Chocolate Factory Tour in Portland?

 Mmmmm...chocolate. Real chocolate. Need I say more? Image Courtesy: creochocolate.com

Mmmmm...chocolate. Real chocolate. Need I say more? Image Courtesy: creochocolate.com

Ok there weren’t any umpa lumpas and we didn’t need a golden ticket to get in, but the chocolate factory tour to be had at Creo Chocolate (122 NE Broadway, PDX) is quite special indeed. This past Saturday a group of four of us enjoyed this entertaining, informative and especially tasty one hour experience. The tour ($20/pp) featured where chocolate comes from (Cacao trees), it’s history as a trade and ritual element in South and Central America, and, of course, every step of how it is made. Further, each tour attendee got to make his or her own bar of chocolate - custom flavored from a pick of 20+ additional ingredients! Way too fun. Complete with tasting options at every stage of the process, you’ll want to put this activity square on your list of to do’s.

 Located at 122 NE Broadway, Creo Chocolate Factory is a gem indeed. Stop in for an amazing selecstion of hand-crafted chocolate and take part in a fun, informative tour that allows you to make your own chocolate bar! Image: Dan Meyers

Located at 122 NE Broadway, Creo Chocolate Factory is a gem indeed. Stop in for an amazing selecstion of hand-crafted chocolate and take part in a fun, informative tour that allows you to make your own chocolate bar! Image: Dan Meyers

 A view inside Creo Chocolate Factory. If you enjoy chocolate, this place is your jam. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

A view inside Creo Chocolate Factory. If you enjoy chocolate, this place is your jam. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

 

Creo, A Blend of Love and Creativity

With a "love for how things are made," in 2014 Janet and Tim Straub, along with their son Kevin, founded and began operating Creo Chocolate Factory. Getting its roots from running a highly successful raspberry farm north of Longview, Wa. for decades, the Straubs started experimenting with making batches of homemade chocolate several years ago. And after touring North America, tasting chocolate in every conceivable venue, and realizing the vast differences in quality, taste, and purity between industrial chocolate (the kind you find at 7-eleven) and true, “craft chocolate”, the opportunity was clear. Now one of 5 craft chocolate makers in Portland, and one of three with a storefront, Creo has risen to the top of the game winning many awards for its creations. And therein lies the root of its name: Creo means “create” in Latin and “I believe” in Spanish. These words capture the heart behind the business, which operates in a way that serves to protect its growers/farmers in a truly respectable way.

 Harvested from Cacao trees that grow in tropical regions around the world, each "pod" has enough beans for about one chocolate bar. The beans, sour and sweet (and nothing like chocolate upon removal), are dried, fermented, and finally roasted (after purchase) in the first steps to making chocolate. Take the tour at Creo to get the rest of the "farm to table" story...it is quite compelling. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers (this picture was on the wall at Creo, I shot it with my camera). 

Harvested from Cacao trees that grow in tropical regions around the world, each "pod" has enough beans for about one chocolate bar. The beans, sour and sweet (and nothing like chocolate upon removal), are dried, fermented, and finally roasted (after purchase) in the first steps to making chocolate. Take the tour at Creo to get the rest of the "farm to table" story...it is quite compelling. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers (this picture was on the wall at Creo, I shot it with my camera). 

Firmly bucking the trend of exploiting farmers in Central and South America, which has a long and negative neo-colonial history, the owners of Creo have created a legacy that goes beyond even the Fair Trade Act. They deal direct with their suppliers and pay them an above market price. Why? Because having owned and operated their raspberry farm for so many years, they know all too well how expensive and laborious running a farm is. The generous deals they make with their farmers helps to ensure their success and security. And while these higher costs are indeed seen in the end price of their incredible chocolate...let’s just say you more than get what you pay for. 

 A Cacao tree in Ecuador, soon to be harvested for Creo's chocolate factory! Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers (I took this photo of a photo on the wall at Creo Chocolate Factory). 

A Cacao tree in Ecuador, soon to be harvested for Creo's chocolate factory! Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers (I took this photo of a photo on the wall at Creo Chocolate Factory). 

 Cacoa beans being dried after harvest in Ecuador. Image Courtesy: creochocolate.com

Cacoa beans being dried after harvest in Ecuador. Image Courtesy: creochocolate.com

 Janet Straub and her niece Karen. Creo is owned and run by the Straub's and there is love and care at every turn. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

Janet Straub and her niece Karen. Creo is owned and run by the Straub's and there is love and care at every turn. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

 

The Chocolatey Details

Hours: The Creo Chocolate Factory is open for business during the following times: 

  • Tuesday through Thursday: 9:00am - 4:00pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Closed Sunday & Monday

Location: 122 NE Broadway (between 1st and 2nd), Portland, OR 97232, 

Website: www.creochocolate.com

 There are bowls of chocolate samples for each of Creo's many bars...oh this was fun. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

There are bowls of chocolate samples for each of Creo's many bars...oh this was fun. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

 The bars we all made on our tour. Each one is then trimmed (if needed) and put into a bio-degradable bag made of wood! Very cool. Needless to say, the bars sitting on the shelf at Creo look a bit nicer than ours here....but ours tasted awesome! Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

The bars we all made on our tour. Each one is then trimmed (if needed) and put into a bio-degradable bag made of wood! Very cool. Needless to say, the bars sitting on the shelf at Creo look a bit nicer than ours here....but ours tasted awesome! Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

Dan Meyers