Scott's turn again at the Stuff We Like thing!
Our friends are here from Italy for three weeks, so we've been wracking our brains for things to do with them. We have the good fortune to live fairly close to the original Jelly belly factory, which gives free tours, so this was a natural.
I first encountered Jelly Bellies the week princes Di got married - I remember this because my Dad had done this time share thing in San Diego, and we spent a day in front of the TV watching the royal wedding.
Anyhow, we went to La Jolla, where we found this wonderful store called Uncle Mary's, that served peanut butter, banana and honey sandwiches, and that had two rows of these wonderful new things called Jelly Bellies.
For those of you who have never had them, they are basically little jelly beans. But the innovation the Herman Goelitz Candy Company had was to add flavor not just to the outer candy shell, but to the inner jelly part too. They are AMAZING little taste explosions.
The factory is really cool too. There's a ton of automation, but there are still many people on the floor to keep things running smoothly.
After they make the jelly centers, they use these rotating "cement mixers" to add the candy coating. They have to monitor them by hand, adding sugar and syrup in the right quantities and at the right time until they are coated and polished perfectly.
This woman is in charge of removing the mis-shappen ones and the Jelly Bellies that are clumped together. I think she's working on Buttered Popcorn Belly Bellies, one of my favorite flavors.
All the flavors for a given blend are added to a conveyor belt in the proper quantities, and then are mixed together perfectly.
Did you know there's also Jelly Belly art? This one was my favorite. Ronald Reagan? Not so much.
One word of warning - watch out for the Bamboozled flavors. They look just like the normal ones. But they have terrible flavors! They are fun party gags, though!
Here's the saddest thing we saw all day. Someone killed Mister Jelly Belly.
But seriously, the factory tour is well worth your time if you are in the area. It's free, and you can make your own mix of your favorite flavors in the Jelly Belly story afterwards. My recipe?
But maybe you'll prefer Rotten Egg and Stinky Socks? ;)