By Matt Kite – photo by Rob Green
Brown & Haley is maker of Almond Roca, Mountain Bars
We had driven by it hundreds of times. Not once had I noticed the sign on the side of the old building. Finally I spotted it.
“Did that say Almond Roca?” I asked my wife and son.
“Yes!” they answered in unison as we zoomed by on I-705.
“They make Almond Roca here in Tacoma?” I asked.
We’d lived here nine years. Since that seemed like already enough precious time wasted, my son and I dropped by the Brown & Haley factory a few days later. Taste buds at the ready.
Brown & Haley, in case you don’t know, is the maker of Almond Roca. The Tacoma company has been churning it out since 1923, two years before our old Craftsman home was built. The “crunchy, log-shaped candy piece suffused inside with butter and coated with chocolate and diced almonds” earned its name from a local librarian and has been delighting toffee aficionados ever since. I know I’ve never opened a Christmas stocking that didn’t contain at least a handful of the delicious treats, each one wrapped in gold foil.
Although Brown & Haley no longer offers factory tours, you can still take a virtual tour. And, better still, you can drop by the factory store any day of the week to sample the goodies on hand. I can’t remember everything we tasted during our visit the other day. But the words peppermint, macadamia, cashew, and dark chocolate got through to my brain before I lapsed into a dreamy sugar coma.
While you’re visiting, be sure to check out the assortment of candies available. Peppermint bark. Legendary Mountain Bars. We even spied boxes of Almond Roca Cookie Bar Mix. And don’t be afraid to ask about the company, which has been cranking out “a full line of candy products” since 1916, exactly 100 years ago. The saleslady who helped us was as generous with the samples as she was with the history lessons.
Before our visit, we figured this would be a one-time visit. Just to satisfy our curiosity. But the bargain prices, not to mention the chocolate still staining our lips, convinced us we’d be wise to return. How cool would it be to hand out Mountain Bars to trick-or-treaters on Halloween? And wouldn’t we be a big hit at the next Christmas gathering if we arrived with an assortment of different flavors of Almond Roca?
Not that we needed an excuse to return.