Halloween puts us in the mood for candy—and tours of candy factories. Fortunately, the pages of Watch It Made in the U.S.A. are well stocked with factory tours about the sweet business of candy-making.
Famous for the witch trials that occurred there during the colonial period, the small port town of Salem, MA, has become the ultimate place for trick-or-treating in the U.S. Each Halloween unleashes a merry street party of weird and wonderful costumes that lasts well into the night. Though Salem may be associated with witches’ potions, Harbor Sweets concocts only the sweet variety. From the slightly raised gift-shop platform, you can observe the manufacture of its chocolate and caramel candies. Workers will gladly answer your questions. It's no wonder they have lots of energy to do so: if they make any mistakes with candies on the production line, they must eat them!
On the west coast, Jelly Belly Candy Co. in Fairfield, CA, churns out jelly beans 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A tour lets you taste the energy and vast scale of its operations in making jelly beans in over 40 flavors. The Jelly Belly Candy Trail, an elevated walkway through the huge manufacturing site, is your path through a candyland of intense aromas and amazing machines.
If your dream is to be surrounded by 500 kinds of candy, then you should visit Sweet Candy Company in Salt Lake City, UT. The company is owned and operated by the Sweet family (yes, that is really their name) and is best known for salt-water taffy, chocolate-covered orange sticks, and cinnamon bears. You can tour the giant warehouse, the taffy kitchen, the machines that make jelly beans, and the chocolate-enrobing room, among other areas.
A tour of Hammond's Candies in Denver, CO, reveals the secrets of making hard candy, a favorite among Halloween handouts. Water, sugar, and corn syrup mix in giant kettles at over 300°F, and workers add colors.
At Long Grove Confectionery Company, near Chicago, IL, giant chocolate sculptures loom over you as you arrive. The stuff of dentists' Halloween nightmares, these include a nine-foot-high Statue of Liberty that weighs over a ton and (looking forward to another holiday) a jolly 500-pound Santa Claus. A tour shows you the chocolate-making process through large viewing windows.
Chocolate is also the main product at Harry London Candies in North Canton, OH—with the unofficial slogan "any sane person loves chocolate." Gleaming white tanks and large vats swirl, mix, and heat up to 80,000 pounds of chocolate a day.
In Kentucky, Rebecca-Ruth Candies combines chocolate with—what else?—Kentucky's world-famous bourbon. The story of the two brave schoolteachers who founded the company richly pervades every nook of this tour.
If your sweet tooth craves more, dig into the pages of Watch It Made in the U.S.A., where you will find information about many other candy-making tours.
Posted By Karen Axelrod Oct 12, 2007