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PEZ, Orange, Connecticut
Photograph: Courtesy PEZ Candy USAPEZ, Orange, Connecticut

The best food tours in the USA

The best food tours in the USA offer a behind-the-scenes look at how your favorite comfort foods are created

Written by
Lauren Mack
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Ever wonder how jelly beans get their color or how potato chips are made to be perfectly crunchy? Learn the secrets behind your favorite snacks straight from the source on one of the best food factory tours in the USA. 

While some classic food factory tours – like the ice cream tour at Ben & Jerry’s in Waterbury, Vermont, the kettle chip tour at Cape Cod Chips in Hyannis, Massachusetts, and the tea production tour at Celestial Seasonings in Denver, Colorado – remain closed due to the pandemic, there are many food factories open for food fanatics to enjoy the ultimate tour de feast. From potato chips and classic fortune cookies to jelly beans, let culinary curiosity be your guide during your next road trip by taking a detour to a food factory.

Best food tours in the USA

Ever wonder how paper fortunes make their way into a crescent-shaped fortune cookie? Witness the fortune cooking-making process for yourself at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in San Francisco, CA. Located in Chinatown, Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory has been making custom fortune cookies by hand since 1962. Each day, the team makes 10,000 cookies on a rotating cast iron griddle. Sample classic fortune cookies plus chocolate, green tea, and strawberry fortune cookies after the tour.

The family-run Goodrich’s Maple Farm offers free tours of its sugarhouse, which contains one of the largest sap evaporators in the world. The family taps more than 125,000 trees each maple sugaring season in March and April. The 30-minute tour includes learning about the history and process of making maple syrup, from tree to table. The tour concludes with a stop at the tasting table to sample maple products like syrup, spreads, and jellies.

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Since 1920, this Denver confectionery has been making sweet treats in the Mile High City. Opened by Carl T. Hammond, Sr., the candy factory offers complimentary tours to see how its famous candies are made. The 30-minute Hammond’s Candy guided tour includes a short video presentation and a factory tour. Peer through large glass windows to see how candy canes, lollipops, and other classic candies are created. Visitors also get a free sweet treat.

Hop aboard the Hershey’s Chocolate Tour ride for a sweet trip to see the iconic chocolate’s journey from bean to bar. The free 30-minute tour concludes with a free sample of Hershey’s chocolate. Part of the Hershey’s Chocolate World complex, chocoholics can also purchase additional experiences like the 45-minute Create Your Own Candy Bar, the 30-minute theatrical show Hershey’s Unwrapped: A Chocolate Tasting Journey, the 45- to 75-minute Hershey Trolley Works, and the 30-minute 4D Chocolate Movie. Make a day (or stay) of it riding the amusement rides at Hersheypark.

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Located halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento, the Jelly Belly Visitor Center offers $5 self-guided tours. A series of videos, interactive exhibits and games, and an elevated quarter-mile walkway offering views of the production floor demonstrate how jelly beans are made. The Jelly Belly Visitor Center also includes the Jelly Belly Jelly Bean Art Gallery, Jelly Belly Candy Store, Jelly Belly Café, and Jelly Belly Chocolate Shoppe and Fudge Counter.

Learn all about the pellet-shaped candy at the 4,000-square-foot Pez Visitors Center in Orange, Connecticut. The self-guided tour includes a history wall, videos showing how Pez and Pez dispensers are made, and viewing windows that look over the packaging production area. The visitors center also includes the world’s largest Pez dispenser and the largest collection of Pez memorabilia in the world. The $5 tour includes a souvenir lanyard, a $2 store credit to use toward same-day purchases, and the chance to win a free Pez dispenser by playing the game of the month.

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The guided Snyder’s of Hanover walking tour includes a visit to the pretzel-maker’s raw material warehouse, finished materials warehouse, packing room, and oven room. Along the way, guests 5-years-old and up learn about Snyder’s of Hanover’s history and see how pretzels are made during the free, 30-minute tour. Each participant receives a free bag of pretzels at the conclusion of the tour, which ends at the factory store.

Located three miles inland from Vermilion Bay, Avery Island is a salt dome famous as the home of Tabasco hot sauce. Learn how the fiery pepper sauce is created during the self-guided Tabasco Avery Island Fan Experience. During the tour, visitors learn about the history and production of Tabasco sauce from seed to shelf. The complex also includes the 170-acre Jungle Gardens, a country store, and Restaurant 1868. Tours are $12.50.

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The self-guided tour at Tillamook Creamery gives ice cream lovers the scoop on how the creamery has been creating its exceptional ice cream for more than a century. The tour includes several exhibits on the farm and the creamery’s history and a viewing gallery to see the ice cream making process. Tillamook Creamery also offers premium experiences, including the $40 Honorary Tillamook Taste Bud: Exclusive Ice Cream Experience with a Creamery Expert, which includes Tillamook swag and testing and tasting ice cream as an honorary sensory team member.

Take in the aroma of fresh potato chips during this 30- to 45-minute self-guided Utz Chip Trip Tour at the 600,000-square-foot Utz factory in Hanover. During the free tour, visitors can peer through the observation gallery at the factory floor to see the potato chip production process from start to end. Along the way, an audio guide and exhibits explain the history of Utz and its snack products.

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