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Hershey's

Monday, June 10, 2013

KitKat Minis

KitKat MinisIn the ever-expanding trend of Morselization (tm), Hershey’s has created KitKat Minis.

KitKat Minis are unwrapped versions that are only 1 inch long. They’re also solo. Instead of “fingers” of KitKats served up in quads, these are like “pinky toes,” if you have those kind of pinkies that never quite fit in regular sandals and just hang out by themselves.

This isn’t the first time KitKat has attempted a bite sized version, there were KitKat Bites on the market about eight years ago. Those were smaller and more spherical as they were a panned chocolate (the centers were tumbled in a pan and then sealed with a little glaze).

KitKat Minis

The issue I found with the earlier KitKat Bites violating the interactivity I’d come to love about the KitKat bar is not an issue here. The miniature bars do have all the layers. This means that my process of eating them is the same. I cleave off the chocolate on each, making a melt-free spot to hold the bar while I peel off each layer of the cookie wafers with my teeth.

KitKat Minis

I enjoyed these, but not quite as much as I would have liked. The ratio of chocolate to wafers is higher now. I wouldn’t mind if it was good chocolate, but it’s not. It’s overly sweet, a little grainy and because it contains PGPR, I always think it has a rancid note to it.

I’m hoping these will come in the dark variety at some point. But the reality is that the Japanese Adult Taste Dark Chocolate KitKat (called Otonano Amaso) version is so untouchably superior, and actually comes in a nugget version, I don’t plan on buying Hershey’s again after this bag is gone.

The price is okay, I got mine on sale for $3.50 for the bag, which is a half of a pound. The wrapped candies can often be less expensive, but these may come down in price over the coming months as the economies of scale kick in. The stand up bag does have a zipper on it so they do store well. I can also see these being a good addition to ice cream or used as an ingredient in baking projects.

Though KitKat bars in the rest of the world, made by Nestle, are becoming fair trade certified, the American made KitKats from Hershey’s are not quite there yet. (Even when they do make it, that doesn’t mean they’ll taste better.)

Related Candies

  1. Milky Way Unwrapped Bites
  2. Clark Bites
  3. Rolo Minis
  4. KitKat Otonano Amasa (Adult Taste)
  5. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis
  6. KitKat Dark
  7. KitKat Bitter & White
  8. KitKat Mint Dark Chocolate Minis


Name: KitKat Minis
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: CVS (Park LaBrea)
Price: $3.49
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States, Sav-On/CVS

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:31 pm     CandyMorselizationRecipesHershey'sChocolateCookieKosher7-Worth ItUnited StatesSav-On/CVSComments (3)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Short and Sweet: Easter Bites - Part 2

Smarties Bubble Gum EggsI have a few more Easter items I wanted to include before Sunday. They’re not extraordinary products, but I didn’t want to pass them up.

This year was, I felt, the best we’ve had so far this decade for Easter candy diversity. It was a nice mix of classic products, new flavor twists on existing items and then some exciting new diversions. The stores seemed well stocked, better than I saw them two years ago, for example. It’s an encouraging sign for the economy and for our tummies.

Peeps AnniversaryJust Born is celebrating 60 years of their iconic Peeps marshmallow candies. They’ve come a long way from the early years when they came in plain yellow. Now they’re available in all the colors of the rainbow and special flavors.

To mark the anniversary, they’ve created a 60th Anniversary version in Vanilla Creme flavor. They’re the individual Peeps (not a conjoined row) and feature little sparkly flecks of multi colored candies, like edible confetti.

Peeps 60th Anniversary

I prefer an uncolored Peep, as I think the artificial colorings get in the way of the pure sugary flavor. (Ghost Peeps, for that reason, are the best.)

The Vanilla Creme is a soft flavor, artificial and lacking in the complexity of a nice Tahitian vanilla pod, but still it has a soft and comforting flavor that cuts a bit of the sugary sweetness. They’re bouncy and fluffy and grainy. The little confetti add a little bit of a crunch, but mostly they dissolve quickly on the tongue.

These would be a fun version available all year round. I also heard that they’re releasing Birthday Cake Peeps which are a turquoise blue and yellow cake flavored. (Which is also a great idea for a year-round Peep.)

Rating: 7 out of 10

Smarties Bubble Gum EggsI admit that I bought these because of the package.

