Because I had to head to San Jose, CA for a Demi Lovato concert tonight (courtesy of Hallmark), we thought we would stop by and take a Jelly Belly Factory Tour and try some of their new and amazing Chocolate Dips! The Jelly Belly Factory is located in Fairfield, CA and we pass it everytime we drive to the Bay Area, to see hubby. You can actually stop in for a tour (no appointment needed), daily from 9am-4pm. As a family, we have taken the tour once or twice, but we decided to go with my brother and his family, since they are visiting from Arizona. Hubby had to miss out on the fun today, due to classes. He gets to catch up with the kids tonight while I take one of the twins (6) to the concert.
Despite the crazy lines today, we had a great time. Everyone who goes on the tour gets one of these special Jelly Belly hats, which you have to wear through the whole tour. The tour takes you around the whole factory, where you are looking down on the workers, who are working vigorously to make the very special little candies known as Jelly Bellies. In this factory, they also make the Sunkist Fruit Gems, which I am a big fan of. In this photo, the Fruit Gems are being bagged by hand. I’m not sure if these were the gems that didn’t quite make the cut and end up in the caseload sale, or not – because of their imperfections. That’s my guess. I’ll take ’em – perfect or not!
Throughout the tour, you stop on occasion and watch a short video about the history of the Jelly Belly. You also learn that President Ronald Reagan was a HUGE fan of Jelly Bellies. They even have a portrait of him, made out of Jelly Bellies. There are several large portraits and pictures, throughout the tour, all made of Jelly Bellies!
Did you know that the Jelly Bellies that aren’t quite perfect, go into their own category? They are called Belly Flops! They bag these babies up and sell them at a discount. They taste just as great, but maybe have a minor physical deformity. Perhaps two Jelly Bellies are fused together. Some look fine to me, but they didn’t make the cut for some reason or another. It was this man’s job to sit and sort the buttered popcorn beans, and feel and look, for any beans that shouldn’t get bagged with best of the best. I’m not sure what he was looking for, but every so often he would just throw a bean overboard. There was a small pile of beans on the ground, that had been swept for disposal. Not a lot of beans met this fate, but there were a few.
During the tour, everyone gets to sample 3 Jelly Bellies, at the different phases of production. First you get a bean that is the jelly covered in sugar. Then the bean gets a powdered coat of some sort, which I quite enjoy. Lastly, you have your finished Jelly Belly. Mmm
Of course, as you walk by the rooms and rooms of Jelly Bellies sitting in their racks, drying and what not, you can just smell the sweetness of these little beans. Not to be teased and tortured, the tour ends with your very own little bag of beans. This tour was extra special because the bag of beans we got, were the tasty Chocolate Dips. These are chocolate covered Jelly Bellies, which are my new favorite! It was a decent sized bag too! The entire process is just fun and fascinating. You can even stop and eat in the food court, where you can get pizzas and hamburgers, in the shape of a bean!