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Four Great Food-Factory Tours

There's a sweet ending here: Every tour concludes with a visit to the FlavoRoom, where guests get generous samples of more than 30 flavors.

Tours are $3 and run every half-hour starting at 10 a.m. They run 362 days a year; the factory is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's.

Ice cream is made only on weekdays, so if you want to see the actual manufacturing, be sure to visit Monday through Friday. Visit the Web site for more information.

Cabot Cheese -- Cabot, Vt.

The factory for this nearly century-old cheese company , known for its sharp cheddar, is situated in an area in the center of Vermont that's refreshingly devoid of Starbucks and McDonald's.

The tour of the 8,000-foot plant starts with a video detailing the Cabot history. Then, guests are taken right to the midst of the factory where the cheese is actually made.

See the cheese makers breaking up the curds and working with the whey with their bare hands in vats, and watch them add ingredients like Habanero peppers, tomatoes and basil to create flavors such as Sundried Tomato Basil Cheddar, Hot Habanero and Chipotle Cheddar. You'll also see how the goopy mixture is vacuumed into blocks.

The employees milling around are happy to answer any questions, and every trip ends with a tasting.

Tours are $2 and are run continuously throughout the day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call ahead, 800-837-4261, to make sure you visit on a day when the cheese is being made. Visit the Web site for more information.

Shivani Vora is a New York City-based writer who writes for over a dozen publications on lifestyle trends, travel, food, health, culture and business.
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