I recently took a break from working on my own culinary tours and decided to go on a few food factory tours out in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. First stop: Herr’s. When I stepped out of my car at their Nottingham factory (where they make potato chips, tortilla chips, pretzels, cheese balls, etc.), a big puff of warm potato-y steam wafted my way. Oh, it smelled so good. I love conveyor belts and packaging and this tour had lots of that. And at the end, the sampling of warm chips was fantastic. The tour was free and definitely worth the side trip if you’re driving to or from Baltimore or Philly.
From Herr’s, the next stop was the Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown. Their Hop Devil beer is one of my husband’s favorites and since I really don’t know much about beer making, I thought it was time to learn. The Victory folks also have a large beer hall style restaurant here and the food is beer focused and really good.
The tour was short and sweet. ( I was the only taker on the 4 PM tour.) My favorite part was seeing the bags of hops before they are used for the beer. The hops add that bitter, somewhat tangy flavor to brews. At Victory, they have an entire cooler filled with large bags of hops. I rubbed one of the buds between my hands and the smell was somewhat like the scent of a frat house party. In a good way.
When at the brewery, I noticed a wonderfully sweet smell outside. Not like beer at all, but more like ketchup. I found out that it was curry, from a sauce making facility in the same area. No one seemed to know anything about the curry production, so I had to investigate. Turns out August Foods, Inc. is an Indian sauce maker that distributes to private labels, including Trader Joe’s. The smell was truly intoxicating.
I guess if I woke up every day to the scent of fresh potato chips, yeasty beer or spicy curry I would get tired of it. But for today, it was scent-sational!