Every year, my daughter and I take a girls’ trip somewhere fun. This year, she and I decided to go west to the San Francisco Bay Area and its famous Jelly Belly Factory!
Like school girls, we both giggled when we drove-up Jelly Belly Lane and saw a Jelly Belly covered Volkswagen parked in front of the factory.
The tours are offered seven days a week, except for holidays and we’re told more than a half-million people visit every year! Candy vendors like me are afforded a closer look. We received a private, behind-the-scene tour designed to give us an in-depth knowledge of these gourmet jelly beans!
Our very special visit included an up-close and personal tour on the factory floor, where we discovered bins filled with rainbows of brightly colored Jelly Belly Beans, huge machines, and Jelly Belly food scientists, making all the magic happen! It was like being in our own episode the Food Network’s Unwrapped!
Steam baths, sugar showers and a resting period mark the beginning of this magical process. After which, all the Jelly Bellies wind-up in an “engrossing pan,” a copper dryer-like device, where they are flavored with syrup and coated with sugar. From there, each one goes on to be polished to a shine and emblazoned with the famous Jelly Belly logo.
The whole process takes 7-10 days and they churn 1.25 million Jelly Belly Beans a day!
In our hour-long tour, here are some other fun facts we learned:
*Jelly beans are one of the most popular candies in the world.
*Cherry is the #1 selling flavor.
*Buttered Popcorn is the most popular
*Pear (my personal favorite) is the 4th most popular.
*There are 50 official flavors.
*Each Jelly Belly bean has four calories and zero fat
*If a bean isn’t perfect it is called a Jelly Flop. Instead of going to waste, they’re sold at a discount at the Jelly Belly Factory shop. Misshapen or not, these colorful little treats are just as yummy as the ones sold for retail.
The sweetest part came at the end of our tour when our delightful guide gave us tons of samples. We are now true Jelly Belly fans!
To take a visual tour, shop on line and learn some more fun facts visit: www.jellybelly.com.
If you are ever in Fairfield, California, which is just north of San Francisco, this field trip is a must for candy lovers!
Speaking of road trips!
Some of you know that one of the many fun things we do at the Sugar Rush is throw birthday parties where the little ones decorate aprons, cupcakes, eat ice cream, pick out their favorite candy to take home and share lots of laughs and fun with their friends.
We recently got a call from a daycare/learning center full of too many tykes to transport to the shoppe. So we decided to take Lola’s Sugar Rush to them! Mary, the manager of the shoppe and I braced ourselves for a very harried experience. Turns out, the kids were an absolute delight and I think Mary and I had just as much fun as they did!
If you are looking for a unique birthday experience that your kids will remember for the rest of their lives, check out the details on our Parties page and give us a call. After all, the only thing better than being a kid in a candy store is being a kid in a candy store on your birthday, surrounded by all your buddies!