They’re just egg shaped gumballs.

Smarties Bubble Gum Eggs are made by Ford Gum in the USA with real sugar, there are no artificial sweeteners in there. I bought them for $1.49 at Cost Plus World Market, but then I saw them at the 99 Cent Only Store for a dollar.

Smarties Bubble Gum Eggs

They’re passably good. They come in different colors, but I really didn’t get a sense that they were different flavors, all vaguely and pleasantly fruity. They were soft enough to bite but have a satisfyingly crunchy shell. Each piece is a good size for chewing, two make for a little too much. The sugar takes a while to be dissolved, so there’s no bubble blowing right away. Even after the sugar is gone, they’re a little too stiff and snappy to blow a good bubble with.

Smarties Bubble Gum Balls

At other times of the year, they’re also available as plain old gumballs. I bought them before and feel the same way about them. They’re okay. Mostly I like them because they’re pretty. I just chew the sugar out, spit out the gum and start up with a new piece.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Hershey's Snapsy Chocolate BunnyI noticed this new Hershey’s chocolate bunny introduced in 2011 called Snapsy Snap-Apart Bunny.

The concept is that the bunny is flat instead of dimensional, and pre-sectioned to break apart easily. The version I purchased, for a buck, is 2 ounces, or about the size of a King Size bar. It comes apart into five pieces. Each is a good size for dipping into peanut butter, which was always my favorite way to eat my Easter Rabbit.

This is one of those products that solves a problem you didn’t know you had. I’m sure if this were sold on infomercials, the first part would demonstrate all the frustrating things about a sumptuous solid chocolate bunny and how hard it is to eat, how children fight over it and what it should be named.

Hershey's Snapsy Milk Chocolate Bunny

I don’t have much to say except that it’s a rabbit shaped Hershey’s bar. It’s made from Hershey’s marginally satisfying chocolate, the same stuff in Hershey’s Kisses, Hershey’s Miniatures and those addictive little Hershey’s Candy Coated Eggs. While I don’t think Hershey’s Milk Chocolate is good chocolate, it’s mighty fine candy. It’s fudgy, grainy and tangy and comforting.

It’s also made in Mexico. (The Candy Professor had a bit of a rant about Snapsy.)

Rating: 5 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Short and Sweet: Easter Bites
  2. Easter Candy Spotting 2013
  3. Twix Egg
  4. Ferrero Eggs: Hazelnut & Cocoa
  5. Wonka SweeTarts Chicks, Ducks & Bunnies (2012)
  6. Milka L’il Scoops

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:46 pm     CandyPeepsReviewEasterCe De CandiesHershey'sJust BornChocolateGumMarshmallow5-Pleasant7-Worth ItMexicoUnited States99 Cent Only StoreCost PlusTargetComments (4)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hershey’s Candy Coated White Chocolate Flavored Eggs

Hershey's Candy Coated White Chocolate Flavored EggsWhen Easter rolls around, I usually spend my discretionary calories on new holiday candies. One candy that I do purchase year after year, though, are the Hershey’s Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Eggs. The shell is thick and crunchy and the fudgy Hershey’s chocolate center soothes me in a way that high quality chocolate cannot.

I was interested to see Hershey’s newest item in their growing category of candy coated items. Hershey’s Candy Coated White Chocolate Flavored Eggs were on sale. Last year Mars introduced the White Chocolate M&Ms as an Easter item (still an exclusive at Target this year), so it’s natural that Hershey’s would want to be in the white game as well.

The big thing to note is that this is white chocolate flavored, not fully-accredited white chocolate. Instead of using only cocoa butter and dairy fats, Hershey’s has added all sorts of other vegetable oils.

Hershey's Candy Coated White Chocolate Flavored Eggs

Hershey’s is capable of some wonderful white chocolate, the Cookies ‘n Creme bar used to be spectacular. Here’s the ingredients list for the white eggs:

Sugar, vegetable oil (cocoa butter, palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil), nonfat milk, corn syrup, milk fat, contains 2% or less of the following: cornstarch, artificial color (yellow 5, blue 1, red 40 and yellow 6), soy lecithin, resinous glaze, gum acacia, carnauba wax, vanillin, tocopherols (preservative) and PGPR.

The sized and shape are the same as the Milk Chocolate Eggs, in fact, I bought some at the same time just to compare.

