September 3, 2011

HB Sweets: Hammond's Candy Factory- Denver, CO

One morning during my recent trip to Colorado, I was clicking through the cable stations available in my hotel room when I happened upon a mouthwatering show on the Travel Channel about the best food factories.  The first segment that I watched was filmed at Hammond's Candy Factory in Denver.  I soon realized that this local institution was located just less than 15 minutes from downtown where I was staying!  Being the candy junkie that I am, I was psyched to find out from their website that Hammond's offers free factory tours all day long (except for Sundays when they are closed). An hour later I was in the car and on my way!

Hammond's is most famous for its hard candy treats, including its highly popular candy canes.  Every December they hold a Candy Cane Festival with a special visit from Santa himself.  The factory tour consisted of a video showcasing the company's past and present, followed by a look at the factory workers in action, and ended with a stop in the Hammond's candy shop.  Our tour guide was very animated as she described the candy making and shipping process from start to finish and answered our questions.  It was hypnotizing watching the skilled candy makers mold sugar and spin colorful lollipops in the work room.  I spent the majority of my visit in the Hammond's store, where there are tons of goodies to choose from, including lollipops, chocolates, caramels, and of course candy canes. 

If you can’t make it all the way to the factory, Hammond’s candies are available online and now at certain markets such as Whole Foods, Nordstrom’s, Dean & Deluca, Cracker Barrel, and my favorite Sur La Table.  I ended up coming all the way back to New York to try my first Mitchell’s Sweet from Sur La Table.  This unique treat combines two of my favorite candies- marshmallow and caramel - into a bite-sized confection. These sweets were created in the 1930s and are named after Hammond's friend who came up with the delicious idea.  Click here to learn more about Hammond's company history. 

Other than the Ben and Jerry's headquarters tour in Vermont, I had never really thought about adding food factories to my list of vacation attractions, but thanks to the Travel Channel and Hammond’s I definitely will in visit more in the future! 

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