Taster’s choice: Scharffen Berger chocolate factory
The idea of a factory tour might not seem too
compelling, but who wouldn’t enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at how
musical instruments, motorcycles or mouth-watering chocolates are
made? Following are a few manufacturers of people-pleasing
commodities that welcome group tours, often free of charge.
The Gibson Bluegrass Showcase (www.gibsoncafes.com/bluegrass) crafts mandolins and
banjos in its Nashville factory in the Opry Mills mall complex,
across from the Grand Ole Opry. Groups of 35 to 250 can tour the
facility, inspect each stage of production and enjoy a reception
featuring a live concert. There’s no charge for tours, but
reservations must be made at least 30 days in advance.
Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker (www.scharffenberger.com) has a factory in Berkeley,
Calif., owned by a former wine producer and a doctor who studied
the art of chocolate making in France. Tours reveal how the
chocolates are produced and, most importantly, include samples of
the delectable confections. Guided tours cost $35 per group of up
to 30, but everyone gets a $1 gift certificate, redeemable in the
Harley-Davidson (www.harley-davidson.com) offers free morning
tours at its Wauwatosa, Wis., motorcycle plant. The hourlong
journey through “hog heaven” reveals how the Buell and Sportster
models come to life. Groups of 10 or more must make reservations at
least 14 days in advance.
For other interesting tours around the country, visit www.factorytoursusa.com.