Hershey's Candy Coated White Chocolate Flavored Eggs

The shell is quite thick, very hard and crunchy. Though there is quite a list of artificial colors in the ingredients, they’re only splattered with color so it’s not much to get in the way of the pure flavors. And by pure, I mean the sugar and the artificial vanilla and the milk.

It tastes artificial, like fake vanilla or instant pudding. It’s a wonderful shorthand for the smell of Easter, it’s like an Easter Basket in a candy shell. It’s certainly not for those who don’t like their candy sweet.

Compared to the new White Chocolate M&Ms, they’re vastly different. The M&Ms are smaller, have a more delicate shell and a more well-rounded butter flavor. The M&Ms are smoother and have a higher fat content and slick, almost greasy, texture (especially if they get warm). The Hershey’s White Eggs are a great mix of textures but don’t have flavor nor the cleanest ingredients to go with it.

Still ... there’s something about them that reminds me too much of those Easters of childhood when there really was an Easter Bunny and the candy was special. Cheap white chocolate is so inextricably tied in my head to the holiday, it’s hard to objective about it. I’m eating these, but I’m not sure I actually like them. And I’m considering buying them again.

 

Related Candies

  1. M&Ms White Chocolate (Easter)
  2. Cookies ‘n’ Creme Showdown
  3. Hershey’s White Chocolate Meltaway Bliss
  4. Ritter Sport White Chocolate with Hazelnuts
  5. M&M and Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Eggs
  6. Hershey Eggs


Name: Candy Coated White Chocolate Flavored Eggs
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $2.89 (on sale)
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Candy, Easter, Hershey's, Kosher, Mockolate, 6-Tempting, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:54 pm     CandyReviewEasterHershey'sKosherMockolate6-TemptingUnited StatesTargetComments (7)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hershey’s Kisses with Macadamia Nuts

Hershey's Kisses Macadamia NutsI went to Hawaii. I brought back some candy and chocolate while I was there.Yes, they grow chocolate in Hawaii, even a little on the garden isle of Kauai. But today I’ll review something that’s a little more mainstream, Hershey’s Kisses with Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts.

The special Hershey’s Kisses are studded with Mauna Loa macadamia nuts. They’re sold only in Hawaii (and a few other spots, I believe I saw them at Hershey’s Chocolate World) alongside other “local flavor” items like Coconut M&Ms.

The bags are small, only 8 ounces, and Island Expensive as they’re imported. The bag was $4.49 at the grocery store called Big Save. They also sold them at Hilo Hattie.

Hershey's Kisses Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are indigenous to Australia, but like most crops grown in the Hawaiian Islands, they were brought by settlers and established on plantations. Mauna Loa, now owned by Hershey’s, did much to create the current varieties of macadamias grown in Hawaii and is based on the big island of Hawaii in Hilo. Hawaii harvests about 50-55 million pounds of macadamias a year, making it second only to the entire country of Australia as a top nut producer.

Macadamia nuts have the most monounsaturated fats of all nuts and are low in protein. They’re also extremely high in calories, coming in at 210-215 calories per ounce. (Almonds are about 165 calories per ounce and walnuts are about 185 calories per ounce, for comparison.) Though they were once very expensive, macadamia nuts are more widely grown and more affordable. They’ve found their way into American diets as a nut inclusion for baked goods, a cooking oil and in island inspired cuisine (like macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi).

Hershey's Kisses Macadamia Nuts

They’re a molded Kiss, like the Almond Kisses. The chocolate is smooth and though the package said that January 2013 was their best buy date, they were in great shape. Smooth, glossy and creamy. There were a lot of macadamia pieces in most. In some it seemed like the center was all nuts and others seemed to only have a few chips.

On the whole, macadamias aren’t my favorite nut. They’re a bit on the coconut side and don’t fill me up in the same way, could be that the protein is missing or that they veer a little too close to Brazil Nut flavor territory. I liked their crispness and fatty chew, and I have to say that they go really well with Hershey’s chocolate. Sometimes I really love the stuff, I know it’s not good chocolate, it’s just candy, but I enjoy it. So I no trouble eating much of this bag by myself.

When it comes to a little taste of the tropics... the macadamia inclusions really do it for me. Of course the jet lag has worn off and I miss the warm ocean breeze instead of this walking the dog thing at sunrise in 48 degree weather ... so it could just be the vacation glow.

