As a non-skier tagging along on a ski trip to Stowe, Vermont, I had imagined that I'd be cozying up with a book by the fireplace or nursing a cocktail in a hot tub for most of the weekend while the rest of the crew hit the slopes. When I got there though, I was surprised to find that about half the group were non-skiers as well. Not only that, but it was sprinkling that weekend anyways, making for unsavory skiing conditions. So what do we do instead? Hit up Vermont's finest -- the Ben & Jerry's factory.
We made the short drive from Stowe to Waterbury, merrily on our way to ice cream bliss, with a bit of a historical and gastronomical twist to it. For a group of 10+ people, it's recommended that you make a reservation, but we showed up on a Sunday afternoon and we were totally fine. Tours seem to start every few minutes or so, so there's plenty of time to accommodate for everyone.
Our tour started off with what they stylize as "moo-vie". We were led to a small room, their Cow Over the Moon Theater, to watch a short documentary about the founding of the company. Right after the moo-vie, we were led to the top floor overlooking the factory. There weren't as many machines as I had expected, but it was still impressive that it churns out tens of thousands of pints of ice cream a day and apparently produces a large percentage of the Ben & Jerry's ice cream distributed around the States.
Unfortunately, since it was a weekend, the machines weren't on, but a video was played describing what each machine did. Our guide also talked about food scientist ice cream tasters (where and how do I apply?!) as well as the perks of working for Ben & Jerry's (free ice cream!). Too cool. I should note that our guide was exuberant and super awesome.
Right after the viewing of the factory, we were led to.... the Flavoroom! As expected, we talked flavor there, but what I was really waiting for was a sample of the ice cream of the day... :D That day, it happened to be mint chocolate chip. And that concluded our tour. Short, and sweet. Literally.
Naturally, we ended up at the factory gift shop. Our bite-sized flavor sample didn't cut it, and my crew was feeling extra adventurous anyways, so we ended up ordering a Vermonster from their full service Scoop Shop, a 20 scoop monstrosity of ice cream goodness (check out my post of the Vermonster). Now onto the pics!
Entrance to the tour
Top 10 flavors
This makes us look thinner after eating ice cream, no?
Gift shop goodies
The construction of our Vermonster
Posin' with the Vermonster
The devouring of the Vermonster
Our awesome guide who came to partake in the devouring of the Vermonster with us
Goodbye, Vermonster :D
Ah, good times :)
A few tips for visiting the Ben & Jerry's factory:
Last I checked, if you check in on foursquare upon your arrival, a foursquare deal will pop up giving you free admission to the factory. Otherwise it's just $3 a person.
Try to go on a weekday when the machines are actually running.
Make sure you go with enough people to be able to finish a Vermonster.
Wear stretchy pants!
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
What's your opinion on Ben & Jerry's Waterbury Plant?