Monday, February 2, 2015

Yummy Candy

I'm behind in my blogging. What's new right? Well, lots of things so I'll be adding in all kinds of content and back dating the posts.

First up is a really yummy field trip we took at the beginning of February. We headed south to Westbrook which is located just north of Portland. Our destination? Haven's Candy.

We arrived early and browsed their retail store. They had lots to browse! It was obvious they were all ready for Valentine's Day.

As soon as the rest of our group arrived we started with a history of how chocolate is made as well as the history of the company. I learned quite a few things about chocolate I didn't know before including the fact that white chocolate is really cocoa butter - a byproduct of the chocolate making process. 

Then we headed in to the manufacturing area. First up was the room where they make flavored popcorn and salt water taffy.

Salt water taffy pulling machine in the background.

They were on the process of preparing for Easter. The typically prep 3-6 months before a holiday with the exception of Christmas. We were told that they will begin prepping for Christmas in July by making solid chocolates that have a long shelf life. They tend to make things that will last longer further out from the date while those that won't last closer to the date of the holiday. For example, we were told they would spend the Friday & Saturday of Valentine's Day hand-dipping thousands of strawberries to ensure they are fresh!

The table was full of bunny corn (I think that's what it was called) - flavored caramel popcorn. We were all able to taste some. My oldest doesn't like caramel popcorn so wouldn't try it. However, when he was told it tasted nothing like regular caramel popcorn (and it didn't!!) he tried it. It actually tasted like Fruit Loops!

Next we went in to where the chocolates are made. The first machine was making chocolate covered graham crackers. Yum! We learned that all chocolates have a design placed on the top and those in the chocolate industry know exactly what kind of chocolate it is (including flavored fillings) based on those designs. 

This chain was putting a wavy design on the top.

They were in the process of taking white chocolate bunnies out of the molds. It was interesting to learn about how these are made. They even had made a few that were 36 inches tall. It takes (I think) about eight to ten hours to make one. One even had money ($1000) hidden inside! They were raffling them off (I think - thus the issue with trying to recall details a month later - at my age).

They melt 10 pound candy bars to make the liquid chocolate they need to make all of their items. It's huge!

We were each given a little goodie bag of "seconds" at the end of the tour. All very yummy and a great way to pass the time on the ride home - sampling chocolates!

I've been wanting to take this tour for quite some time. However, because it is a factory, no child under eight are allowed to go inside the manufacturing area. My youngest is now 11 so we were able to finally check it out. It was worth the wait!

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