Related Candies

  1. Hershey’s Kisses Air Delight
  2. Hawaiian Host MacNut Crunch
  3. Hawaiian Host Dark Chocolate Macadamias
  4. Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses
  5. Malie Kai: Waialua Estate Chocolate
  6. Kisses Coconut Creme
  7. Big Island Chocolates
  8. Mauna Loa Macadamia Kona Coffee Bar


Name: Kisses with Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Big Save (Kauai, Hawaii)
Price: $4.49
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Kosher, Nuts, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:22 pm     CandyReviewHershey'sChocolateKosherNutsUnited StatesComments (2)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giant York Peppermint Patties (1 Pound)

1 Pound York Peppermint PattiesOne of my favorite styles of gifts (especially when I had much more modest capital than now) was the gift of beloved common items to delightful excess. This meant that it might a pretty jar filled with Atomic Fireballs or shoebox filled with Reese’s Peanut Butter Miniatures. The sheer volume in itself is a luxury, something most normal people don’t do for themselves, but they’re happy to relish it from a loved one.

Part of a newer trend from the candy companies is to pre-package this for you. You can buy something that looks like a Giant Tootsie Pop that holds a bunch of lollipops, or a giant box of Wonka Nerds. A few have gone so far as to create actual giant versions of their candies - Hershey’s has been making a 5 Pound Hershey Bar for quite a long time. A few years ago they also created the World’s Largest Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (each in the twin pack is a half a pound) and the 1 Pound Snickers Slice n Share has returned again this year.

The newest addition to this is the Giant York Peppermint Patties.

1 Pound of York Peppermint Patties

The package holds two half pound patties, so it’s one full pound of York Peppermint Pattie goodness. Unlike the normal Peppermint Patties on the market right now, which come as a single 1.4 ounce pattie or in the individually wrapped miniatures, these are not meant to be eaten as a single serving or portion of a serving. Each pattie is deemed to be 6 portions.

A regular pattie is about 2.65 inches across. The half pound patties are about 5.25 inches across. The ingredients are identical.

1 Pound of York Peppermint Patties

The trick with supersizing a filled confection is ratios. The 5 Pound Hershey Milk Chocolate bar is not substantially different from a 1.55 ounce one, since it’s a solid object. For a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup it might mean a different in the milk chocolate and peanut butter filling. For the Snickers Slice n Share, I found it difficult to get all the textures and flavors in a single bite because of the masses of each. In this case, the texture is dominated by the peppermint fondant.

1 Pound of York Peppermint Patties

The first thing I noticed was the color and texture of the fondant. It’s a bit more moist than the 1.4 ounce pattie. It’s smooth and has less of a crumbly break than the small ones. It’s pretty easy to slice, though a little stickier. The chocolate layer is thicker (and nicely rippled on the top) and provides a good, slightly bitter counterpoint to the sugary center. It’s lightly minty, as expected, a clean flavor. Overall, it still captures the essence of the York Peppermint Pattie without violating the ratios too radically. It’s difficult to eat, as you might expect. I sliced off pieces (but not actual slices) and ate them. The pieces from the center obviously got less chocolate than the edges.

1 Pound of York Peppermint Patties 1 Pound of York Peppermint Patties York Peppermint Patties

An interesting difference with the Giant Patties is that they’re made in the United States. The other sizes of York Peppermint Patties are now made in Mexico. Still, the Mexican-made Patties are almost always a better deal. Even on sale at Target for $8.00, that’s eight dollars a pound. Most of the time you can get the miniatures in lay down bags for about five dollars a pound or less if you find a good sale. As a gift it’s a great idea, especially for a Secret Santa or for a child to give to a hard-to-buy-for-but-not-diabetic grandparent. The chocolate is not certified ethically sourced at this time. (Though if Hershey’s were going to roll out brands, it would be easy to make York Rainforest Alliance Certified since it contains so little chocolate. As a side note, the Bliss line will be Rainforest Alliance Certified by the end of the year.)

I bought this at Target, the only place I’ve seen them for sale. They’re not even mentioned on the Target website or even the Hershey’s website.

York Peppermint Patties contain dairy, soy and eggs. May also contain peanuts and tree nuts. There is no statement about gluten on the wrapper.

