Honestly, I can’t remember why Jonny and I started Candy Gurus. I think it was because we were tired of reading un-entertaining reviews about candy we didn’t want to eat. Back in the mid oughts (’05 -’08) there was a complete lack of knowledge on some of the most important candies, like Haribo and a lot of stuff from outside the US, and we thought, “hell – SOMEone has to teach the masses about what candies to get fat on.” Getting samples and special treatment from candy companies wasn’t the motivation. But when organizations with very fine folks like Jelly Belly contact us with new confections and invites to go on factory tours – we’re in baby!
(Yes, they are the best. Feel free to send us other beans you think compete. We’d be happy to review them.)
Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Jelly Bell factory is in the Gurus’ backyard, so it wasn’t more than a hop, skip and jump to Fairfield, CA. We had the good fortune of getting a tour from John Jamison, a VP of retail for the company. John knew a lot and he was the consummate company man. More of an evangelist than just an executive. Tons of energy and uber pumped to be hocking jelly beans.
We got a special tour because if you haven’t figured out yet: WE’RE VERY SPECIAL. But as I said above, anyone can get a tour and the tours for the masses weren’t that different than what we went through. You get to taste the jelly beans at various stages of life and you get to see all the machines. The main difference is we got to wear funny clothes, had a tour guide all to ourselves, and we were close to the machines and lots of noise (they ain’t quiet). The main tour on the other hand is in hallways above the factory floor.
A few cool take-aways we learned:
– Jelly Belly’s aren’t just flavored on the inside, but the outside too. Maybe why their flavors are super and not just ‘general’.
– The #1 flavor is very cherry, which is quite good. Know what the #2 flavor is? First person to guess right in the comments is great.
– Jalapeno was a flavor in the past, but when put in a mixed bag the other flavors would take on the taste and heat. So now they make chili mango and let me say: two yum(b)s up.
But hey, don’t just take those smiles on the pic below at face value – go and visit yourself!