7 in your neighborhood: Geneva chocolate tours

February 18, 2012 8:56:09 PM PST
Nestled on the banks of the Fox River is the town of Geneva, which is becoming an increasingly popular destination for chocolate lovers, thanks to Chicago Chocolate Tours.

The company branched out to include Geneva two years ago to feature several shops that are points of interest for chocolate fans.

"We've got a series of five staple chocolatiers that we always work with and each month we rotate in some of our newbies," said Chicago Chocolate Tours founder Valarie Beck. "There's just so much great chocolate here we hate to leave anyone out."

The Geneva tour meets on the third Wednesday of the month, usually kicking off at Graham's Fine Chocolates, which has been in business for 25 years.

The owner says the tour has been great for bringing in clientele from near and far.

"When we do the chocolate tours, there will be somebody in the tour who has heard of us and will give a testimony of how great they love our place," said Graham's Fine Chocolates owner Robert Untiedt. "I don't have to say anything. They tell the story for me."

A tour guide gives customers a chocolate history lesson, as well as some background on each business they visit.

Along the way, there's plenty of time for tasting chocolate delicacies and buying some to take home.

Customers say it's a fun way to spend a few hours, even if you're not a die-hard chocolate fan.

"You can give yourself a treat and come down with friends, catch up do walking, be outside, taste some great chocolate," said Lee Joyce.

"I think everybody would be interested in learning the history and what chocolate can do for you and the healthful components of it too, which I'm all about," said Sarach Vetter.

Each chocolate shop on the Geneva tour is within walking distance and the store owners get a chance to describe the treats unique to their shop.

The tour has become quite popular and it's common to see repeat customers.