We love almost every single thing profiled on this show. We have a major sweet tooth.
Ever wonder what it would be like to go inside a candy factory like Charlie did in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"? Could there really be a chocolate river flowing through a garden of candy trees with little men in white overalls singing songs and making candy? Probably not, but the National Geographic Channel does hold the "golden ticket" to the inner workings behind some of America's beloved sweet treats.
Premiering Wednesday, December 20, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel (NGC), Sweet Tooth explores the mega-machines and factory secrets behind some famous confections. From the device that inserts the filling into Twinkies to the technology that breathes life into marshmallow Peeps, NGC goes inside top-secret factories to unravel the real-life magic behind BBen & Jerry's, Red Vines, Twinkies, Jelly Belly and Peeps.
Sweet Tooth examines the old-world traditions and high-tech advances that have made it possible for these companies to achieve sweet success. Interviews with highly trained designers, scientists and engineers, who go to great lengths to please the consumer's sugar cravings, also add insight as to the nature of the business.
Go inside Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory in Vermont to observe the innovation behind top-selling flavors such as Cherry GarciaR and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Tour the factory and meet experts like ice cream scientician Derek Spors, whose "cool" job is to ensure all the ice cream that leaves the factory meets Ben & Jerry's standards. Every 15 minutes, it is part of his job to take pints off the line and taste them to make sure everything is right!
At the American Licorice Company, NGC investigates the mystery flavor behind Red Vines "Original Red." If it's not cherry and not strawberry - what is it? Witness a 90-year old process called the "slap test," which relies solely on human intuition to tell if the batter is worthy of becoming licorice. This tradition, combined with modern machinery, has made it possible for Red Vines to become a childhood favorite.
For over 75 years Twinkies have been an American tradition. Invented during the Great Depression as an alternative to strawberry shortcake, the mini-cakes have become a lunchbox staple. Each year, Hostess uses 8 million pounds of sugar, 7 million pounds of flour and 1 million eggs to churn out a half-billion Twinkies. Now, viewers will get a chance to examine the colossal and complex equipment Hostess relies on to keep up with its high demand. One of the most impressive pieces in the bakery is a 75-foot oven - that's the size of three stretch limos!
Sweet Tooth also looks back on the history and origins of these treats to examine some of the old-world techniques still used in candy making today. For instance, the hard outer shell of a jelly bean originates from a 17th century French process that combines sugar and syrup. The Jelly Belly Candy Company has applied this method to the modern technology responsible for churning out its famous "50 flavors."
Then, sneak into the back room of the Just Born Company candy plant where the Peep was hatched. Did you know that Peeps were invented in the 1950s by a group of Amish workers who created marshmallow shapes using icing bags? Back then it took 27 hours to make a single Peep. Today it takes only six minutes! The machine responsible for the mass production of these marshmallow chicks is so ultra-secret that it was kept behind curtains while our camera crew was filming!
'Tis the season to eat, drink and satisfy your Sweet Tooth. Ben & Jerry's, Red Vines, Twinkies, Jelly Belly and Peeps: you probably know the tastes; now learn about the science and technology behind these old-fashioned treats.
Sweet Tooth includes experts such as Arnold Carbone, conductor of Bizarre & D at Ben & Jerry's; Leslie Norris, flavor chemist for FlavorSense; and Sam Torrence, president and chief operating officer of Just Born, Inc.
Sweet Tooth is produced by Michael Hoff Productions for the National Geographic Channel. For Michael Hoff Productions, producers are Michael Hoff, Ashley Adams and Laticia Headings. For the National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Kathleen Cromley, senior vice president of special programming is Michael Cascio and executive-in-charge of production is John Ford.