Last month, Bridget and I went on a Chicago Chocolate Tour to celebrate the birthdays of our dear friends Y. & S. There are several tours available through Valerie Beck’s company, and we chose one that wouldn’t require too much walking and shivering on a chilly March Saturday. In other words, we walked down Michigan Avenue and ducked in and out of shops.
Since the set-up was already perfect, we had expectations of learning about each company, finding out what set their chocolate apart, and maybe getting some background information about their chocolate selection and process. However, what we got was a brief pitch, samples of chocolate and coupons for our next purchase.
The tour is clearly not for foodies. Even though it was billed as educational, there was little effort to impart information about the chocolate or to make us more informed chocolate consumers. Our guide, while very friendly, had recently been on a Master Cleanse Diet and was more interested in sharing her experience with lemon water.
We did let them know in advance that Bridget had accessibility issues, and Valerie, the owner, hovered over the tour to make sure there were no problems. And while that was a nice attention to detail, we wished they had paid equal attention to making the tour as informative as possible.
I think the tour would work best for total Chicago newbies, out-of-towners, or those with a fear of navigating the Mag Mile. However, I think folks would do fine if they did a little prep work on the Internet and asked nicely for samples at each store. My advice? Save the tour fee and take one of those horse-drawn carriage rides instead.
Chicago Chocolate Tours
150 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 2800
Stores visited on the tour:
Vosges Haut Chocolate
Moonstruck Chocolate Co. (OUT OF BUSINESS)
Note: It would be very easy to also sneak in Ethel’s and Hershey’s if you were so inclined.