Moving to the Detroit area means I have a world of new, fun, exciting places to visit. I told you earlier this week that we visited 10 states, two zoos, a chocolate factory and so much more over Spring Break and today I’m sharing our trip to Morley Chocolate Factory. I spotted Morley on our way to dinner with a friend shortly after moving to the area. Of course, I asked her about the place and she said it was a “must see”. Some quick research online gave me all the answers I needed, so I called and booked a tour. Tours are FREE, but times vary depending on the factory schedule, so you do need to call ahead.
The tour starts with an approximately 15 minute video presentation. While this is not always something my kids (especially the boy) enjoy, we were all mesmerized by the story of chocolate. I learned lots of things even I didn’t know about chocolate. For example, did you know that cacao beans were fermented before they are dried (and subsequently turned into chocolate)? Kinda of like grapes on their way to become wine. The fermentation is a key part of the process. I had no idea. We also learned a lot about how cacao farms operate (no big machinery here – it’s a “by-hand” process) and how they impact their local economy.
We also learned about how Morley Chocolate and Sanders Candy Company both started and how they eventually became one. Both companies have a rich history and it was interesting to see how well they have merged two brands into one. We also got to eat chocolates. Fresh ones. They were pretty darn amazing.
After the video and chocolate tasting, we headed out into the observation hallway. Unfortunately, I can’t share pictures of what we say there. Photos and videos are a no-no, so you’ll just have to go see it yourself. I can tell you about what we saw though. I’ve been inside of a food production plant before, so I had a good idea what to expect. It’s a lot like the old episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy works in the candy factory. We say some HUGE bricks of caramel (fifty pounds each!), all of machinery to make the caramel, keep the chocolate flowing warm and to cool and package the candies. The candies we actually watched the process for where Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels. I have always loved them and now I appreciate them even more!
We learned about the quality inspection process, what happens to the candies that don’t fit the bill and all about where the machinery used in the factory comes from and Sander’s/Morley’s commitment to the local economy and buying both machinery and raw materials not only in the USA, but from Michigan when possible. Of course, we got to eat more chocolate too.
What candy factory would be complete without a candy store? None. Morley has a HUGE retail store, full of all kinds of candy goodness. They also have ice cream and ice cream toppings, cakes, and other non-chocolate goodies that Morley and Sanders create. The kids were like bees trapped in a jar! They were buzzing from spot to spot so fast that I couldn’t keep up with them. When we visited, all Easter merchandise was 50% off, so they both landed solid chocolate bunnies among their haul. I was intrigued by the giant, and I mean three feet tall, chocolate bunny. I wanted to bring him home just because of his awesomeness, but I also knew I’d want to eat him and that would be bad for my hips, waist and pretty much every other body part.
I’ll be adding posts about fun Detroit spots soon, but if you head this way, be sure to stop and check out Morley Chocolate Factory and buy ALL.THE.CHOCOLATE.