By lws07 on September 28, 2015
I have to say I wasn't sure how good this tour would be and if it was worth getting up earlier on the weekend to make the trip to the city from the south bay.
I was happy to find out that it was well worth it and we had a great time! Our tour guide, Derek, was very knowledgeable and had the right level of energy and enthusiasm- he wasn't cheesy/over-exaggerated nor was he just one of those guides who's just there to do a mediocre job. We had a full group, part of which was made up of about 10 ladies doing a bachelorette party, and he was very nice to try and keep them together as we went into shops (sometimes we had to stagger the # of people who went in because a few stores were small spaces). He also took the time to answer people's individual questions and to cater to certain likes. For instance, at one store, he asked the shop worker for 1 white chocolate piece for someone who had told him they loved white chocolate. And for those of us who didn't like the sound of a champagne flavored truffle (at Teuscher- go for the champagne one vs the other option, it's much better), he offered an alternative too.
As for the chocolate shops themselves, you go to a few well known ones (at least to locals) like Ghirardelli and See's, but also go to less familiar places too. I knew I wanted to buy 2 gifts along the way, but ended up getting something at almost every store that wasn't a bigger name. I'm glad I did too, people loved my gifts and I liked what I bought for myself. I learned a lot about the stores we went to, where they were based/from and what their specialties were. I thought this knowledge added to the tasting and really enjoyed learning more about a topic I didn't expect to be as interesting as it ended up being.
We started at a small newsstand (a store, not outside) on Market st. and ended up at the Westfield shopping center. Overall, a little less than a mile of walking and not strenuous walking at all. At a few points we got separated from the crowd as we were walking to the next store, but we caught up just fine.
All in all this was a fun time and I'd recommend it to others. It'll take place no matter the weather, so you may want to err on the side of non-winter months, but even when it sprinkled on us, it was no big deal!
Visited January 2014