The cacao bean has a large presence in the Emerald City. From bars and truffles to drinks and lotions, chocolatiers have mastered this versatile ingredient. If you can't get enough chocolate, we've got your guide to chocolatiers, chocolate tours, chocolate desserts, chocolate shops and chocolate drinks.
Local Seattle Chocolatiers and Boutique Chocolates
Fran’s Chocolates: Fran Bigelow started this chocolate company more than 30 years ago, and in addition to shipping the treats worldwide, there are four boutiques in the Seattle area, including the Georgetown headquarters, where you can watch production from a viewing window. (Fran’s Chocolates are made by hand, right down to the bow tied on boxes.) If you don’t have time to make it to Georgetown, there is a boutique downtown (next to the Four Seasons Hotel), at University Village and in Bellevue, on Seattle’s Eastside.
We love: the Salted Caramels
Theo Chocolate: Located in Fremont, Theo was the first organic, fair trade-certified chocolate maker in North America. A bean-to-bar company, Theo’s first chocolate treats hit stores in 2006. Head to the website to sign up for a tour of the facility (slots sometimes fill quickly!). On the tour, you’ll learn about the chocolate-making process, see where Theo’s bars and confections are made and, of course, sample a lot of chocolate. There are also tours geared specifically for kids. Visit the on-site retail store, so you can pick up gifts to take home (or eat later).
We love: the Fig, Fennel and Almond Fantasy Bar
Indi Chocolate: Pike Place Market is home to this chocolate shop, where you’ll find more than just edible treats. The small-batch, sustainable chocolate products include bars, a chocolate chai tea and chocolate body products, including lotion (in chocolate orange and chocolate mint), lip balm and chocolate soap. You can also pick up a bag of cacao nibs, a box of chocolate and coffee treats or one of the dark chocolate bars. To find the store in the market, head down the ramp from Uli’s Sausage, next to Ventures and near the Sound View Café.
We love: the Orange Chocolate Lip Balm
Intrigue Chocolate Co.: You never know what you’ll find at this chocolate shop in Pioneer Square. The truffles and truffle bars are made with the best ingredients of the season, and don’t contain preservatives, so they’re best enjoyed quickly. Past varieties have included basil, toasted sesame, stout beer and fennel seed.
We love: the Truffle Bars
Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery: Get your chocolate fix at this dessert stop. The molten chocolate cakes come in a few different varieties—including a vegan version for anyone who is dairy free. The shop also has cookies, a couple sandwiches, spiked drinking chocolate, wine and more. There are two locations, the original Ballard shop and a Capitol Hill location.
We love: the Vegan Dark Chocolate Molten Chocolate Cake
Vavako Chocolates: This Bellevue shop works directly with farmers in Ecuador, using only cacao beans from certified organic farms. In fact, most of the ingredients in the chocolates are organic. Find truffles, caramels and bars with unique flavors like basil and lemon, guava and anis, and coffee and cardamom. One percent of chocolate proceeds are donated to Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation.
We love: the Basil and Lemon Chocolate Bar
Sweet Spots: More Chocolate Shops
Try a variety of different chocolatiers' creations at one of Seattle's sweet shops. Favorites include Chocolopolis, a boutique in upper Queen Anne that has chocolate from 20 different countries. Stop in on a Thursday between 5 and 9 pm for a free chocolate happy hour, where you can sample chocolates around a theme. There are also occasional chocolate tasting classes—check the website for dates.
The Chocolate Box is another option. Located in downtown Seattle, this store has a wide selection of chocolate treats from the Pacific Northwest—they’ve got truffles, bars, caramels, drinking chocolate and more. The shop also has wine, because what goes better with chocolate? Most Sundays at 1 pm, the store has a chocolate and wine experience, with pairings of Pacific Northwest wines with chocolates. (Book your spot online.) This is a great stop to pick up sweet gifts.
Seattle's go-to cupcake shop, Cupcake Royale not only has chocolate cupcakes on regular rotation, but also has the annual Deathcake treat available in the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day. This treat-in-a-jar is sea-salted dark chocolate with a layer of chocolate cake, espresso chocolate ganache and chocolate curls. Or try the Salted Caramel Cupcake or Triple Threat Cupcake to satisfy the chocolate craving.
Unique Chocolate Experiences
Try more than 16 chocolate samples during the Savor Seattle Chocolate Indulgence Tour. During the tour, you’ll learn about the chocolate-making process and get some tips on the best ways to savor the treat. Stops include The Chocolate Box, Tom Douglas’ Dahlia Bakery, Fran’s Chocolates, The Confectional, Indi Chocolate and Cupcake Royale, where you’ll start the two-hour tour.
Just can’t get enough? Check out Caffé Vita, where you can buy a bag of their Theo Blend coffee. The popular coffee spot teamed up with the local chocolate maker for this blend, which has flavors of herbaceous, dark fruit, nutmeg and brown sugar. Another option for a little chocolate drink is Sound Spirits Distillery’s Depth Cacao, a liqueur made with cacao nibs from Theo Chocolate. Stop in to the tasting room for a sample and to pick up a bottle.