Saturday, Jan. 13, 2017 – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!
There is a chocolate shop that I have been passing by for the past 3 years or so in Waterbury, CT right off Rt. 8 at exit 36. Every time I have passed it I have told myself, I should stop in….but I never have.
After passing by it again on Friday night and noticing the sign saying “TOURS”….I got on line, and reserved 2 seats for the Saturday tour at 2pm. Vinnie and I were going to go on a tour of a Chocolate Factory…..Not Willy Wonka’s but rather FASCIA’S Chocolates! AND…Christine and Jia decided to join us! We were a “party of 4” on a Chocolate Tour and YES, for 10 dollars we wanted to make our own personal chocolate bar!
In that hour and 15 minutes we were able to view the very clean factory. The scene was of one woman putting the creamy centers onto a rolling belt and in 6 minutes they took a journey through a chocolate waterfall and were cooled so that a young man could pick them up and put them in boxes. In the room where we all sat watching, the son-in-law of Mr. Fascia (the original owner who still comes in everyday to check on things) explained the process and showed us that famous clip from I LOVE LUCY. You know the one with Lucy and Ethel working as new employees on the candy belt! Hilarious!
When we arrived we were told to pick any three “toppings”. I picked pecans, walnuts, and toasted coconut! We were given a mold, and a little bowl of melted chocolate and simple directions. “Pour the chocolate into the mold and then pour on your toppings and smooth it out!” So we did and as we licked our little smoothing sticks, the granddaughter of Mr. Fascia took our bars to the cooler. It would be ready in 15 minutes!
As our bars cooled , we learned about the COCOA or CACAO beans that grow in the pods in Africa and the CARGILL Company that processes the beans and ships the cocoa and the cocoa butter to Pennsylvania to PETER’S CHOCOLATES to make it into the ten pound blocks of chocolate that Fascia’s buys to create their delicious treats! We were assured that no child or slave labor is going on at the Cargill company to harvest the pods every spring and fall. I sure hope so…I don’t like my chocolate dipped in a little guilt!
The granddaughter appeared again with a little baggie for each of us. In the baggie were three small disks of chocolate: one white, one light brown and one dark brown. We ate the dark one first, but we were told to chew it twice and then let it melt in our mouths! We learned that this is the way to eat good chocolate. It was a deep flavor, quite enjoyable. Then the milk chocolate. At this point is where the son-in-law explained the process of making milk chocolate. THANK YOU MR. NESTLE!! He and Peter (owner of Peter’s Chocolate in Pennsylvania) were buddies and the process of making milk chocolate was created there! Then for the white chocolate; creamy and rich again thanks to the cocoa butter that is the basis of it all. I learned that often the “white chocolate” in the everyday stores is not even chocolate! It is made up of things that are not even related to the cocoa beans! These three little disks of chocolate were worth the visit alone! Delicious.
And so the moment had come! The talking was almost over and our bars were brought back out to us. We packaged them into our personal little clear bags to take home. We never left our seats during the tour, but we watched, we learned, we created, and we ate smooth and creamy chocolate! Not bad for a Saturday afternoon!
Less than a mile away, we topped off the afternoon with a visit to the Brass Works Brewery for a little “Sweaty Sisters Blonde Ale”. I am a believer that life is short and I am now thoroughly convinced that the perfect day in any life is one that does include a wonderful afternoon of chocolate and beer!