Have you ever wondered how your favorite chocolate or ice creams are made?
Not all food brands welcome hungry guests, but there are some that allow visits to the factories or plants. We came up with a list of four particularly drool-inducing spots.
Harry and David -- Medford, Ore.
The company that made mail-order pears famous was founded in the heart of Oregon wine country in 1886. Today, H&D also turns our creamy chocolate truffles, cheesecakes, cakes, different fresh fruits and an addictive Moose Munch popcorn covered in chocolate and toffee.
Tourists can explore this massive campus courtesy of a guided tour, which goes by the 200 acres of fruit orchards where you can see plump pears and peaches hanging from the trees.
Indoors, you get to watch the fruit being sorted and boxed, walk through the candy kitchen to see the truffles in flavors such as dark chocolate being hand rolled and tour the aromatic bakery where the cheesecakes and cakes are also mixed and baked by hand.Thankfully, every tour ends with a generous sampling of the goods, including cookies, chocolates and fruits.
Tours are $5 and run Monday through Friday, with four tours per day, starting at 9:15 a.m. It's advisable to book in advance. Visit the Web site for more information.
Scharffen Berger -- Berkeley, Calif.
Chocophiles, this one's for you.
The first part of the tour, in Scharffen Berger's brick headquarters building, includes a presentation on the history of cacao and teaches visitors how and where cacao beans are grown and processed.
Then it's on to a history of Scharffen Berger itself and a tasting of its chocolates such as the 41% milk almond bar with sea-salted almonds and the 82% cacao extra dark bar. The second part of your visit is a walk through the factory where the chocolate is actually made. Be sure to wear closed toe shoes for safety reasons, and go on a weekday if you want to see the machines operating.