Related Candies

  1. Hershey’s Chocolate World - CreateYour Own Chocolate Bar
  2. Snickers Slice n’ Share (1 Pound)
  3. Russell Stover Giant S’mores Bar & Mint Dream
  4. World’s Largest Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  5. Big Tex Giant Jelly Beans
  6. Sunspire Peppermint Pattie
  7. CocoaBella “World’s Best Box”
  8. Giant Pixy Stix


Name: World’s Largest York Peppermint Patties
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $8.00
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 97
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Hershey's, Chocolate, Kosher, Mints, Novelty/Toy, 7-Worth It, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:10 am     CandyReviewChristmasHershey'sChocolateKosherMintsNovelty/Toy7-Worth ItUnited StatesTargetComments (3)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hershey’s Chocolate World - CreateYour Own Chocolate Bar

Hershey's Chocolate WorldLast month I visited Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania, as I often do when I’m in the area. The themed space is open year around and adjacent to Hersheypark. It’s free to visit and is mostly a Hershey themed mall with a food court and a ride the includes the story of how Hershey’s makes their chocolate.

One of the new attractions at Chocolate World is Create Your Own Candy Bar. It’s a real, mini candy factory where you can customize a single, large candy bar from an array of options. It’s $14.95, so it’s not cheap, but it is an engaging way to spend 30 to 45 minutes, especially if you love to watch machines.

When buying the ticket, you’re asked for your first and last name plus your zip code. I didn’t realize that this was how the bar was customized as you go through the factory experience (though you’re only addressed by your first name and last initial, in case you’re visiting with your AA group). If I knew this, I could have given my name as CandyBlog as you’ll see later.

The tickets are for sale in the main lobby, patrons are given a ticket with a scheduled start time. Folks line up and are given hair nets and aprons, asked to remove all visible jewelry (rings and watches) and hopefully washed their hands. (You don’t actually come into contact with any of the equipment or ingredients.) I don’t know what the limit for a group is, but I would guess about 15-18 people.

Hershey's Create Your Own Candy Bar

The event starts with a quick video which shows you how each stage of the process will work. The basic steps are: choosing your formula, the production of the bar, the cooling of the bar, creating a custom wrapper and then the boxing of the bar.

Hershey's Create Your Own Candy Bar

The customizations are:
Choose your chocolate base: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate
Choose up to three inclusions: butter toffee chips, raspberry bits, chocolate chips, almonds, pretzel pieces, butterscotch chips
Choose sprinkles or no sprinkles

You simply scan your ticket’s bar code at the screen and make your selections.

Through a set of swinging doors, the set up is a real mini factory line with a continuous conveyer through a series of stainless steel machines. It extends along a long exterior wall, so it’s well lit and you can view it from the outside (though a real candy factory wouldn’t allow so much sunlight directly on the process). You can follow along and witness every step of the manufacture. Everything is well within view just behind a plexiglass divider and well marked with what’s going on at each step. 

Hershey's Create Your Own Candy Bar

The process starts with a chocolate base. It’s like a little, short walled box of a bar. I chose dark chocolate and the suction arms picked one up and dropped it onto the conveyer to start. Along the conveyer are the six possible inclusions, when the bar arrived at an inclusion for your bar, the hopper or screw feeder opens up and drops in your items.

At each station, the items are marked and a little bit about the reasons for the type of dispensing is explained. Screw feeders work well for items that might be sticky, like toffee bits and gravity feeders are for dry items like nuts and pretzels.

Once my inclusions, pretzel bits, almonds and butter toffee bits, were inside the little chocolate box, the bar proceeded towards the enrober. All bars were coated in milk chocolate. No choice. My bar, though, was filled unevenly. The corners had nothing in them and the center had a too-high mound. I would have preferred that my bar go over some sort of vibrating bar that would level things before the enrober.

The enrober is a thick curtain of chocolate on an open mesh conveyer. The video above is short, but gives you an idea of the process. The chocolate that isn’t used gets filtered and recycled back into the system. (So do not eat these bars if you’re sensitive to gluten, tree nuts or peanuts, even if you didn’t pick those items.)

Hershey's Create Your Own Candy Bar

After enrobing, bars that get sprinkles will. I didn’t select those. Then the bars go into a cooling tunnel. The cooling process takes about 8 minutes, so it’s off to waste time in the design and marketing department.

