Charlie’s current DVD obsession is (not surprisingly) “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”… both the old and new versions. Since there aren’t any real kid-friendly tours at chocolate factories within a reasonable (or tolerable!!) driving distance, Ryan and I decided to treat the kids to an old favorite of ours: The Jelly Belly Factory!!! So on March 12, 2013 we took a short road trip out to Fairfield, CA to see how our favorite jelly beans are made.
If you haven’t tried a Jelly Belly bean, you are easily one of the most sweet-tooth deprived people I know. They are delicious and come in some incredible flavors…The most popular of which (we learned on the tour!) are Very Cherry, Buttered Popcorn and Black Licorice. There is something for everyone!
Inside the factory is the gift shop and chocolate shop (with free fudge samples!), free sample bar (with free Jelly Belly bean and candy samples!), the Jelly Belly Cafe and the information desk and line for the tour.
Although we ate before arriving, I was pleasantly surprised by the pricing and offerings at the Jelly Belly Cafe. Most food items were $3-$4 and shaped like Jelly Beans.
The tour itself is absolutely free! It took about 40 minutes and actually managed to keep Charlie’s attention. Before you go, keep in mind that hats are required on the tour. Fun “Jelly Belly” paper hats are provided if you don’t have your own hat. The boys LOVED the paper hats!
Before entering the factory, our group was gathered in an upstairs lobby for a short orientation. The lobby walls were covered in Jelly Belly art, which both boys really enjoyed looking at…and I’m pretty sure JD wanted to eat!
No cameras are allowed inside the factory itself but I can tell you that the tour consists of following a guide along second floor pathways with windows that look down at the factory floor. There are stop signs along the walkway where the group would stop so the guide could tell us about the process happening in that area of the factory, show us a short upbeat film about it and give us samples of the Jelly Belly beans at that stage in the process.
After the tour, each of us was given a souvenir bag of Jelly Belly beans and a suggestion card. We learned that most of their jelly bean flavors came from guests at the Jelly Belly Factory tour so we were all encouraged to suggest flavors on our suggestion cards. I suggested “Sweet avocado” like my favorite tapioca milkshake. My sister Accalia suggested “Spicy Mango”. Charlie suggested “Snozzberry”, thanks to his favorite movie(s)!
After the tour, the boys were eager to hit the sample bar. They must’ve tried every single flavor of Jelly Belly!
Inside the gift/candy shop is a chocolate counter where the freshly-made chocolate offerings were displayed. They had everything from truffles, fudges, chocolate barks and even chocolate molds of everything from teddy bears to dinosaurs.
Next to the chocolate counter was a glass wall (lined with carmel and chocolate dipped apples) where we could watch the chocolates being made. The boys watch white chocolate lollipops being poured into moulds and chocolate-rice crispy-marshmallow cups being mixed and scooped into trays.
Before leaving, we stocked up on “Belly Flops” in the candy/gift shop. Belly Flops are Jelly Belly beans that are considered “irregular” shaped. They taste just as yummy though! A special was running during our visit: Buy 3 bags of Belly Flops, get two free! At $9 per 2 pound bag, that meant we went home with 10 pounds of Jelly Belly beans for $27. Not bad, for our only cost!!!
The Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, CA
Breakdown of Costs:
FREE! – Parking
FREE! – Tour Admission
$27.00 – 10lbs of “Belly Flops”
Total cost of a Jelly Belly Factory visit for three adults and two children:$27.00 (the price of stocking up on our favorite jelly beans!)