I had a dream - a humble dream - that one day, I would visit the chocolate factory.
Specifically, the Scharffen-Berger chocolate factory in Berkeley. It was, I was convinced, the Willie Wonka factory here on earth.
Then last month, Foodgoat, my siblings, and I were at the Berkeley farmer's market, on the precipice of a decision: go home, or go search for the legendary factory. They left the decision to me. I seized my opportunity.
And everyone lived happily ever after.
that I had seriously underestimated the distance we had to walk ...
And (according to Foodgoat), I had seriously underestimated the dangers of the neighborhoods we had to walk through. I, having worked in that neighborhood, aver that it was not skid row, but he would have none of that.
Hence, the very cross and battle-scarred look on his face when we finally did stumble upon Cafe Cacao.
I was a bit disappointed with the drinks: tasty, yes, at those prices and sizes, ahem, no. Did they not know what I had gone through to get there? Was suffering not emblazoned on our faces? Could they not see that a dainty cup of iced chocolate wasn't going to cut it today?
Fortunately, though we arrived sans reservation, we still managed to get into the Scharffen-Berger factory tour. Even more fortunately, they provided samples. The milk chocolate was surprisingly good, the dark chocolate was delicious, the chocolate nibs were crunchy and not-at-all sweet.
And then: the tour. Hairnets were helpfully provided.
The whole operation was smaller than I thought. The most Willie-Wonka-ish moment of the tour: the cocoa bean crushing machine. Unfortunately there was a forbidding yellow line and a tour guide named Tagen between me and the biggest vat of melted chocolate that I've been in the presence of.