Visiting Valor in Villajoyosa

Last spring in Guadeloupe I visited an archeological park where I got to sample the pulp from a fresh-picked cacao pod. I heard more about chocolate cultivation at two coffee plantations. Given my obsession with chocolate, I decided to take the process a step further on my short visit to the Costa Blanca in Spain, where I took a tour of the Valor chocolate factory in Villajoyosa.

The Valor factory's sign, reflected in the factory building
The Valor factory’s sign, reflected in the factory building

The tour is free, and you just show up at the factory, take a ticket from a machine, and wait until the next tour. If it’s full—the maximum is 50 people—you’ll have to wait for the next one. Note that there are only two tours in English per day: at 11:00 and 16:00. Also keep in mind that despite the empty spots visible in their parking lot, tour participants may not park there, so you’ll have to cruise the streets around the factory to find a spot.

A Promotional Film

It was actually billed as a chocolate museum, but the first stop was a small hall where we were shown the obligatory film giving the history, in very vague terms, of the Valor factory and the chocolate industry in Villajoyosa in general. It was pretty minimal on actual information: instead, it seemed a long commercial for how wonderful Valor chocolate is, with lots of shots of people taking bites of chocolate and looking ecstatically into the distance.

A Museum

After the film, which prompted quite a bit of giggling at the sight of one apparently orgasmic actor after another, we were led to the museum itself, devoted specifically to the Valor factory’s history. The guide first explained how chocolate is processed at the plantation: the same information I learned in Guadeloupe. In Valor’s case the chocolate is imported from Ghana, Ecuador and Panama.

After her brief explanation, we were left to wander the few rooms of the museum, where old tools like cacao mills, weights, molds, and so on were displayed. Family photos emphasized that Valor is a family business, founded in 1881 and still run by the family.

The museum also displayed old Valor advertising, like this strange image of a nearly naked woman.
The museum also displayed old Valor advertising.

The Valor Factory

Next we entered the factory itself where, unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures. Our route took us upstairs above the factory floor, allowing us to view the conveyor belts moving the chocolate through the stages of production and packing. The guide told us that anywhere from 80,000 to 130,000 kilos per day are produced there, by almost 500 workers, though we saw very few in action.

Tasting!

The last stop was a “tasting room,” though it was as much a shop as a tasting room. We were offered tastes of both high-end chocolates, like some small chocolate cups filled with pineapple cream, and more standard milk chocolates or milk chocolate with nuts. The rest of the room, however, was lined with cases of chocolates for sale, and the shop did a brisk business.

These chocolates for sale at the Valor factory shop appeared to be topped with a small piece of gold leaf.
These chocolates for sale appeared to be topped with a small piece of gold leaf.

The museum was entertaining enough for an hour, though limited in that we didn’t learn much about the factory itself. I can’t complain, since it was free and included as much chocolate as I cared to taste. I chatted with some visitors from the UK during the tour, and they assured me that the Cadbury factory tour in Birmingham is much better. I can’t vouch for that myself.


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about Rachel

Hi, I’m Rachel!

Rachel’s Ruminations is a travel blog focused on independent travel with an emphasis on cultural and historical sites/sights. I also occasionally write about life as an expatriate. I hope you enjoy what I post here; feel free to leave comments! Read more...

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Yes, free chocolate tasting. I can’t complain about that either. Now that I think about it, I have never taken a chocolate tour. I once saw some explanations in Guatemala but nothing in depth. There were free tasting too (but limited).

I’m sure I’m in the minority of people who hate chocolate! But I like the idea of free tours – even ones that don’t allow you to take photos.

Well, I like the eating chocolate part of this tour and as you say – it’s free 🙂

I’m always up for a free chocolate tasting, however it would be nice to learn more about the factory. I visited the Cacao Museum in Lima, Peru and had fun making my own chocolate. Would love to visit the Cadbury one!

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