Posted on December 5, 2012 by Indiana's Cool North
Say “chocolate factory” and I immediately think of the “I Love Lucy” skit of Lucy working the line. So I was super excited to find a life-size photo cutout of Lucy and Ethel at the entrance of South Bend Chocolate Factory in South Bend. Take your picture with the wacky pair for a cute photo.
The free tour begins with a brief history of chocolate, and then you’re ushered into the heavenly kitchen where the chocolate is melted down, blended with other ingredients, molded into shapes, and enrobed onto popcorn, malt balls, pretzels, nuts and more. “We don’t actually make the chocolate, but we finish it in extraordinary ways,” says my guide.
Be prepared to wear a hair net in the factory. I opted for the extended tour, which costs just $4 for the golden ticket, entitling you to a special dipping demonstration and a spoonful of chocolate. “That was the best $4 I’ve spent in a long time,” a 40-something man in my tour group says. He wasn’t even perturbed by being asked to wear two hairnets—the second one on his beard. Our tickets also got us a bag of samples, including malt balls and caramel corn. Those of us whose appetites exceeded our sacks could stock up in the store at the end of the tour. I highly recommend the red candied dried tart cherries and the chocolate-covered pretzels!
I love the 30-minute tour and that the factory is located on Sample Street. You can also pick up South Bend Chocolate’s delicious confections at stores throughout northern Indiana, including South Bend, Mishawaka, Rolling Prairie, Michigan City and Valparaiso.
Freelance writer Kim Ranegar is from Valparaiso, but she travels for chocolate.