With Valentine’s Day just a couple weeks away, you can’t miss the ample amounts of candy and chocolate in every grocery and convenience store. Instead of just picking up a bag of Valentine-themed candy for your kids this year, though, why not show them where these sweet treats come from. Whether you have time for a quick road trip or need to stay local, you don’t need to go far to show your kids a candy-inspired good time.
At Albanese Candy in Merrillville, your family can go on the only public tour in the country that shows how gummies are made. All tours are free and your family can go on a self-guided tour any time during normal business hours. For larger families, or a group trip, call ahead to schedule a guided tour from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday. Both tours feature 10 windows into the factory showing the gummi manufacturing process, plus videos with additional information on the company’s chocolate production. Don’t miss the factory store while you’re there, where you can purchase all types of gummies, chocolates, nuts and other confections.
An easy one-hour drive on the Indiana Toll Road will take you to the South Bend Chocolate Factory, where your budding chocoholics can see the entire candy manufacturing process from mixing and enrobing to cooling and packaging. Choose from either the free tour or the Inside Scoop tour, $4 for adults and $1 for kids. Both tours include a walking tour of the factory while the Inside Scoop tour also includes the opportunity to dip a spoon in chocolate and the Chocolate Museum, full of chocolate boxes, molds and other memorabilia the owners have collected. Visit the Chocolate Café after your tour for a scoop of ice cream, a cup of hot chocolate or coffee or to just purchase some candy. Factory employees recommend both tours for ages 4 and up. Walk-ins are welcome, but larger groups should call ahead to make a reservation.
Albanese Candy is located at 5441 E. Lincoln Highway in Merrillville and South Bend Chocolate Factory is located at 3300 E. Sample St. in South Bend. For more information on Albanese Candy call (219) 947-3070 or visit www.albaneseconfectionery.com. Contact South Bend Chocolate Factory at (800) 301-4961 or visit www.sbchocolate.com.