I love chocolate . . .I really, really love good chocolate. I found Dallas by Chocolate on line and thought the tour sounded great. I mean — how great is this going to be? According to the website, you get to ride in a limo or limo bus and eat different chocolate creations at every stop. The tour description says groups are small (15) and they recommend wine (BYOB) to go with the chocolate. We will be going to 4 different locations:

• Empire Baking Company

• Bolsa Market

• Dude Sweet

• Rush Pastisserie

Sounds great! I book a reservation for myself and my husband. Then my friend from Houston heard about it and booked it for his family. Then, I told my daughter about it and she flew in from Phoenix to join us. So 6 of us are on this tour. We start our tour at Empire Baking Company. Our hostess at this stop, Meaders Moore Ozarow, shared the history of the company, some information about the process and how it differs from bulk bread companies and where the supply their breads and sandwiches.

Empire Baking Company is an artisan bakery where we sampled breads, brownies, Chocolate Chubbie Cookies and granola bars. The start seemed a little slow but it did offer a convenient place to gather and park for the tour. Then we jumped on a crowded shuttle bus and headed to Bolsa Mercado in Oak Cliff.

Bolsa Mercado opened in Nov 2011. Bolsa Mercado is a high end market and deli which offers local produce and products. How about some coffee from Oak Cliff Roasters, or Avoca in Fort Worth, Beth Marie’s Ice Cream (Denton), jam from JJ&B (Plano) and the list goes on.

But today we are there to taste Nib Chocolates. Nib Chocolatier Stephen Smith meets us with samples of his Texas Tortuga. Smith offered a brief explanation about what a chocolate nib is and how he incorporates them into his custom chocolates. Not a lot of information but more than I knew before.

The group gathered and went back onto the bus and head to Dude Sweet, fortunately just a few short blocks away. I’ve been a fan of Dude Sweet for some time. Honestly, I can’t decide which is more enjoyable – the unique flavored chocolates they create or the staff, who is very friendly and always entertaining. See full review here: Dude Sweet Chocolate Review

Then a little unscheduled detour for a chance to have a slice of Smooth Operator at a 2 day pop-up pie shop – The Emporium Pie Shoppe — which was in Oak Cliff for two days only. I cannot wait to get my hands on another slice of Smooth Operator. In keeping with the chocolate theme of the day, the Smooth Operator is the best chocolate pie I’ve ever eaten! I confess! This detour was my doing since I’d been there the day before and bought samples of each of the three pies being offered – Bro Nana, Pecan and, of course, Smooth Operator. Full Review here: The Emporium Pop Up Pie Shop Review

A second detour to 10 Bells Tavern, which is still under construction, who invited the tour to stop by and check out where they will be located when they open in a few months. Nothing chocolate but fun to see the “before” look at what will soon be an new place to eat and drink in Oak Cliff.

Then off to the highlight of the day. Rush Patisserie. Miss Samantha had Champagne with chocolate Macaron’s waiting for us. She is a French trained pastry chef, trained a Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Her uncompromising standards are evident in everything she makes. Despite her awards and her wares being featured by Godiva Chocolates and her Kringles being a top seller in the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog, she is a warm, intelligent, friend to all who enter her door. This was a great way to finish the day.

The Good:

• it was cheap at $25

• They were flexible to try someplace new on spur of the moment

• I was introduced me to a new favorite place, Rush Patisserie, and Miss Samantha.

The Bad:

• It was not the luxury trip I expected from the website

• It was crowded and uncomfortable with 26 people on an older shuttle bus designed for 24 max.

• Staff did not seem to have much knowledge of chocolate, just a love for it. I really hoped to learn more in addition to sampling some (but far from all) the chocolate Dallas has to offer.

Location: Dallas by Chocolate and Dallas Bites Food tours