Scottsdale Chocolate Tour by Lynette Carrington Photos by Madeleine Photography What? You’ve never heard of a chocolate tour? Sure, there are a lot of things that are unique to Downtown Scottsdale and the Chocolate Tour of Scottsdale is the most deliciously engaging experience you will find! Ofelia Montelongo is the CEO and Founder of Chocolate Tour of Scottsdale and she has developed a fun tour designed to dazzle Scottsdale residents and tourists alike. Scottsdale.com photographer, Madeleine Schaffner accompanied me on this exciting tour and we couldn’t wait to see what was in store for us. We began by meeting up with Tracy, our tour guide who greeted us with a chocolate “care package” that included a bottle of water, some coupons to use after the tour and some other chocolate goodies. Throughout the two mile walking tour, Tracy also gave us fun bits of chocolate trivia and information about Scottsdale. The tour is conducted in the cooler parts of the year, so during the summer, you can visit any of this delicious tour stops on your own. Samples at each destination may change, due to availability and seasons. For tickets, visit www.chocolatetourofscottsdale.com. Private tours and gift vouchers are also available.Zak’s Chocolate – Zak’s Chocolate is not a physical stop on this tour, but one of their samples was included as our first chocolate nosh. Zak’s Chocolate is located at 70th Street and Shea in North Scottsdale. The small batch craft chocolate factory and tasting room starts with cacao pods and works through the meticulous process of creating craft chocolates and bars. Remarkably, the only three ingredients used in Zak’s Chocolate are organic cacao, organic cane sugar and organic cocoa butter pressed in-house! For more information, visit www.zakschocolate.com. Chocolade van BruggeOur first stop was Chocolade van Brugge at 4225 N. Marshall Way, Suite #2. The traditional Belgian chocolate shop is owned by Frederiek and Christine Verbeke. We simply could not believe the artistry and beauty that goes into the production of these fine chocolates. Both Schaffner and I were able to take a few samples from the generous display case. My favorite was the caramel apple chocolate. Unlike most American chocolates, these Belgian delights are beautifully crafted with exceptional ingredients. We particularly loved the cute chocolate figurines that were for Easter and the Belgian chocolate high heeled shoe was just gorgeous. Chocolade van Brugge is also a perfect place to go for seasonal and festive chocolates and there is something for everyone. Now this is how a chocolate shop should be! We ended our tour at Chocolade van Brugge and you can check out that experience at the end of this article. Click here for more info on special events, dipping parties and wine-pairing parties.Classic Cakes and Confections With each stop on Chocolate Tour of Scottsdale, our tour guide Tracy had great trivia to share and immediately had us connect with the owner or manager. At Classic Cakes, located at 7144 E. Stetson Dr. Suite C-100, Scottsdale, we met Neil Levinson. We were immediately greeted and were able to try a chocolate cake truffle, which was nothing short of sinful! While in the store, we also marveled at the meticulously crafted custom cakes. From stacks of ornate pillows, to a robot and even a designer purse, Classic Cakes and Confections can literally make one of its scrumptious cakes look like anything! The cakes are simply put, works of art. In fact, if you will be having a wedding or special event, Classic Cakes would be the choice of custom cake shops. There is also a nice variety of bakery items and candies available for purchase in the store. During the Chocolate Tour of Scottsdale, each destination extends a discount for items if you would like to purchase something that day. For more information, visit www.classiccakesandconfections.com. The Herb BoxNext stop was The Herb Box at 7134 E. Stetson Dr. #100, Scottsdale. On its upper level, it is a distinctive dining destination with shared plates, greens-filled plates, tacos, enchiladas and grill entrees, vegetarian, dishes, weekend brunch and much more. Downstairs at The Herb Box is a large selection of bakery items, fresh grab-and-go sandwiches, bakery items and more. During our visit we had a chocolate whoopee pie with vanilla frosting that was died green and dusted in “Leprechaun gold.” It was thick, rich, delicious and whimsical, without being too heavy. Since our tour was on St. Patrick’s Day, we relished this Irish-inspired treat. For more information, visit www.theherbbox.com. CaketiniWe headed into Scottsdale Fashion Square to pay Caketini a visit. Located on the upper level next to Nordstrom, Caketini is a sinfully delicious bakery full of signature and custom cupcakes, cakes, cake pops, truffles, drinks and much more. We were treated to a chocolate chip covered cannoli stuffed with sweet ricotta cheese. Holy canolli! They were amazing. We also had our eyes on the cupcakes which come in varieties like carrot, salted caramel, key lime, orange blossom, German chocolate and just about every other flavor you can imagine. These cupcakes are huge and well worth the indulgence! For additional information visit www.caketini.net Godiva ChocolatierThe gourmet Belgian chocolatier is known for its exceptional chocolates and fun gift items. We were able to sample one of Godiva’s luscious chocolates. Since Easter was right around the corner at the time of our stop, the entire store was decorated in brightly wrapped chocolate eggs, chocolate Easter bunnies, truffles, Easter baskets and more. Class, taste and sophistication are what people have come to expect from Godiva, and as expected, they once again have delivered! For more information, visit here for additional Scottsdale store information, or call (480) 990-3423.Sprinkles Awesome polka-dot coded cupcakes baked with magic and love is what people have come to expect from Sprinkles cupcakes. The store’s popularity never wanes and the cupcake destination at Camelback and Scottsdale Roads is always busting at the seams with customers… and with good reason! Cupcakes include regular, gluten-free and sugar free varieties. We tried a mini chocolate cupcake with chocolate sprinkles and as expected, it was Sprinkles-perfect. Other cupcake varieties include strawberry, chocolate marshmallow, coconut, red velvet, triple cinnamon, lemon and my personal favorite, banana, among many others. Don’t miss the fun Sprinkles ATM that will dispense individually boxed cupcakes 24 hours a day. A perfect ending to the perfect day of Scottsdale shopping! Visit www.sprinkles.com for more information.We looped back into Old Town Scottsdale and Chocolade van Brugge was our final stop. This was the proverbial icing on the cake of our Chocolate Tour of Scottsdale. We were treated to a Liege Belgian waffle with a smooth, almost cookie-tasting spread that tasted like it was straight from heaven. This Belgian waffle is made fresh to-order and is from an old Verbeke family recipe. It is a fluffy, slightly sweet waffle with an oh-so-slight-crunchy outside that literally melts in your mouth. I believe this Belgian waffle is the most amazing thing I have eaten in 2016. Please make it a point to get over to Chocolade van Brugge and take your friends. Also, we heard that the hot chocolate is to die for, so that will be the next thing on our list when we visit this sweet store!CEO and Founder of Chocolate Tour of Scottsdale, Ofelia Montelongo says, “I was in London for the summer studying over there. There were lots of chocolate places in SoHo.” From her experiences, Montelongo wanted to recreate that chocolate magic right in Scottsdale and has succeeded. “It’s a win-win because we bring people into the stores,” she explains. “The best thing is that I get to meet the best people!” For a photo gallery, to buy tickets and read more about the Chocolate Tour of Scottsdale experience visit http://www.chocolatetourofscottsdale.com/about-the-tour.html.