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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
Tues to Sat: 10 am – 6 pm