In discussing the Museum of Condiment Packets below, topics covered other great chow websites. I keep combing the condiment website to find a real street address. Unless I'm missing it, I will have to forever be frustrated that I cannot actually visit and see the real-life packets.
But that thread also started developing around brick and mortar museums as well. The Jell-O Museum in Leroy, New York and the Mustard Museum someone else posted. Then I remembered I've been also to the mushroom museum.
Food museums, in large part, tend to be annexes of factories or in regions where that food is made or grown. Or, of course, where a fanatic lives.
Here's my report on what I've seen.
The Mushroom Museum in Kennett Square, PA.
It's a tiny storefront museum. Two rooms- one that's like the 1960's, unmodernized natural history exhibits. But it is highly informative. The other (bigger) room is a store. And there's a lot of restaurants in town that feature mushroom foods. Kennett Square produces about 85% of the national crop of mushrooms. Check the label in the supermarket, even, these days, for "gourmet" mushrooms, and you will find Kennett Square, or a town nearby, as the source. It's right near so many other interesting places, too. Don't stay in Kennet Square, though. The manure needed to grow mushrooms makes the town itself a low-rent district, if you know what I mean. But it's near Brandywine, which is gorgeous. Great weekend getaway. We went to Longwood Gardens, Brandywine Revolutionary Battlefield, Simon Pierce Glass Blowing Factory, and Baldwin's Book Barn. Stayed at a revolutionary farmhouse B&B cheap. And there's an awful winery out there, too. We stopped in, saw the stainless vats, and wondered why the place was so packed for the $5 tastings.
In Upstate New York. I was dying to go, and, in fact, made it, but the place has very limited hours off season (I tried to go in December). It's good if you're passing through on the New York State Thruway, but unless the festival is happening, or you're the most die-hard Jell-O fan,
I've also been to the Anderson Pretzel Factory and Hormel packing plant when I was in high school. And Girl Scouts took me to a behind-the-scenes look at a Duncan Donuts. I've also been to a shmura matza factory. I've probably been to more, but I can't remember. All these places are in Southeast Pennsylvania. I know there's also the Herr's snack factory near Brandywine as well (my husband's favorite, since the advent of the ketchup potato chip).
I went to that annoying chocolate factory tour at Ethel M's in Las Vegas. If you book bus tours with a certain company, they must have some deal where this place pays them to include them as a stop for their tourists. The cactus garden was much more impressive than the terrible chocolates the tourists were snatching up.
What else have you been on or seen?
I'll give the link for the Jell-O Museum below, but here are some others I've mentioned (I think I can only hotlink one below).
this seems not to be working now. are they gone?