We all grew up secretly envying the children’s hedonism in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Alas, there is no actual factory that consists of a candied wonderland where you can lick the trees, swim in a chocolate river and question whether the schnozzberry actually tastes like a schnozzberry. But there are factories close enough to achieve your childhood dreams scattered around the globe. Here are 15 awesome candy factories open to the public for a tour.
1. Jelly Belly – Fairfield, California
An hour north of San Francisco will take you to Fairfield, California, home of the Jelly Belly factory and tour. This 40-minute walking tour will show you the step-by-step procedure used to create a single jelly bean we all grew to cherish. Of course, the tour ends with sampling up to 150 jelly bean flavors from cream soda, to chili mango, to toasted marshmallow. Just make sure you don’t overindulge, otherwise, you’ll end up with a jelly belly.
2. Mast Brothers Chocolate – Brooklyn, New York
Hipsters galore! Head over to Mast Brothers Factory in Williamsburg and get a behind-the-scene tour that makes this New York’s favorite chocolate bar. During the tour, the room will smell of smoky cocoa since they roast the chocolate in front of you. The chocolate bars are easily recognizable by the unique packaging that resembles grandma’s house in the 1970’s.
3. Maison Cailler – Broc-Gruyere, Switzerland
What’s a better place to sample one of the world’s finest quality chocolate than in Switzerland? Located in a palace in a rural countryside, the factory produces the oldest chocolate recipe known to man in the country. During the tour, you will learn all about the old-fashioned way of making this priceless sweet while frolicking around like royalty.
4. Godiva Chocolate – Brussels, Belgium
This ever-growing popular upscale brand hails from Belgium. While the factory does not offer a personal tour, you can visit the premise by joining the Belgium Chocolate Tour that takes you to several chocolate factories (including Godiva’s). But a peek inside one of the world’s most famous sweet factory makes this tour worth it.
5. Perugina Chocolate Factory – Perugia, Italy
Not only does this beautiful Italian town offer a chocolate factory, but it also has a chocolate museum. Just call in advance to book a tour and state your preferred language. The tour comes in multiple languages and takes you on a journey to sample the freshest batch straight from the oven. Beware, once you get spoiled with the taste of the best, all other chocolate will taste like cardboard.
6. Theo Chocolate Factory Tour – Seattle, Washington
Not only will the Theo factory give you a tour, but also an interesting history lesson on cocoa. You will learn about the strenuous process of farm to table of their product, and every guest will leave the tour with their own specialized packaged chocolate bar. Thank you Jesus for bringing us our cocoa!
7. TCHO Chocolate – Berkeley, California
If you are visiting the Bay Area and have a sweet tooth, be sure to stop by the TCHO Chocolate factory. Originally located in San Francisco, TCHO moved to its new location to expand because of growing demand for their products. So hurry up, book a tour before they get too popular to be open to the public like, *ahem*, Godiva.
8. Albanese Candy Factory – Merrillville, Indiana
If gummied candies are your thing, make a pit stop in Indiana for the Albanese Candy Factory’s tour located just outside Chicago. You can embark on this kid-friendly tour by marveling at the process through windows and helping yourselves to tasty samples. Oh, and the public tour is free (our favorite price). The taste is so good, you’ll forget you had to drive down to Indiana to get there.
9. Pietro Romanengo fu Stefanos – Genoa, Italy
Hard at work since 1829, this factory marks one of the world’s oldest chocolate producing places and gives us that Kodak moment atmosphere. Be sure to memorize the name because this is a spot you definitely don’t want to miss out on.
10. Hammond’s Candy Factory – Denver, Colorado
This complimentary (that means free, ya’ll!) factory tour will allow you to experience how candies are ribboned, pulled and formed into candy canes and lollipops. No reservation is required for a group with less than 10 people.
11. Webb’s Citrus Candy Factory Tour – Davenport, Florida
Come on down to get your favorite tangy sweet from (where else?) Florida. Opened since 1932, this historic factory will let you taste old-fashioned tropical tidbits of oranges, limes and coconuts. If that isn’t your thing, don’t fret, the factory also offers fudge and chocolate bars for the non-adventurous eater in you.
12. James Salt Water Taffy – Atlantic City, New Jersey
Home of chintzy jewelry, aqua nets, casinos and delicious taffy, Atlantic City is a great destination to satisfy your sweet tooth. At James Salt Water Taffy’s tour, you’ll witness the making of taffy being pulled and prepared for you to eat. This factory also produces fudges, chocolates, gelatos and macaroons (the whole bacchanalia!).
13. Spangler Candy – Bryan, Ohio
Come and witness your least favorite ubiquitous lollipop (Dum-Dums) in action. At this factory, you will get a tour on the process of this world-famous treat and ride a trolley (yay!). After the tour, be sure to invest in a Dum-Dums t-shirt or baseball cap (they make great gag gifts).
14. Boehm’s Candy Factory Tour – Issaquah, Washington
Offering delicious peanut brittle and bear claws, Boehm’s allows you to embark on a self-guided window tour to watch the old-fashioned treats get made. There’s such a surplus of wonderful chocolate tasting that you should probably schedule a trip to the dentist before going.
15. Hershey’s Chocolate World – Hershey, Pennsylvania
Hershey’s park is the next best thing to a real Wonka factory. This insane factory controls the whole city of Hershey and is laden with roller coasters, lavish hotels, topiary arts, and of course…chocolate. After a day at Hershey’s, you’ll walk out feeling brainwashed and drugged with chocolate euphoria (pack some tums).