cake, beverages or bars, there is just the right chocolate for you! We invite you to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Come solo or bring a friend to experience the sweetest tour in town.
By Trish Procetto