Just off the “factory floor” is a room with more touch screens. Waving the little bar code on my ticket got a new series of options. First, I could design my wrapper. (Well, it’s actually a sleeve, it’s not well explained before you get in there that the chocolate bar comes in a box, which is then inside a tin which gets a customized sleeve.) The design options are not extraordinary. You can choose your background as either a solid or gradient of color or a pattern. Then there are the added items - Hershey Logos, Your Name and some icons (mostly Autumnal and Halloween). I made what struck me as a pretty ugly design and pressed print.

Hershey's Create Your Own Candy Bar

After that the screens give you marketing data about your candy bar. All sorts of different graphs that say how popular or common things are and what other people have done.

That process took me about three minutes, and I tried to rush through it since there were only five screens and plenty of people (including some kids which probably wanted more time on the design). Then it was back to watching the cooling tunnel ... which is a tunnel and only had a few little windows to check on the progress of the bars.

Once the bars came out of the cooling tunnel they were loaded into little slots and dumped into boxes. The boxes got a little laser printing on the end with everyone’s name, then went down to the wrapping stations. This was the only part of the process that was hands-on with any of the factory workers. They had already printed our labels and were waiting for the bars to come out. They popped the bars into a tin, closed the tin and put on the sleeve wrapper.

P1080370The factory experience gives people the ability to walk through with their own bar, but also enough time to go back and really look at the equipment if they desire. I don’t know how large the groups can get, but it appears that Hershey’s keeps the manageable so that you have enough room to move around and see everything. Photography is permitted. Children are welcome though everyone has to have a ticket (except toddlers under 2) and everyone makes their own bar. They are ADA compliant, and I saw no reason that folks in wheelchairs wouldn’t be able to get the full experience. (Chocolate World as a whole seemed to be very accessible and actually well attended by folks of all abilities.)

It’s extremely clean, as you’d hope. It’s very well run and each person you meet on the Hershey’s staff is eager and seem knowledgeable. (Especially once you get in the factory room.)

I was at the front of the line and ended up being the first bar (I already scoped what I wanted and was ready at the bar selection process). For me it was about 35 minutes, but if you’re slower or at the back of the line, this might be 45 minutes or more. So allow ample time, as well as the fact that once you get there and they issue the ticket, your start time may be more than a half an hour away.

Hershey's Make Your Own Chocolate BarSo there’s my lackluster wrapper. Under the stiff printed sleeve, the chocolate bar is inside an embossed tin with the Hershey’s logo on it. It’s a nice tin, one that I can see myself keeping and using for storing small items.

The tin is 7.5” by 4.5” and 1.25” high with rounded corners. There’s a plastic tray inside that holds the boxed chocolate bar with the generic packaging.

Hershey's Make Your Own Chocolate Bar

The bar is pretty big. It’s 5 inches long and 2.75 inches wide and maybe 2/3 of an inch high. I don’t have an approximate weight on it, but it’s well over 6 ounces.

As I noted from the production line while watching it being made, the base is dark chocolate and though the chocolate tray had room, the inclusions didn’t make it into the corners. So it takes a while of biting to get to the interesting part of the bar.

Hershey's Make Your Own Chocolate Bar

I broke my bar open and just as I suspected, the contents spilled out. What’s more, I felt like I was missing the actual inclusiveness ... then enrobing didn’t actually cover my center. So I had my filling adjacent to chocolate, but not actually covered.

Hershey's Make Your Own Chocolate Bar

Aside from the physical mess, I didn’t like the taste. The fillings were dry and even though it was only a week later that I ate it, it was stale. The pretzel pieces weren’t crisp and were really small so had less crunch to them and were more of a grainy texture. The almonds were nice, small pieces but still fresh and crunchy. But what I was really disappointed about was the butter toffee bits. I was hoping for little Heath toffee chips. Instead I got some sort of artificial butter flavored thing that just stunk up the bar.

Though I chose a dark chocolate base, the majority of the chocolate in the bar is still the milk chocolate. It’s rich and sweet, but does have that Hershey’s tang to it. (Some don’t like it, but if you don’t ... why are you at Hershey’s Chocolate World?) The dark chocolate notes came in a bit, especially when I was eating the sides, but really didn’t nothing in the middle.

On the whole, I give myself 5 out of 10. I blame my inexperience and ingredients.

