I’m pretty sure that’s not how the old nursery rhyme goes but that’s how our “reward trip” Philadelphia Chocolate Tour and our visit to the City Sports store went after the Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k.
I’d originally heard about chocolate touring when I’d visited Chick Bec back in October. We’d gotten LivingSocial deals for the Boston Chocolate Tour and had a fantastic time checking out the sites, and chocolates, of Boston with Chick Cam and Jenn.
The idea of a chocolate tour is quite simple: visit chocolatiers to sample some of their finest products (and buy more, if you’re so inclined!). Some places even give discounts to tour patrons; there’s no pressure to buy anything but the option is there.
Naturally, when we saw the LivingSocial deal for the Philadelphia Chocolate Tour, Vic and I envisioned a lovely March day of walking around the city, eating delicious chocolate and having a grand time. Well, at least two out of three of those happened!
We found our tour guide, Laura, and the rest of our soppy but otherwise happy group. After Vic took a quick picture and Laura called a group that didn’t show up to tell them how they could reschedule, we scooted around the block, which was blessedly under the cover of an overpass.
Once we were shielded from the elements, Laura gave us a little history of the Chocolate Tours company and chocolate in Philadelphia. We learned that Philly is the number one city for cocoa bean imports in the country, in part because the Hershey and Mars factories are located nearby. In addition to the Boston and Philly Chocolate Tours, there is also a Chicago Chocolate Tour (road trip!?!).
The members of our group introduced themselves, sharing their favorite types of chocolate, and then we headed inside Reading Terminal Market to our first two stops.
If you’ve never been to the City of Brotherly Love, you might not be familiar with what Reading Terminal is… which is pure AWESOME. It’s been around since the late 1800’s and is an indoor market with fresh produce, meats, fish, crafts and goods, coffee, and (most importantly for this tour) chocolate opportunities!
Our first stop on the tour was The Famous 4th Street Cookie Company (which, if anyone is wondering, is near 12th street). Vic and I had drooled over these cookies as we’d passed by earlier, so we were very excited that we’d be able to get a sample! We tried their chocolate chip cookies and everyone was quite pleased that they were warm and fresh out of the oven, made especially for our tour group.
And? There were extras so we all got more! Delicious! I can see why they’re “famous” and I’ll definitely be stopping by on my next Philly excursion.
Reading Terminal was quite active, perhaps more so than usual given the rain, but we had no issues following Laura through the crowds to our second stop, the Pennsylvania General Store.
At this kiosk we were treated to chocolate scrapple and Wilbur buds. If you’re not from the area, you might not be enlightened as to what scrapple is: a mixture of meat scraps and cornmeal that’s formed into a loaf and fried. It’s commonly found in the Northeast region of the U.S. Thankfully, the chocolate scrapple didn’t involved any pork products (although there was a chocolate covered bacon at this store), but did have a delicious mix of marshmallow, popcorn, and nuts. Good stuff! Since my husband is a huge scrapple fan, I wound up getting him a package of the chocolate scrapple there and was pleased to see that they gave the tour group a discount. Score!
Wilbur buds are also a regional treat; the manufacturer is located in Lititz, Lancaster County, Victoria’s hometown. She’s no stranger to the Wilbur buds and suggested letting the chocolate melt a bit in our mouths before biting. The dark chocolate was so heavenly.
We had to travel through the streets of Philly a bit to our next location, which was a bit off the beaten path, in a jewelry and accessory store called Verde. There, tucked into the shop, was Marcie Blaine’s artisanal chocolates.
This spread was aesthetically pleasing, as were the jewelry and purses in the store. We were given a white chocolate Pub Crawl bark sample, which was white chocolate with crushed pretzels, smoked almonds, and cashews. It was okay, but Vic and I were both pretty disappointed because neither of us really like white chocolate and the truffles were fairly pricey, so we didn’t really get a good feel on whether we enjoyed the chocolates at this stop.
The rain was unrelenting at this point and there was no dodging the puddles (or drunk St. Patrick’s day celebrators) on the streets. Thankfully the next stop on our tour was the never-disappointing Teuschers of Switzerland. The small store is tucked into The Shops at The Bellevue on Broad Street and charming in every which way.
Once inside the store, we were greeted by two associates who gave us a more in depth history of Teuscher and then invited us to try the champagne truffles. I’d actually tasted the champagne truffle at their Boston location so I knew what a treat we were in for! Both Laura and the associates suggested taking a bite of the truffle to fully taste the champagne and chocolate middle.
It was absolutely incredible! Vic couldn’t resist and wound up getting a small gift box.
Our last stop was farther away, right in the heart of Rittenhouse Square. Our tour guide mentioned that on a nicer day, we would wander through Rittenhouse Square Park but on this day, we were just looking to get out of the rain that had turned to hail.
Capogiro Gelato was the final stop on our tour and Vic and I were no strangers, having visited a couple of years back with a friend who lives in the area. We both love gelato but weren’t expecting it on a chocolate tour. We were each given four spoons and ceramic ramekins were passed around the group with four flavors: chocolate, hazelnut chocolate, peanut butter chocolate and double chocolate.
As we wrapped up, we bid our chocolate tour group a fond farewell. Thankfully City Sports was just a few blocks away. By this time we were a bit tired and cranky but knew that we had a very important task to do before we took the train back into New Jersey – picking out the City Sports Philadelphia shirts for our giveaway winners!
We took our job very seriously, picking the best of the best.
Jayme and Shannon, your shirts will be on their ways soon, complete with a lot of love, a bit of St. Patrick’s day drunk and a small sprinkle of Philly rain. Bec, our Boston representative, will be getting Kate’s City Sports Boston shirt.
Between the Adrenaline 5k, our Philadelphia Chocolate Tour, and City Sports, it was a full and satisfying day!
Have you ever done a food or drink tour in your area? Should we check it out? Let us know in the comments.