Friday, July 26, 2013

Finding Nature in a Candy Factory

We recently stopped at Albanese Candy Factory and Outlet Store on our way back home from Fair Oaks Farm. I (who me?) was talking to a lady at the farm who mentioned a candy factory, so I thought we should check it out. It is located a short drive off of I-65 near Merrillville, Indiana. There is loads of other shopping in the area (too much for me!). They only source their food products from the US and Canada, which is good to hear in many regards.

There is a self-guided tour with TV screens and videos that overlook the operation of the plant. This only took about 5-10 minutes, but was a good educational tool to see the process of the plant. The videos talked about what was happening and the machines used. We could then look through the windows and see the process at work. The self-guided tour was just along the inside wall of the back of the shop, so it was very accessible. The last video looked more at how they process chocolate, which reminded me of our visit to the South Bend Chocolate Company (this is a nice close to home alternative). We saw video of the trees with the pods, the seeds being fermented, and the rest of the chocolate process. It's great seeing nature and humans interact! There are also guided tours available for groups of 12 or more. 

So, yes, it's fun to visit a candy store, but what does it have to do with nature? With the colorful fake flowers out front, I wondered. However, they had several nature related items (in addition to the chocolate video) in the garden/gift section of the store. These owls were cute! There were also cute frogs! They sell gummy frogs too. As this is the Outlet Store, they also sell seconds, so there were huge bags of gummy frogs with slight color variations for only $6. Not that I need that many gummy frogs right now, but it's good to know! It was also good to see where our candy comes from and the process it goes through to get to mouths. 

There were other bright and colorful decorations. I felt like I was under the sea in this section.

The shop was busy with customers going ga ga for candies. We found some ourselves!

I mentioned the seconds earlier. This makes the candy slightly more affordable to try!

There were also many nature based gummy items, such as butterflies, worms, frogs, and more!

I would recommend this stop if in the area. We had sleeping kids in the van, so I just took a couple of boys in with me while my husband stayed with the rest. We spent 15-20 minutes while there. This is not a destination visit, but is fun to do if nearby. There are many options to buy (if desired) or you can have a quick peek at the factory process.