Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Jelly Belly's

Growing up in a middle class family, our traditions were often low key but consistent.  Take Easter as an example.  Every Easter we always dyed eggs using typical (weird smelling) mixtures of food coloring and vinegar.  We'd wake up in the morning, and kind of like Christmas, we'd miraculously find the Easter eggs hidden around the house to be found, and Easter baskets containing chocolates and candy for us to enjoy (from the Easter Bunny).

As a little kid, my least favorite part of the Easter baskets were the jelly beans.  I don't know where my folks got them from in the earlier days, but they weren't so great.  I naturally avoided the black ones like the plague (and still do to this day - NOT a fan of black licorice!)  But some of the other colors were often these weird spicy or weird flavors - nowadays you'd think you were probably eating through a bag of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans as opposed to some delicious treat.

That all changed for the better, however, that fateful day when we took a little trip out to Fairfield, CA to visit the Jelly Belly factory.  This place was like a huge jelly bean paradise to a kid like me.  I found that Jelly Belly's were a) fabulous tasting, b) available in what seemed like a gazillion flavors that were (for the most part) very accurately done all around, and c) the gift shop had all of these flavors in these huge canisters that just invited you to pour out and buy Jelly Belly's in massive quantities.  Gone were the days of hoping to find one good flavored jelly bean - here almost ALL of the flavors were good, and you could get a huge bag of just your favorite flavor, or two, or twenty if you liked!  Also, did someone say free samples?  I'm getting a sugar rush just writing this post :-D

Anyways, from that point on, I always looked forward to the entire Easter basket, because I knew that the jelly beans would be Jelly Belly's.  Actually, as it turns out, Jelly Belly is the genius behind the real world version of the aforementioned Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans that got popular with the Harry Potter craze.  If you find yourself in Northern California, I highly recommend a stop at the Jelly Belly factory, or take the easy way out and just buy some Jelly Belly's at the grocery store.  Once you try Jelly Belly's you'll never go back to regular old jelly beans again.  My favorites are too numerous to mention them all, but I'll namedrop marshmellow, pink bubblegum, blueberry, coffee, and A&W root beer to get you started.  Bon Apetit!


  1. I could kick myself for not getting out to that factory b/f moving to Washington. I love jelly bellies but they are out of my budget right now. I avoided the green and black beans of 'olden days'. I always favoured the pink and white ones.

  2. I agree, can't stand regular jelly beans. I love Jelly Bellies. Have you tried the "gross" flavors like barf and grass and rotten eggs?

  3. I have had some of the Bertie Botts beans - they do have some weird flavors like pepper, grass and so forth...fortunately I didn't eat any of the really gross ones.