candied cocoa beans

Are you a chocoholic?  I am and just thinking about that creamy, smooth and delicious treat makes my mouth water!  If you too are crazy for cocoa, I know of a place that will make many of your chocolate dreams come true!  Chocolate Kingdom, located in Kissimmee, FL, is a family owned business where you can lose yourself on a tour that includes a prince, princess and the Mystical River of Chocolate.  On the tour, you will meet Prince George the Good and his dragon who are on a quest to find the perfect birthday gift for the apple of George’s eye; Princess Chocolina on her 21st birthday.  Although many young men tried to present the perfect present to Chocolina, George will bring his love an exquisitely sweet pair of chocolate shoes!  I am afraid I would be going barefoot if I was brought a pair of shoes made of chocolate! After George’s dragon sneezes and melts the shoes he was to give to Chocolina, George must find the Chocolate Kingdom to make her another pair.  We had to help George figure out how to make chocolate for his love!

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While making our way through the Chocolate Kingdom, we learn about the cacao tree, the cocoa bean and how they are transformed into chocolate.  Once the raw chocolate is sorted, roasted, and ground, it is then run through a machine that dates back to the 1920’s.  This machine is the only one in the world that is still functioning and producing the family’s secret recipe for their milk, dark and white chocolates. With tours taking place each hour from 1-7 PM, you have plenty of opportunity to see the wonder of the Chocolate Kingdom.  While you are there, you will want to stop at the retail store where you can find an enormous array of chocolate treats made right there on the premises.

Cocoa Trees

One very interesting stop on the tour was to the greenhouse where you will find real cacao trees, also known as Theobroma cacao.  These trees are typically found in faraway areas like Ecuador, Nigeria and the Samoan Islands, which are 20 degrees north or south of the equator, which is known as the Cocoa Belt.  These hearty trees can grow to over 40 feet with its leaves growing only 2-4 times per year.  The fruit grows into an egg shape and can be as long as one foot and the fruit, which is first seen in years 3-4 of its planting, can continue to grow for 50-60 years. Below are all of the various stages it takes to bring a cacao plant to a cocoa bean.

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As we continued on our tour, we were given samples of the chocolate at its many stages from bean to bar.  We were able to see how the chocolate is compressed to extrude the cocoa butter like in a machine below.

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As the tour concludes, you are given the chance to create your own chocolate bar in the chocolate of your choice,  and you can add any three additional ingredients that range from nuts and fruits to pepper or bacon!  I created a dark chocolate bar with cocoa nibs, cayenne pepper and dried cranberries. I also bought a bag of candied cocoa beans. Those are what are pictured at the very top!

For chocolate lovers worldwide, kids with a curiosity that can only match their sweet tooth and everyone in between, the Chocolate Kingdom is a sweet spot for a visit while in sunny Florida.

  • Hours of Operations: Monday – Sunday: 12 pm – 8 pm The Chocolate Factory Tours take place at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm and 7pm.
  • Price: Cost for the Chocolate Factory Tours are $15 for adults and $12 for kids (4-12 years old). The tour takes 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete.
  • Location5720 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway Kissimmee, FL 34746 For Information Call: (407) 705-3475

If you need more info before travelling to Kissimmee click on Visit Kissimmee Florida. This trip was provided by Experience, Kissimmee and you can follow along our travels on Twitter at #Kiss10. Don’t forget to enter the The Decade of Kissimmee Memories Contest!!