Tour of Elbow Chocolates

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

Yes.  That’s me photographing from behind the scenes counter at Elbow Chocolates.

After years of loving Christopher Elbow’s amazing artisan chocolate and ice cream stores, I had the chance to interview him this month.  And then he took me on a tour of the magical chocolate factory!  I didn’t see any oompa loompas, but I did get to meet his amazing staff and watch the progression of gourmet chocolates go from start to hand-wrapped finish.  And…I might have done a little sampling along the way too.  Such a treat!

Below are some images from my tour.  My indoor photography skills aren’t too stellar, so pardon the yellow photos and weird lighting at times.  I promise this place is even more beautiful and delicious in person.  Enjoy!

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

I started the morning interviewing Christopher Elbow in his classy, modern storefront.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

It was hard not to be distracted by all of the gorgeous chocolate surrounding us.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

Chocolate…

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

…upon chocolate…

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

…upon chocolate.  You can’t help but stare and admire the artistry.  And then insist on trying them all.  :)

Christopher Elbow Chocolates | gimmesomeoven.com

Then we went behind the scenes to see where it all happens.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

There we found, well, much more chocolate.  It all begins with Christopher Elbow’s signature chocolate blend, which serves as the base for most of the chocolate products.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com
The chocolate is melted.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com
Poured.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

 

Formed into various confections.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

Crushed to make Elbow’s famous drinking chocolate.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

But most of it goes into forming his famous artisan chocolates.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

I was extra curious about how on earth they get their intricate designs on each piece of chocolate.  It turns out that most of them are either spray-painted or screen-printed.

For the spray-painted chocolates, they literally spray (liquid colored chocolate) into the molds before adding the chocolate.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

Then in a very quick and precise process, the mold is filled with chocolate, turned over and tapped against a grate to drain the excess, and then scraped to form an even edge.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

Then the chocolates are set out to tempt anyone walking by cool until ready to package.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

Other chocolates are screen-printed.  They begin with the filling. (I think these were the Pecan Caramel.)

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

Then the fillings are placed in perfectly-spaced rows on a little belt that runs under a fountain of chocolate to cover them.  Sorry, somehow I missed a picture of the chocolate-coating step.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

After coating, a layer of screen-printed chocolate is quickly placed atop of the warm chocolate pieces.  A tiny spatula is used to press the design onto the chocolate.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

Then the batch is inspected for any bubbles or gaps.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

And set on a rack to cool.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

Who knew modern technology could make chocolate even more wonderful?

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

Designs upon beautiful designs.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

Being total perfectionists about their chocolate, I learned that there is of course a bin of “rejects”, which I had to sample.  (They tasted perfect!)

Chris said they never go to waste.  ;)

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

Finally, every single chocolate product in the store is hand-wrapped and packaged.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

Look at those gems!

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

Everyone at Elbow Chocolates couldn’t have been more friendly.

Elbow Chocolates Tour | gimmesomeoven.com

And smiley!

Christopher Elbow | gimmesomeoven.com

The biggest thanks, of course, goes to Christopher Elbow himself for graciously spending a morning with a giddy food blogger.  I’ve had the chance to cross paths with quite a few chefs since I’ve been food blogging, and many are less than open or friendly.  But Chris could not have been more cool and humble, and it was clear he is doing what he really loves to do.  So inspiring to see.

Thanks as well to Haagen-Dazs for making this experience possible as part of their Moment for Me campaign.  This was a heck of a “moment” — one that I will happily remember each time I have an Elbow Chocolate!  I would encourage you all to visit the store if you’re in Kansas City, or order your own online.  I would especially recommend his Venezuelan Dark and Mango Basil chocolates, and the drinking chocolate is like pure heaven (and always makes me think of the movie Chocolat).  But you literally can’t go wrong — everything is incredible.  Cheers to chocolate!

Disclaimer: This “Moment For Me” experience was coordinated by Haagen-Dazs. I was not compensated, and all opinions are 100% my own.

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16 comments on “Tour of Elbow Chocolates”

  1. What an awesome opportunity and a fun experience! A chocoholic’s dream come true!

  2. This looks incredible! I always loved their storefront. And the back looks just as amazing!!

  3. Thank you for sharing this – a wonderful insight into the creation of my favorite food “real chocolate”.

  4. How fun! I loved all the behind-the-scenes photos. It’s so great to see what actually goes behind the storefront. It’s almost like a Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory tour!

  5. Wow, you are sooo lucky! Hey your indoor pics are great but I know what you mean, it’s way different than shooting in a favorable food setting, great job!!

  6. Oh my gosh! So fun! That is like a dream come true!! I loved all the photos, it was like you took us with you! Thank you!! So much fun and I feel like I just went through Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory! Well, virtually at least!

  7. Those chocolates are just exquisite! And what a fun thing to do!

  8. I can’t think of more exciting way to spend the day. Those artisan chocolates are amazing. As an artisan winemaker I can truly appreciate every, single thing about what this company is doing. Beautiful photos to, the day was captured perfectly. Lucky you.

  9. That’s a total dream to check off the bucket list – go behind the scenes at a chocolate factory! I think there is a whole generation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory watchers that would love this!

  10. How I can get chocolate please I’m d

  11. Oh wow! I’d love to have a tour there, so beautiful and dreamy :)

  12. Christopher Elbow is my favorite chocolatier in the whole entire world!!! I always stop by his boutique when I go home to San Francisco, but thank goodness for his online store too! Thanks for the tour =)

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  15. Have you tried Garza’s Goodies Chocolates & Confections? We’d be happy to have you out & look forward to serving you.

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