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ChocXO Chocolatier, Willy Wonka Comes to Irvine
ChocXo Factory Windows

ChocXO Chocolatier, Willy Wonka Comes to Irvine

ChocXO

ChocXO Chocolate Exterior

ChocXO Chocolate Exterior

Choc XO Chocolatier is part chocolate factory, part chocolate shop, and all Willy Wonka. ChocXO Chocolatier opened last year and is located in Irvine, just off Irvine Center Drive.  I attended a hosted grand opening party at ChocXO and got to experience their factory tour and try their chocolates. This is a review is based on that experience and two subsequent visits on my own.

ChocXO Store Interior

ChocXO Store Interior

ChocXO sources cacao beans that are rated in the top 5% of beans in the world. The owner and chocolatier, Richard Foley, is a third generation chocolatier and has been making chocolate for 30 years.  

Foley uses USDA-certified genetically pure beans that come from farmers that Foley personally knows and visited in Central and South America. They use state of the art chocolate processing equipment and uses old world techniques.

ChocXO Beans

ChocXO Beans

The space feels like you are going on the Mona Loa chocolate factory tour in Hawaii, but right in Orange County.  The Factory is capable of producing one ton chocolate per day.

About the Store / Facility

The space is split into three distinct areas, the “front of the house” chocolate store featuring their house made chocolate truffles, bark, chocolate nibs, powders, and chocolate syrups. In the back of the store are windows to the chocolate factory and provides an educational experience of the chocolate making process.

ChocXo Factory Windows

ChocXo Factory Windows

If you purchase the guided tour, you can get a behind the scenes tour on the factory floor. Participants will sample cocoa nibs, cocoa liquor, and melted chocolate straight from the spigot.

ChocXO Bean Pod Harvest

Bean Pod Harvest

ChocXO Ferment Roast Grind

Ferment Roast Grind

ChocXO Chocolate Liquer and refined Chocolate

Chocolate Liqueur and refined Chocolate

Chocolate Factory Tours

Small groups can take tours of the chocolate factor for $ and by reservation (see prices below). The tour starts with a window tour of the factory to teach the stages of the chocolate making process and ends in the factory.

ChocXO Factory Tour

Factory Tour

The smell of chocolate and chocolate liqueur hangs deeply in the air. I literally became giddy when we left the room and my clothes pleasantly smelled like chocolate. You will be able to see every step of the process from roasting, grinding, refining, conching, to forming the chocolate.

Participants will sample cocoa nibs, cocoa liquor, and, of course, the finished product of chocolate bars, filled chocolates and chocolate bark on these tours as well!

ChocXO factory tour with clean room gear

Factory tour with clean room gear

Prices for tours will be as follows:

  • $20 for individuals ages 10 & up
  • $17 each for groups of four or more.
  • This also includes a 10% off merchandise discount.
  • Closed Shoes required, no flip flops, no open toe high heels. 

Tours are available Tuesday through Saturday

Private Parties at ChocXO

One of the cooler capabilities at ChocXO is their group party service. During the hosted grand opening tour, we experienced the art of making our own chocolate bark. It was a lot of fun! The chocolatier pour freshly made, and still hot, chocolate on our pan.

ChocXO making chocolate bark

Making chocolate bark

We then got to customize our chocolate bark with a variety of toppings from candied nuts, dried fruit, pretzels, ect. I made mine with dried blueberries and candied pecans. Some other folks on our tour went a little hog wild and added six different ingredients.

My Final Thoughts

ChocXO is a destination culinary experience, something that folks would drive to from an hour away to take the behind the scenes factory to tour to learn about the chocolate making process and try out chocolates. Keep in mind that ChocXO is not a multi-hour experience; rather you will be done with the tour and shopping within 1.5 hours max. Don’t expect an all-day experience. If you are local, this is a great place to buy high-end chocolate. Tom’s Foodie Blog recommends a visit to ChocXO.

ChocXO Chocolatier Location
9461 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 825-5781

ww.chocxo.com

Hours:
Tues to Sat:  10 am – 6 pm

ChocXO chocolates

ChocXO chocolates

About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.

6 comments

  1. Great post as usual Tom. Sounds like it was a great event. We’re going to have to check this place out soon. I’m almost down to my last box of See’s.

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