Saccharine honey wine, handmade ice cream and rich chocolate sauce are just a few of the delicious edibles you’ll be able to taste for free when you visit Colorado’s local factories and retail shops. Check out these culinary gems to sample some of the state’s tastiest treats.
If you’re in the mood for a spot o’ tea, you won’t want to miss the free factory tours and tea samples at the Celestial Seasonings plant outside Boulder. This 45-minute tour will introduce you to the tea-blending and packaging process. You even can enjoy free samples of every tea they make, including herbal teas, wellness blends and the popular Sleepytime varieties.
Visit Honeyville, “the land of elk and honey,” where you can watch live honeybees at work inside a glass-encased beehive and (most importantly) taste free samples of regional honey products, jams and jellies. This small retail shop is located off Hwy. 550, just 10 miles north of Durango. Try local favorites like cinnamon whipped honey, wild chokecherry jelly and Chocolate Buzz honey fudge sauce.
Ozo Coffee Co.
Ozo Coffee is a bustling coffee house on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall features an array of imported coffee beans, organic blends and locally brewed Bhakti Chai tea. Every Friday at 2pm, learn the difference between the various brewing methods at their free brew bar — one coffee brewed in three distinctly different processes.
Spend some time at Old Town Littleton's EVOO Marketplace, a culinary boutique specializing in extra-virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars. Each steel canister has its own self-serve spout and stack of sample cups, making it easy to try more than 50 varieties of oils and vinegars, from fig-infused balsamic vinegar to chipotle-flavored olive oil.
Meadery of the Rockies
Gone are the days of savage Vikings and armor-clad knights, but you can still enjoy a swig of their favorite libation: mead. This sweet honey wine is often dubbed “nectar of the gods,” and you only need a sip to figure out why. Head over to the Meadery of the Rockies in Palisade, where they free mead tastings — in dry and swee varieties and blended with fruit, spices or hops, all made with 100 percent orange-bloosom honey.
Sweet Action Ice Cream
With flavors like sour cream and chive, brown butter sage and blackberry whiskey, Denver's Sweet Action Ice Cream comes fully loaded with an arsenal of innovative flavors that rival Willy Wonka’s imagination. The friendly folks behind the ice cream counter will let you try as many samples as you like — just make sure to add something to their tip jar once you make up your mind.
Photo: Courtesy of Celestial Seasonings.