Family Travel | Travel | USA

A Visit to Long Grove Confectionery is Like Finding a Golden Ticket

Last Updated on December 12, 2015 by Jody Halsted

“I never had a chance to shine, Never a happy song to sing, But suddenly half the world is mine
What an amazing thing—‘Cause I’ve got a golden ticket!”

When Charlie finds the Golden Ticket, every child imagines changing places with him for even just a moment to peek into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! Fortunately, here in the Chicagoland area we do not need a Golden Ticket to live out our childhood fantasy. Tucked in away in an industrial area in Buffalo Grove, a suburb north of Chicago, we can take our very own chocolate factory tour at The Long Grove Confectionery.

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When Charlie and the other winners explore Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, they are greeted by all sorts of sugary-sweet wonderments. While The Long Grove Confectionery does not sport a chocolate river, it does have its share of expertly crafted chocolate creations. Upon arrival, children will already be licking their lips in anticipation of a sweet treat. Before our tour started, we were greeted by a large chocolate Statue of Liberty towering over us! This beautifully sculptured creation definitely captivated my daughter and had us both dreaming about the treats ahead!

Chocolate State of Liberty, Chocolate factory tour at the Long Grove Confectionery
Chocolate State of Liberty

Sweet! A Chocolate Factory Tour at The Long Grove Confectionery

In Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the kids become a little adventurous and fall prey to temptation. On our tour, however, I must say that the children were entirely enthralled with the process and were for the most part pretty attentive. Before embarking on our tour of the facility, we watched a charming video explaining the history of The Long Grove Confectionery complete with details about the family that started it all. In the screening room, there is another example of chocolate artistry–with a story that would fit right into Roald Dahl’s classic. In the room lives a large chocolate Santa Claus that is now encased after being nibbled on by a curious child. The kids love this story! I am sure if they were given the option, they would take a nibble, too!

Chocolate Santa Chocolate factory tour at the Long Grove Confectionery
No nibbling the Chocolate Santa

Although the factory was not in production during our visit, we still enjoyed seeing where some of our favorite treats are made. The tour guide did a fabulous job of showing each piece of machinery and explaining how each is used. There were accompanying videos for each stop, so we did get to see a lot about production. The factory has the ideal set up for tours. There are nice large windows to view the production areas and well-positioned screens for the videos.

One corridor in the factory is lined with chocolate artwork. We were impressed by the representations of famous artwork using chocolate. Especially interesting is a rendition of  A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Seurat. The original of this painting hangs not too far away  at The Art Institute of Chicago. The pieces really are worthy of hanging on the wall in a museum–but are made entirely of chocolate! At the end of this corridor is room that houses display cases with a number of chocolate creations with special emphasis on different holidays. Fun to look at!

Chocolate creations, factory tour at the Long Grove Confectionery
Sweet and spooky chocolate creations

Even adults will act like a kid in this candy store

At the end of the tour, we were each given a chocolate treat. Then, we headed to the factory store. The Long Grove Confectionery’s factory store gives new meaning to the phrase “like a kid in a candy store.” The factory store is filled to the brim with all sorts of chocolate and candy novelties–from fancy baskets to creams to malt balls to nuts enrobed in chocolate. There is something in every price range–we even located a display of individual chocolates making it easy to pick a few different types to bring home at a nice price. The factory store was one of the largest I have seen. We joyfully skipped through a couple of times just to take everything in and make our choices. {How could we leave without treats!}

Chocolate shop, factory tour at the Long Grove Confectionery
The Long Grove Confectionery candy shop

We enjoyed playing Charlie for a day. The tour was perfect for children–not too long and with plenty of interesting tidbits to keep them interested. Plus, the sweet treat at the end made sure that everyone left with a smile! When we left, we really felt like we had found the Golden Ticket!

Things to Know

  • The Long Grove Confectionery Factory is located at 333 Lexington Drive in Buffalo Grove, Illinois.
  • If you would like to visit, you do need to reserve a spot on a tour by calling (888) 459-3100 . Make sure to reserve your spots well in advance, especially if you plan on a visit during a break.
  • Tours cost $2 per person on week days and are free on Saturdays. There are no tours on Sundays.
  • The factory is not always in live production. You can verify the production schedule when scheduling your visit.
  • You will not be able to take pictures of the production area. However, you will be able to take pictures of some of the great creations!
  • There are restrooms available both where you meet for the tour and in the factory store. So, rest assured with the little ones!

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