Tour the Gilbert Chocolates Factory!
We get asked all the time if tours are available, and the answer is YES! The FREE tour includes information about how chocolate is made, the history of Gilbert Chocolates, and an opportunity to watch our chocolate creation artists at work!
Tour groups are limited to 30 participants at a time; so if you have a larger group, please call us directly to discuss how we can accommodate you.
Stopped by on our roadtrip across Michigan, having booked the tour in advance on their website. Free tours are offered at 10 am on Tuesdays, in the big kitchen room behind the store. You have to wear a hairnet. We saw one short video (with props) about how chocolate is made and one about the history of the shop. Gilbert’s is over 100 years old and much of the candy-making equipment is the same age, lovingly preserved/restored by the owners.
When we arrived a big pot of liquid toffee was being stirred with a wooden spoon, then they poured it out on a slab of cold marble. One big circle for plain toffee, a smaller circle for mocha toffee. The hot liquid was quickly spread thin, then cut into squares using an antique hand roller thingie. Everyone watching got to taste. The children who were on the tour seemed as interested as we adults were. Next, “our” toffee pieces were put on a moving belt that pulled them into small machines that gave them a chocolate base, then enrobed them in a downpour of chocolate. The machines were mostly open so you could watch. Finally each piece was hand marked (so they can distinguish the mocha from the plain).
We also watched another craftsperson hand-making individual chocolate-pineapple candies. In the store out front they sold a wide variety; they say new flavors are frequently added. One local family on the tour bought turtle-like (I think) candies shaped like lower Michigan state. I individually selected about a dozen different flavors (one was key lime) of what I’d call bonbons to fill a box for a hostess gift; also bought 4 types of fudge for myself. They have blocks of several fudge flavors on display and will cut a chunk of the size you want from any block you choose.