Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour
Driving some of the most beautiful hillside roads I’ve ever seen, I felt like the luckiest person in the world. Traveling around a country as big as the USA can be pretty tiring, especially when a lot of it is done in a mini-bus, but it’s an awesome way of seeing as much as possible.
One perk of overland travel is the fun pit stops and roadside attractions. I mean, how else are you going to visit the world’s biggest apple?! One of the best I’ve made was on Trek America’s Northeastern BLT Tour when I got to make the pit stop of my dreams, aka the Ben & Jerry’s Factory.
Ben & Jerry’s Guided Factory Tour
Nestled in the hills in Waterbury, Vermont, close to the resort town Stowe is the factory of dreams. Holding my ticket, I basically felt like I was holding Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket. Seriously though, I challenge anyone not to be excited standing in front of the Ben & Jerrys Factory. Never has there been a truer rhyme than “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream”. If it meant getting into the factory, I’d have screamed and screamed until I was sick.
Luckily that didn’t happen as we had reservations for the 30-Minute Guide Factory Tour. Waiting for our slot, I stood in the most delicious sugary-smelling lobby and paid a visit to the Scoop Shop and the gift shop.
After buying all the Ben & Jerry’s merchandise I could justify, a cowbell rang and it was time to begin the tour! Walking through a top (not so) secret door, we watched a short film on the history and ethos of Ben & Jerry’s and I was pretty impressed. Sure they’re not going to say anything bad, but it seemed like they are a genuinely good company. From using ethically-sourced local ingredients, to giving back to the local communities, it was nice to see a company taking pride in how they do business.
Oh, and if you’re lucky enough to work for Ben & Jerry’s, you get to take home 3 pints of ice cream per day! It’s no surprise that a lot of employees choose to donate the majority to charities!
Once we were clued up on Ben & Jerry’s history, it was time to see how they put it into practice. Unfortunately, we were asked to turn cameras off ‘cos Haagen Dazs spies get everywhere, but it was amazing. Learning all the tricks of the trade, we learned about everything that goes into making your favourite tub of ice-cream.
After learning about all of the things involved in making delicious ice-cream, we were invited downstairs to see some new products, have a peak in the magical flavour lab and even got a sample of the flavour they were making today. In our case, it was Cookies & Cream and I swear it tasted even better than usual.
Ben & Jerry’s Factory Flavour Graveyard
Once the tour had finished it was time to explore the other parts of the factory. Climbing up the hillside next to the factory, we stumbled upon the Flavour Graveyard, the resting place for all those incredible flavours that didn’t make the cut and have been discontinued.
Let’s take a moment.
Now I know this isn’t a ‘real’ graveyard but I felt weirdly sombre walking around the headstones of past flavours. It was so interesting seeing some of the delicious flavours that are no longer available, and kind of sad that I’ve never been able to try most of them. In fact, the only one I recognized was Fossil Fuel, a sweet cream ice cream with chocolate cookie pieces, chocolate dinosaurs and a swirl of chocolate fudge. Anyone else remember that?!
After paying our respects, it was time to, reluctantly, leave the factory, and carry on with our journey. I can honestly say that the Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour was a dream for an ice-cream lover like me, and I would definitely recommend fitting it into your road trip in Vermont.
Have you visited the Ben & Jerry’s Factory? What’s your favourite flavour? Let me know in the comments below!