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The oldest of an ever burgeoning group of Seattle businesses dedicated to chocolate, 25 year old Fran's Chocolates has opened a new shop downtown in addition to its University Village location. Inspired by a trip to Paris, Fran learned her art, started her business, and now has the distinction of making the President and First Lady's favorite sweets: Fran's Smoked Sea Salt Caramel in Milk Chocolate for him and the same in Dark Chocolate for her. In coming weeks I'll be taking you to some of the shops dedicated to the OTHER popular Seattle bean and where you can gain an education as well as indulge your sweet tooth or drink some amazing sipping chocolate. Among them will be Theo's in Fremont, Chocolopolis on Queen Anne, The Chocolate Box near Pike Place Market, Oh! Chocolate in Madison Valley, Cocoa Chai in Ballard, Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle, Cocoa & Cream in Magnolia, and Chocolati in Wallingford (I've featured shots from their Greenlake and Greenwood locations before).
Meanwhile, if you are in Seattle, are over age 10, have $69 and can book an 8:30 AM start time on Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays, you might enjoy the 3 hour Tour de Chocolat that many of my friends have recommended to me. It begins and ends at the Chocolate Box, and goes by bus to three other locations to learn about chocolate, tour a factory, and taste from the amazing array of wonderful chocolatiers in Seattle. I remember touring Scharfenberger's factory when it opened in Berkeley a number of years ago. It was the first I'd ever seen percentages of cacao listed on products (make mine 78% dark :-)). Now, everyone lists similar information on their specialty bars, even Hershey's!