Bright red strawberries peek out from under their chocolaty blankets. Brown Florida alligators glisten in their colored cellophane wrappings. Truffles line the trays. Chocolate covered pretzels sit in rows. All waiting patiently behind the glass case that runs the entire length of the store. The shelves around are lined with boxes filled with brightly wrapped chocolates. Eye-catching blue, mermaid green, and a a glittering gold that would make a pirate look twice.
Whetstone Chocolates: St. Augustine’s Sweeter Side
No, you aren’t lost in a fantasy candy land dream– you’ve just stumbled onto St. Augustine’s sweeter side at Whetstone Chocolates. America’s oldest city is better- known for their colonial history and grandiose architecture courtesy railroad magnate Henry Flagler, but many people have never heard about the family-owned and operated chocolate factory sitting in a far quiet corner of the city.
Making the sweet stuff since 1967, Whetstone Chocolates is no ordinary candy store. The factory where the chocolate favorites are made is adjacent to their store on King Street. And they offer visitors the opportunity to learn about where their chocolate comes from and how it’s processed.
Their Chocolate Tasting Tours provide a walk-through tour of their working factory AND a chance to sample the different varieties of artesian chocolate they have on offer.
Whetstone Chocolates Tasting Tour
The 45 minute tour involves sit-down presentations and a walk-through their factory. Guests are handed a tasting card with a list of the different kinds of chocolate, their taste description and cocoa percentage. Among the colorful list of chocolate blends named after St. Augustine’s history are the Aviles- a milk chocolate blend everyone will love with only 31% cocoa to the rich Menendez dark chocolate blend with a whooping 72% cocoa. Like a wine-tasting, but much sweeter.
You get to keep the tasting card. It makes for a good souvenir- or scrapbook addition- and also makes a great topic for a dinner table discussion later in the day. Compare and contrast the different chocolates with your kids. Have each child pick their favorite and give their reason why. Find out which one was their least favorite and why. For older kids, ask them if learning about where chocolate comes from has changed their viewpoints on it. There are no ‘wrong’ answers. This kind of discussion helps develop critical thinking skills in your children.
About Those Hairnets
It may remind you of a Laverne & Shirley rerun, but all guests are required to wear a hairnet on their tour through the factory. Non-negotiable. This is a regulation in food-production factories.
They will provide the disposable hairnets- and beard-nets at the start of the tour. You get to chuck them out when you leave the factory- or keep them for the weirdest souvenir ever.
What to Expect During the Chocolate Tasting Tour
During the tour you will find out about the history of chocolate and Whetstone, where chocolate really comes from, and why small farmers will always play a vital role in this delicious industry. You’ll also discover how to make chocolate- and perhaps even appreciate the not-so-simple process.
The tour ends with a look into the items they make at Whetstone- some unusual, like chocolate wine and key lime chocolate.
Chocolate tasting occurs throughout the tour- making it truly the sweetest tour in St. Augustine.
Things To Know Before You Go
- Whetstone Chocolate Factory is located at 139 King Street, St. Augustine, Florida 32084
- First tour is at 11am (10am on Saturdays) The last tour is at 3:30 pm. Tours fill up fast, so call ahead to reserve your spots.
- Contact number is: 904.217.o275
- It’s free to go into the shop, but the tour is $8 for adults and $5.50 for kids 5-17 years old; Under 5 is free.
- Parking is free.
- Whetstone Chocolates is a regular stop on the Red Train and St. Augustine trolley tours. When they drop you off, go into the shop to the right to sign up for the tour.
- You must wear the hairnet provided to take this tour! It is regulation- it’s a food-thing. They even have beard-nets for the men.
- They give you a $2 discount coupon per each adult to use in the shop there, or their store on St. George Street or the one on Anastasia Boulevard.
- You get to try the chocolate, it comes in squares, but aside from one, it’s unwrapped, so you can’t take it away.
Have picky eaters? Bring along a small ziploc bag to ‘take-away’ the chocolate samples they don’t like- great night-time treat for moms 😉
From white chocolate to chocolate gators- handcrafted fudge to chocolate wine. What’s your favorite kind of chocolate.
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