DURING THE MONTH OF LOVE (AND SWEETS), TAKE A TRIP TO THESE CANDY FACTORIES
If you just can’t take another Valentine’s Day being dazzled by dining and diamonds (as if!), then we say make the holiday all the gooier by road-tripping to some of our sweetest spots: candy factories.
The destinations around the country — California’s Jelly Belly Factory, the Pez Museum in Connecticut and the Hershey’s Chocolate World in (naturally) Hershey, Pennsylvania among them – are fun whether you’re out for romance or with the family and inexpensive, as long as you don’t stock up on sweets.
Visiting a working confectionery can be educational experience to boot. Who knew making a single jelly bean could take three weeks?
Where: Fairfield, California (roughly an hour from San Francisco, Sacramento)
What: Jelly Belly offers free 40-minute guided tours of their factory from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, during which you’ll get an inside look at what goes into making 150 different flavors of jelly beans and why it takes so long. You can see the working factory in action during the week. Machinery doesn’t operate on the weekends.
How: Reservations aren’t required. Information is available on the Jelly Belly website.
The Jelly Belly Warehouse in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin (that’s in between Milwaukee and Chicago) also offers tours. You can find information here.
Where: Denver, Colorado
What: Visitors see how Hammond’s candy canes, ribbon candy and lollipops are pulled, twisted and shaped by hand – as they have been done since 1920. Guides even throw in tidbits about the science of candy. Free 30-minute tours run every half hour from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays.
How: Small groups can just show up, but groups of 10 or more need to make reservations in advance. Information is available on the Hammond’s Candy website.
Where: North Canton, Ohio
What: The free 45-minute tour shows how Fannie May/Harry London produces 10 million pounds (yes, you read that right) of chocolate each year, using 30,000 pounds of chocolate and 10 gallons of vanilla a day. And if that’s not enough to whet your appetite, the tour ends with a free chocolate tasting, too. Tours run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
How: Reservations aren’t required for small groups or individuals, but groups 20 or larger must schedule in advance. Information is available on the Fannie May website.
Where: Clinton Twp., Michigan (near Detroit)
What: Visitors get the full story of chocolate, how chocolate is made and how Sanders and Morley Candy Makers got their start in Detroit. A stroll down the factory’s observation walkway lets visitors watch the creation of the company’s treats including treats like Coconut Clusters & Sea Salt Caramels.
How: Tour times vary with production schedules so advance reservations are required. Information is available on the Sanders and Morley website.
Where: Orange, Connecticut (near New Haven)
What: While watching Pez candy, as well as their dispensers, being made is certainly part of the attraction, the real draw at this factory is the museum-like collection of Pez memorabilia – the world’s largest. Visits are self-guided. The factory is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays.
How: Admission costs $5 for adults, and $4 for seniors as well as children ages 3-12. Each admission includes $2 credit toward a Pez store purchase.
Where: Hershey, Pennsylvania
What: Hershey’s Chocolate World is more of a chocolate-centric attraction than factory. The ride-like tour follows a cocoa bean’s journey from rainforest to chocolate bar. Chocolate World, however, also has candy-related activities, food and shopping – to say nothing of Hersheypark, the company-owned amusement park
How: The Hershey Chocolate Tour ride is free, but the price of visiting Chocolate World goes up from there depending on what you want to do or buy. You can create your own candy bar for roughly $15, for instance. A 30-minute lesson in chocolate, including tastes, costs just under $10. Details are the Chocolate World website.
This article was written by Diana Marszalek, contributor for The Daily Clutch.