Patsy’s Candy factory, Colorado Springs CO
June 2016; (38°49’53” N, 104°51’35” W)
Background- Patsy’s candy was founded in 1903 and currently maintains as much of its older equipment as possible, some of it dating back to the ‘40s. Patsy’s candy runs two shops in the Colorado Springs area, including one at historic Manitou Springs, and also ships candies throughout the world. During the summer, they run tours of the facility and give out delicious samples.
Tastes- huckleberry chocolate truffle that tour guide man said didn’t have dairy in it but it did (but it was worth the belly ache, and I almost never say that);
Smells- hot peppermint; roasted nuts; hot melted chocolate;
Feels- Taffy table cooled to a uniform temperature (not cold, though- if the 250° F taffy cools too fast, it cracks); air feels cool, but warmer by the running machines and by the fresh taffy; tickly nose from the powdered sugar and cocoa powder in the air;
Sounds- taffy cutter/wrapper sounds like a machine gun (drowns out all the other noises when it’s running); rhythmic clicking; loud vacuum-cleaner-like sound; workers yelling back and forth to each other;
Sights- workers at the taffy cutter/wrapper have to wear ear muffs because of its noise; other workers are pouring out a fresh batch of hot taffy, a giant gooey 112 pound peppermint green blob from a greasy metal pot big enough for an adult to curl up in; lots of melted chocolate smears over the various machines; stacks of molds and funnels on the machines; cardboard boxes and plastic bins tucked under machines, bins containing empty boxes, broken bits of candy, etc; chocolate wrapping machines have narrow conveyor belts of linked metal or canvas material, whipping chocolates by quickly; lots of tubing and wiring running along the ceiling; florescent lights overhead; pack on the wall has rolls and rolls of colored foil wrapping; cold rooms off to the side with racks of boxes; cold rooms separated from the main room by thick strips of clear plastic; all the walls are white plastic, like shower walls; most machines are white metal, flecked and smeared with chocolate; on top of machines are empty milk crates, open boxes, bins of flavors and colors, etc; packaging department (to the side of the main chamber, over next to the cold rooms)- a big table stacked with boxes, rolls of stickers, plastic trays for chocolates; rolling racks pushed into a corner, full of industrial size cookie sheets; along another wall are sacks of flavored popcorn in varying shades of brown and yellow; rollers covered in powdered sugar; a giant vat as tall as my shoulders stirring melted chocolate; everything looks very clean, swept floors; workers all wear hair nets and white aprons with smears of brown and the occasional other color, purples, greens, yellows;