Advance paid reservations are required for all tours.
Discovered by natives of South America before recorded time, delicate cacao trees grow only in the 20 degrees on either side of the Equator. They are still harvested by hand on large and small plantations in such exotic locales as the Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Malaysia, and Peru.
Europeans became aware of the strong, bitter drink enjoyed by Mayans and then Aztecs when Montezuma served a small cup to Cortes in 1519.
Want to know more?
Sign up and meet your Chocolate Safari guide at the Discover Houston Tours table inside Ruggles Cafe Bakery on Rice Boulevard in the Village. Restrooms are available.
We recommend coming at least 15 minutes early in order to find a space to park. Although there are many areas designated for parking in Rice Village, parking lots can become crowded during peak hours. Free parking is available along the streets, in designated store parking lots, and in several area rooftop parking lots. Paid parking is available on some streets and at The Village Arcade [www.villagearcade.com/events.php].
We've chosen a special itinerary for this Chocolate Safari. Way beyond chocolate-covered strawberries.
* We start with introductions. Ruggles' manager will give us each complimentary tastings and talk briefly about their unique bakery and specials.
* Your tour guide will talk briefly about Rice University and the architecture and shopping in Rice Village.
* We'll cross Rice Boulevard and hunt for the chocolate department inside The British Isles. You'll enjoy a little chocolate while you're there.
* We'll walk around the corner to Plate & Bottle, where your guide will discuss how and where chocolate is grown and harvested. You'll receive a flier that tells you even more about chocolate.
* You will sample one piece each of white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate, pairing it with complimentary coffee or wine. The three tasting chocolates come from local retail outlets, manufacturers, and chocolatiers that vary each week.
* At our fourth stop, Chocolat du Monde, we'll each savor a tasting square of imported French or Belgian chocolate flown in fresh every week, then choose a complimentary gourmet treat. You'll also get to see what a cacao pod looks like.
* Where better to end the tour than at the Chocolate Bar on University Boulevard, a store devoted to chocolate candy, cake, and ice cream. Tour the store with your guide, then taste the various flavors of ice cream.
* Finish the tour by answering some questions and winning some bite-sized chocolates.
We recommend that you have a good breakfast before the tour. There is such a thing as too much chocolate on an empty stomach.
Please bring a container to hold the trophies you don't eat on the tour and a bottle of water to cleanse your palate between tastings.
Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather since we will spend time walking through the Village. We do the tour rain or shine and hot or cold, unless the weather is dangerous.
Ruggles Cafe Bakery (View)
2365 Rice Boulevard
Houston, TX 77005