9 Indulgent Sweet Tooth Trips

Learn to make maple syrup, candy, and cider across the country and around the world

Indulging your sweet tooth can mean anything from sampling from the office candy bowl to baking a cake, not telling anyone, and eating it all yourself. There are many schools of thought, but one thing’s for sure — nothing equals the experience of tasting your favorite sugary treat straight from the source. (Except maybe sneaking that Twix bar in between meetings.)

With factory tours, farms opening to the public, and vacations catered specifically to the sweet tooths among us, it’s time to take those sugar-loving taste buds on a joyride.

Visit a sugar cane plantation in the tropics, sample from fresh apple cideries in the Northwest, or watch how sap slowly turns to maple syrup in Canada.

 

Rustic Maple Dreams

Sucrerie de la Montagne: Canada

Spend a weekend at the Sucrerie de la Montagne, a sugar shack with 120 acres of maple trees, about an hour from Montreal. They use the traditional method of making maple syrup, where a metal spout is inserted, or “tapped,” into each tree and connected to a bucket. The sap pours out freely, and is finally placed in a wood-burning evaporator to become what we recognize as maple syrup.

The Sucrerie accommodates sugar-loving guests in rustic cabins outfitted with wood-burning stoves, stone fireplaces, and claw-foot tubs. Step into the kitchen for a behind-the-scenes look at just how their rustic, comforting meals and baked goods are prepared. Their cabin-like dining halls have long, dark wood tables and stone fireplaces, where regional dishes like a traditional meatball stew, the Mountain Dweller’s pea soup, Hunter’s chicken, and, of course, pancakes with maple syrup, are served. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/sarah0s)

 

A Sweeter History

Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum: Maui, Hawaii

Most of us only know what forms of sugar are our favorites. But a stroll through the six exhibits at the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum would make anyone an actual expert. Learn the history of the sugar cane, explore an outdoor exhibition of retired sugar farming equipment, discover how Hawaii’s different regions and weather patterns affect the industry, and find out how it all goes from crop to candy.

Beau Plan Sugar Mill: Mauritius

Head to the 250-year-old Beau Plan Sugar Mill in Mauritius to learn how this saccharine harvest helped create an entire industry. Explore the factory’s once used equipment, and visit the docks that, up until the 1970s, were booming with the sugar trade. Sugar and rum tastings await visitors at the end of the tour. No, you can’t run through the tour.

Sarina Sugar Shed: Australia

The Sarina Sugar Shed is a kid-friendly, pint-sized version of a traditional sugar mill. Sweet-tooths-in-training can watch sugar cane becoming sugar, before getting to taste Sarina’s sweet and savory treats, from sweet chiles with mangos and limes to jams and preserves. The local Sarina distillery brews its own liquors, as well, and offers tastings of its most recent creations.

 

Cupcakes, Candy, and Lab Coats

Jelly Belly Factory: California & Wisconsin

Touring the Jelly Belly factory may sound like a little much, but hear us out. It is one of the most oft-recommended factory tours by all types of travelers (not just ones with kids). Think of all those flavors you were once curious about — buttered popcorn, maybe, or A&W root beer? Go find out how they’re made! Ronald Reagan would be proud. True jelly bean enthusiasts can take the hour-long intensive tour (Jelly Belly University), which includes a walk through the factory’s grounds, a peek at the production process, and a tasting complete with lab coat, hairnet, and gloves. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/halahmoon)

Sydney Sweet Tooth Tour: Australia

Some may think the opera house or the beach should be your first stop in Sydney. But the saccharine-obsessed will agree that the Sydney Sweet Tooth Tour takes top priority. Visitors will be driven around Sydney and taken to some of the best dessert spots the city has to offer. Say hi to Sparkle Cupcakes, bite into lychee macaroons, take a picture at the famous Adriano Zumbo Patisserie, and indulge in ice cream petit fours.

 

Tea Time at Tiptree

Tiptree Jam Factory: Essex, England

Tiptree Jam Factory in Essex has been a favorite of toast lovers and jam connoisseurs for more than 100 years. The family-run business invites visitors into their jam museum for a history lesson and a peek into their process, for lunch in their classic tearoom, and, of course, for a taste of their freshest products. Their range is a fruity list of preserve lovers’ dreams: strawberry and champagne jam, apricot fruit spread, blackberry jelly, and Seville orange marmalade. They also produce a hot barbecue relish, chile mustard, and cranberry sauce for savory needs.

 

Honey That’s Worth the Stings

Honeyview Farm: Vancouver, Canada

Just kidding, you won’t get stung. But Honeyview Farm, in Vancouver, lets you press your nose up against a glass wall so you can see the inner workings of more than 50,000 active bees in their Observation Hive. This hive is just the starting point for farm-led bee tours and, ultimately, the tastings. The process is fascinating and doesn’t just result in honey — six types of honey are made at Honeyview (plus their newer Honey & Espresso), but they also produce beeswax candles, lip balms, body lotions, and soaps.

 

Hard, Soft, or Sparkling

Finnriver Farms and Cidery: Washington State

Take a stroll through Finnriver Farms’ orchard, chat with the proprietors about their ciders and wines, and take a look in their new grain mill, where one of the owners is experimenting with growing wheat, buckwheat, and oats. Finnriver invites all their guests to fall for their organic and sustainable farming style, and it’s hard not to. Partake in some of the farm work, like berry picking, cider making, and the very tough job of sipping and analyzing in their tasting room. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/jamesonf)

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