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6.24.2007 - 65 comments 

To those of you who remember my post about the Jelly Belly® tour in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin a couple of months back, this post should not be a surprise. I stated in that post about my love for Jelly Belly's® and my desire to visit the ACTUAL Factory someday to see how they are really made. It should also be no surprise that I was like a kid in a candy store going through this factory.

The only really downside for me on this tour was the fact that they won't let you take photos inside the factory. (So as a result) I don't have those to share with you. But I do have the information that I can remember. I found that several people (especially those of the shorter variety with their parents) were just in the tour for the FREE Jelly Bellys® at the end of the tour. Can you imagine that?!

We stood in line waiting for the next tour to start, for what seemed like hours, but I think it was more like 15 minutes or so. The tour was given by a kind of young (20-ish) kid who looked like he took his job very seriously and when he said "NO PICTURES INSIDE THE FACTORY" I was afraid that he might actually take my camera away from me if I even tried to sneak a shot of one of the big old vats full of VERY Cherry Jelly Bellys®.

Before we even got the "NO PICTURES" talk, we were given these little paper hats to put on as we went on the tour. I am sure this was really a ruse to make you aware of the hat and not aware of the camera you wanted to use instead of wearing their silly little hat. But in spite of that... I brought the hat home as a souvenir too.

As we walked along the tour he would ask questions about Jelly Bellys®, all of which I happen to know the answer to (but only whispered to the lovely Mrs. LZ) who knows of my Jelly Belly obsession first hand. Although the only question that I didn't answer correctly was the one about how long it takes to make a Jelly Belly. I told Mrs. LZ it was 14 days. Well, the tour guide said 7 - 21 days, so I assume that not all the Jelly Bellys® cure at the same rate. I got the one about 4 calories per jelly bean, they started with 8 only flavors and I got them all right. All of which are still the most popular ones (although) I think he mentioned that buttered popcorn may now be in the top 10 and rising higher each year.

We walked along and saw these polished stainless steel mixers that looked more like cement mixers than they did candy making devices.The whole factory seemed to be just as clean as a whistle (of course) I would not have expected anything less from my favorite candy maker.

As we moved from station to station, we learned the chronology of the beans and about all of the natural flavors that they use for those. A rather cynical thought crossed my mind as I though about some of those new Harry Potter flavors that they have come up with over the last couple of years. For those of you that are NOT aware of those... let it suffice to say, "I've tried them... but if they did away with them, my life would not miss a beat!" But I am sure that they are all the hit with the pre-pubescent boys these days.

After we got to the end of the tour, our guide passed out bags of Jelly Bellys® and a little bag of JB's® which are very M&M® like candies only with the outside hard coatings of different flavors of chocolate. After that we were let out into the shopping area where there was not only a lot of Jelly Bellys® for sales, but also they had a chocolate bakery (really? yes... really)! They had things that looked much like pastries, but were actually made from pure chocolate of different flavors.

Then there was the cafe which served burgers and pizzas in the shape of guess what? Yea... that's right!... Jelly Bellys®. Cute, but really not what I came for. I had something a little sweeter in mind. The two story high walls with pictures of Jelly Belly and candy corn and other candies on it was also very impressive (and cute too)! The motorcycle with the side car in the shape of... yea you guessed it... a Jelly Belly®, was also very cute.

But the one thing that caught my eye, was the area where they sell the famous belly-flops (as they are called). They are the beans that for one reason or another, were not perfect. Some were 3, 4 or even 5 beans of the same flavor all stuck together, but most were just a little bigger than the perfect Jelly Bellys®. Frankly, I saw many that looked just fine to me, and they all tasted great, even if I didn't always know what the particular flavors were. As I was stocking up on these things, I thought, "will I have enough room in my suitcase for all of these?"

I am not much for more than one photo on a post, but I wanted you to be able to see this motorcycle and both the inside and outside of this place which "to me" may rival that place in Anaheim, California (with the Mouse) for the title of the "Happiest Place on Earth!"

"I have so many favorites, but the Strawberry Daiquiri was my favorite as a kid. It was total foreshadowing of a boozy young adulthood! I'll never forget the time I asked the girl behind the counter for 100 grams of Strawberry Day-queer-ee. She rudely corrected me, but I ask you, what sort of proper 10 year old knows how to pronounce Daiquiri?" ~ RubyRed ~ from a post on a culinary website (of all things) posting about Jelly Bellys®