3300 W. Sample St.
South Bend Indiana 46619United States
Midwest Living Recommends
The South Bend Chocolate Factory tour is a holiday for chocolate lovers and includes a look at the entire operation, complete with samples.
The factory is where it all begins for thousands of pounds of chocolate yummies sold throughout Indiana and Michigan each day. Our first thought was of Lucille Ball's hilarious chocolate factory sketch, and we were delighted to find a life-size cutout of Lucy and Ethel in the lobby for guests to peek through and photograph. We began with a brief history of chocolate and pictures of how the cacao is grown. Then we entered the heavenly kitchen where the chocolate is melted down (South Bend doesn't actually make the chocolate, but buys it from a Chicago supplier), blended with other ingredients, molded into shapes, and "enrobed" onto popcorn, malt balls, nuts and more. Be prepared to don a hair net (and, if you have facial hair, a beard-net). After smelling the cocoa concoctions, you're more than ready for the free samples handed out throughout the tour. A sample bag is included and, if your appetite exceeds your sack, you can stock up in the onsite outlet store at a discount. The whole operation is just about five rooms, so if you're expecting the wonders of Willy Wonka, you'll be disappointed. But the tour guides were entertaining and informative, and the public tour is free, tasty, and worth the 30 minutes. We'd skip the extended tour which costs $4 and doesn't really add to the experience. Tours available 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Walk-ins welcome, but you can call ahead for reservations, as well.