For those with a serious sweet tooth, a factory visit is a great way to see how your favorite treats are made and get the chance to sample rare or unusual flavors not available anywhere else. If you’d like to take a pilgrimage for your palate, these factory tours will hit the spot.
The Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury, Vermont offers everything visitors would expect and a few wonderful surprises. The half-hour factory tour provides a standard overview of the company’s history and the opportunity to see their ice cream making machinery in action. However, there’s a special treat at the end of the tour: visitors get the chance to sample experimental flavors that haven’t been released yet. If a sample just won’t satisfy you, you can visit the full-service Scoop Shop and order up a sundae. Long-time Ben & Jerry’s fans can pay their respects to the flavors that are no longer with us at the Flavor Graveyard, where every discontinued variety has its own headstone and commemorative poem.
At the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, California, tour guides take you through every step of the jelly bean production process. Along the way you get to sample jelly beans at various stages of completion, in case you’ve ever wondered what a Jelly Belly tastes like without its colorful candy shell. At the end of the tour is a free sample bar where you can taste any of their nearly 100 flavors. On your way to the gift shop, visit the art gallery where you can see portraits of the Beatles, Ronald Reagan, and other celebrities made entirely of Jelly Belly beans.
Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania is the Disney Land of factory tours. In fact, it has so many attractions that the Hershey’s Chocolate World website offers a personalized trip planner. This factory visit is all about customizing your experience with activities like the Create Your Own Candy Bar station, where you can go on the factory floor and make the Hershey bar of your dreams. Kids will enjoy the Dessert Creation Studio that allows them to decorate their own cookies and cupcakes with Hershey products. Free samples abound and there are always seasonal events in addition to the regular chocolate-y attractions.
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