Boehms Chocolates


Boehm’s has been making chocolate confections in Issaquah, Washington since 1956, when founder Julius Boehm moved his operation there from Seattle as the surrounding mountains reminded him of his homeland. The Boehm’s website indicates that they give tours at the factory and through the chalet from June-September, Monday through Friday, at 10:30am, 1pm, and 2pm by reservation.

I made a reservation on said website for a 1pm tour for two people on a Thursday in September, indicating in the reservation form that they should call me if there are any issues with the reservation so I could make other arrangements. Imagine my surprise when both my friend and I arrived promptly at 12:55 and were rudely informed that there was no tour that day, that they only give tours through September. Apparently, neither their calendars nor their telephones work. We were then told we could take the window tour, which makes one feel like a starving Dickensian waif looking upon the riches of the gentry. “Please sir, I want some more!”

Thus began the reading of scotch taped signs in windows, or how it shall henceforth be known: The Pissed-Off Lack of Information Can’t Believe I Drove 45 Minutes to Take This Window Tour. I could just say that the Boehm’s staff is rude and disorganized and leave it at that. But since I took The Pissed-Off Lack of Information Can’t Believe I Drove 45 Minutes to Take This Window Tour, I’d like to share it with you as well. I’ll share the information I was able to glean from the tour, but if there are any questions I have that could have been answered by a tour guide, I’m going to put a made-up answer in its place. And now, on to the tour! window tour

Julius Boehm learned to make candy and pastries from his grandfather in Switzerland. He was an Olympic athlete and avid outdoorsman, who used his mountaineering skills to escape from the Nazis. Why were the Nazis after him specifically? Let’s say it’s because he built a life-size chocolate Hitler and bit its head off. I also like to imagine that there was a tense mountain chase scene, with Boehm skiing furiously across the Alps with the Nazis hot on his heels, throwing cherry cordials at them to make them lose their footing. Boehm remained an athlete until the day he died, becoming the oldest man to summit Mount Rainier at 75, and breaking his own record at 80. After moving to the United States, he started a candy shop in Seattle, eventually moving to Issaquah and building his own chalet, the first building of its style in the area. After he died, his friend and head cook took over the company. copper kettle

A sign helpfully informed us that this is a copper kettle. You don’t say! They use it to mix and heat stuff, “the ingredients” as the sign said, so I don’t actually know what goes in here. Let’s say witches’ brew. Some candies are completed in this kitchen area and others continue into the rest of the factory. I don’t think anything chocolate-related is done in this room, but again, I couldn’t say for certain.

coating chocolate by hand

In this window, the sign pointed out that the employees were gloveless, but didn’t elaborate as to what is done to sanitize their hands. It also didn’t go into why they look so unhappy, but that may just be conjecture on my part. I can say that chocolate has never looked so unappetizing to me. The sign says that hand-dipping is a dying art (it takes a year of practice to master!), with fewer than 200 hand-dippers remaining in the United States today. Companies? Individuals? I’m going to go ahead and assume elves.

drizzling chocolate

Truffle and cream centers are rolled into long ropes, which are then pinched off, rolled, and then coated with chocolate. Once covered, the candy is placed on a tray to cool and a design is drawn on the top to identify its flavor. Is this the origin of the phrase “pinch a loaf”? I will venture to guess “yes”. old chocolate turkey

Here is a molded chocolate turkey that looks like it could be thirty years old. They have other molds, from little crosses to giant dolphins that weigh 37 pounds. Are people who are in the market for 37 pounds of chocolate all dolphin fanatics? How much does a 37 pound chocolate dolphin cost? How does one eat a 37 pound piece of chocolate? My guesses are “yes”, “$600” and “while snuggling it in a hot tub, letting it melt into your mouth and your various nooks and crannies at the same time”. Then came a sign telling me that if I wanted to learn more, I could make an appointment for a scheduled tour and my head exploded. bulging loincloth

What in the hell is going on here? Epic dongs. And that’s the tour, folks! I hope you learned something: namely, to take the Theo tour instead.  

9 Comments Boehms Chocolates

  1. Sara Maximoff December 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    1. I made an appointment for a tour in June for while a friend was in town. The called the day of and asked if we could do another day & time, because we were the only ones on the tour and they’d rather not do a tour with just two people. We went to Theo instead.

    2. Thanks for letting me cross this off my to-do list with no remorse or wasted time.

    3. You sound like fun. Let’s be friends?

    1. Mellzah December 29, 2014 at 9:59 am

      Hahahahaha WOW, I’m sorry you had a bad experience but at the same time, I’m glad it wasn’t just me! Stay classy, Boehm’s. And yes, let’s be friends!

  2. Emily August 2, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    You seem like a very cynical, annoying, and irritating person. But that’s just my personal opinion 🙂

    1. Mellzah August 3, 2015 at 10:40 am

      I can’t please everyone, and luckily you have an entire blog on which to base your judgement of my character. I only have your comment. 🙂

  3. Laura August 5, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    I would have to say that I’m sorry that you weren’t able to get on a tour but it is very immature to make fun of a great person who strives to do their best. Plus all the sarcasm in your story doesn’t make it funny or interesting. As I see you took pictures of “unhappy” employees or they could be just working and focused on the job at hand. It is also possible to look up more information on the subject if you weren’t sure. As it seems you had no idea what was happening. Just this over all post in rude and disgusting.

    1. Mellzah August 5, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      You’ll note that your friend/family member at Boehm’s who is “a great person who strives to do their best” was rude to me first, wasting my time, effort, and gas money, and certainly not earning themselves any goodwill. There is no point in offering a tour with a guide to answer any and all questions if they aren’t in fact prepared to give that tour when someone makes reservations. That said, my intention here was not to mock any individual employee and, in fact, I specifically said that their appearance of unhappiness could have been conjecture on my part. The entire point of this post was that I went to Boehm’s looking to learn, was denied, and thus didn’t learn anything, having to substitute made-up ridiculous “facts” in place of everything I could have learned.

      1. Laura August 22, 2015 at 1:52 am

        Mistakes can happen to anyone and it seems that you don’t truly understand that. Instead of complaining about questions on the tour you could have ask someone who works there for further information. I am assuming you were too bitter to do so. You went to Boehm’s to learn and you learned quite a bit I would say. From what you saw it is still quite a treat. Maybe the next place you travel to will be more willing to help passive aggressive customers. But we can only hope.

        1. Mellzah August 24, 2015 at 10:49 am

          So just to be clear, what you’re doing now isn’t passive aggressive OR bitter, right? Because I would hate for you to look like a hypocrite.

  4. Laura H. August 5, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Classic and hilarious. Thanks to the trolls for bringing it to my attention, I’d somehow overlooked this.

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