A recent trip to North Canton allowed my husband, Bobby and I a tour of Harry London’s Chocolate Factory. I didn’t even need a golden ticket! In fact, anyone can tour the factory if you visit it on a weekday. The tours begin at 10 a.m. and are every hour until 4 p.m.
When we arrived, we were given the opportunity to enjoy one of Harry London’s signature chocolates, the Buckeye. We were about 20 minutes early for the next tour at 1 p.m., so we perused the retail store. There we were given the chance to sample more chocolate by Paula, a very friendly worker. We hadn’t even begun the tour and I had already had three pieces of chocolate! (I sampled a Mint Meltaway and Peppermint Bark. Bobby sampled a Dark Chocolate Lava and English Toffee.)
The tour began with a short film that gave an overview of the history. Fannie May Chocolates and Harry London were two separate chocolate companies until they merged in the 1980’s. In 2006 they were bought by 1-800Flowers.com. However, each company maintains its own name and specialty chocolate recipes.
After the video, we were given the tour. While they don’t have a river of chocolate that is mixed by a chocolate water fall, they do have 5 vats of chocolate that each hold 90,000 pounds of chocolate. This chocolate is distributed throughout the factory through an intricate series of pipes. There also aren’t any oompah-loompah’s that work there, but instead a group of dedicated humans that make sure the chocolates meet the strict standard of quality that Fannie May and Harry London have.
I would suggest that if you go on a tour, perhaps an early one would see more action. We were there at 1 p.m. on a Friday. On the side of the factory that we could see, there wasn’t much going on. A couple of belts were running, but none real close to the glass for us to get much detail.
At the end of the tour, we could sample more chocolate. Which, I did, even though the options were Mint Meltaways and a French Nougat. I don’t like cherry in chocolate, so I didn’t try the French Nougat. However, I did enjoy more than my fair share of Meltaways. (Although in my defense, the tour guide did say we could have as much as we wanted.)
What I didn’t know at that time, was that we were going to be offered the opportunity to try some vanilla gelato. While vanilla is not my favorite flavor of frozen dessert, I can eat it. Also, the fact that it was gelato and not ice cream was intriguing to me. (Don’t ask me the scientific difference.) It was quite yummy. Then, because of “happy hour” we purchased cones of it and enjoyed while just relaxing.
We left Harry London’s with full stomachs, a major sugar high and a bag full of chocolate. They were having an awesome sale on chocolates from Christmas time. Don’t worry, chocolate is good for 250 days or so. At least that is what the staff told us and I’m inclined to believe them.
Though, really don’t think I’ll have to worry about it sitting around that long in my house … if you know what I mean!