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4.15.2007 - 44 comments 

If you really knew me... you'd know that I have absolutely loved Jelly Belly® Jelly Beans since the first one I ever tried way back in about 1976 or 1977. That is when I was actually working in Downtown L.A. That is why I have posted this picture of me taken at the Jelly Store in Wisconsin of all places. Just to prove how far I will go to prove my obsession with these delicious little morsals of taste pleasure!

So what actually started the Birth of the World's Most Famous Jelly Bean? The idea was born in Los Angeles, just next door to Hollywood. Yes, the home of countless famous movie stars is also the birthplace of The Original Gourmet Jelly Bean®.

Back in 1976, a Los Angeles candy distributor had an idea for a jelly bean made with natural flavorings. So he called up the candymakers at Jelly Belly® (formerly known as Herman Goelitz Candy Co.) who had a reputation for making the very best candies. Creating "true-to-life" flavors was, well... if you'll pardon the pun... a natural evolution. The candymakers cooked up a recipe for a new kind of jelly bean -- intensely flavored throughout, with natural ingredients for flavoring whenever possible. In 1976 the first eight Jelly Belly® flavors were born: Very Cherry, Lemon, Cream Soda, Tangerine, Green Apple, Root Beer, Grape and Licorice. Funny enough they are still some of the most popular flavors made.

I love almost all of the flavors (except a few odd ball ones like bloody Mary mix and the Jalepano flavor). There are some that they come up with and then don't continue to make, but they now have 50 standard flavors of Jelly Belly's. But all of the miriad of these sweet sensations and a world of delight await you at the Jelly Belly Center, a mouthwatering stop located off the I-94 Milwaukee/Chicago corridor,near the state line. The Center is designed so visitors can take a tour of our warehouse (really, it's fun!) and taste the magic of "the original gourmet jelly bean," Jelly Belly®.

You'll start from Jelly Belly® Junction, and hop on board the Jelly Belly® Express train for a tour inside the large warehouse and distribution center. The 30-minute ride makes stops at a variety of Stations with large screen videos showing the company's century of candy making and how we make candy corn, jelly beans, taffy, gummies and more. They even had those weird ones from the Harry Potter's films and the new J.B.'s which are sort of a knock off off M&M's (although for my taste) they are not as good as M&M's and now where even close to being as good as the Jelly Belly® jelly beans.

Fun sights make the Center a destination for family fun. You can see a dancing chorus line of Jelly Belly® characters and be surprised by "Candy Alley" with its six-foot giant jelly beans suspended from the ceiling. In the large retail store hungry fans can taste samples of the 100 candies we make, or shop for sweet gifts. Visitors can also stop for hot dogs and drinks at the snack bar. The snack bar was done simliar to a 50's diner motif with a lot of bright cheery colors. They actually give you free samples of any flover you want to try (as they hope you'll find several flavors that you just can't live with out)!

There were many interesting things that we learned on the tour about how they are made (via large screen video presentations). Like some of the historical facts I listed above. But really this one in Pleasant Prarie, Wisconsin is really just a distribution center and a place to take tours and NOT ACTUALLY the factory where they make them. The real factory is up in Fairfield, CA and is on my list of places to visit when we are out in California on vacation this summer.

This Tour site in the state of Wisconsin (not being the actual factory) was my biggest dissapointment. And perhaps NOT an exotic destination, but, "It doesn't make me love JELLY BELLY'S® ANY THE LESS!" ~ LZ Blogger

One additional note for those of you who may not know... My blogger friend Kelly over at the "Secret Squirrel" actually nominated my "LAZY Blogger" site for the Best Travel Blog. When I went to check it out, I saw that I had only 4 votes, so I quickly registered to make it a grand total of 5. I was somewhat surprised by some of the candidates on there. If you want to, you can go directly to my nomination and sign up at NO COST and vote for me... (well assuming) that you like my blog as the best travel blog that is? You'll find it at: http://www.bloggerschoiceawards.com/blogs/show/1024
As of this posting, I was up to 26 votes and was tied for fourth place at one time, but am currently 7th in their stack rankings. Just in case you wondered?