Hershey's Create Your Own Candy Bar

The problem with my fillings is that they’re dry. What I would suggest is either squirting a little chocolate in the base first and then putting the inclusions into it, or putting layers of chocolate into the center between the dispensing of the inclusions. Then do a little jiggling to get it all evened out and get the air out. This solves two problems.

The other thing I might suggest is that the “candy makers” get to try the inclusions first. There should be a little tasting table, maybe after you’ve bought your ticket before you get the “orientation” portion. That way we can really get a sense of what we’re putting in there instead of $15 experiments. The other thing I’d like to see is the ability to go through the process just accompanying someone who bought a ticket. I can see this being a huge expense for a family with many kids. It would be nice if the parents weren’t obligated to also get a ticket and bar.

Hershey's Simple PleasuresChocolate World is fun, and though it’s billed as free, there are some interesting attractions making this a good rainy-day destination for family, friends and couples who live nearby or are traveling through the area.

The stores there carry a huge array of branded merchandise and candy. The candy selection, though there’s a great quantity, isn’t really that diverse. For Hershey’s Dagoba and Scharffen Berger line they carry only three or four items. The prices are about what you’d pay at the drug store or grocery store when the items aren’t on sale, which is too bad. I heard more than one person lamenting that they could do better and not have to haul the stuff home if they just stop by Target or Costco. So I’d suggest focusing on the hats, tee shirts, playing cards, keychains and mugs.

What I would want from a “factory store” is a section where you can get special preview items, items out of season and of course super discounts on factory seconds. Something that I couldn’t get anywhere else. I’d also want better prices, after all, you’re buying direct so if there are no middle men, why are the prices so high? The only item I saw that rose to that level of specialness were green & red Hershey-ets.

Reese's Ice Cream BowlHershey’s Chocolate World
251 Park Boulevard
Hershey, PA 17033
(717) 534-4900

Free parking, free admission. Fees for most special activities. Wheelchair accessible. Their hours vary wildly, so call or check their website. Open every day (except Christmas).

More photos from PennLive of the Create Your Own Chocolate Bar.

Hershey’s Chocolate World gets a 7 out of 10 from me as an adult, I think kids would rank it higher.

My ticket for this experience was comped by Hershey’s. I have not done any of the other classes or movies at Chocolate World, only the free ride and shopped at the stores.

Related Candies

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  4. Rising Cost of Candy - A Brief Study of Hershey Prices
  5. Daffin’s Candies Factory & World’s Largest Candy Store
  6. Factory Fresh Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  7. Treat Trip: Scharffen Berger Factory
  8. Treat Trip: Jelly Belly Factory

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:08 pm     Hershey'sChocolateCookieNutsToffee5-Pleasant7-Worth ItHighlightShoppingComments (7)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hershey’s Simple Pleasures

Hershey's Simple Pleasures Smooth & Creamy Milk Chocolate with Vanilla CremeHershey’s is introducing its first new candy line since, well, the last time they did it. (The last one was 2007.) The new Hershey’s Simple Pleasures line launched with three different products, all little foil wrapped chocolate patties that boast 30% less fat than most other chocolate things. Or something like that.

It’s odd to be reviewing another little chocolate covered patty after just reviewing some yesterday. Yesterday was something utterly simple, with only three ingredients (though peppermint). The Hershey’s Simple Pleasures Milk Chocolate with Vanilla Creme has oodles of ingredients:

Simple Pleasures, Complex Ingredients*: Milk chocolate (sugar, nonfat milk, cocoa butter, chocolate, lactose, milk fat, soy lecithin, PGPR, vanillin), corn syrup, sugar, glycerin, vegetable oil (cocoa butter, palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil), sorbitol, nonfat milk, contains 2% or less of: natural and artificial flavor, milk fat, modified cornstarch, soy lecithin, glyceryl monostearate, caramel color, tocopherols, PGPR

* Actually, I added the Complex Ingredients part, so to be clear, their package copy actually states:

Hershey’s Simple Pleasures combines quality ingredients, including dry-roasted cocoa beans, brown sugar and pure milk to create a velvety-smooth chocolate outside and a rich, creamy center

Go ahead, look back up at that list of ingredients and see if you can find brown sugar. Nope, I couldn’t either. Also, I’m not certain why they called them dry-roasted cocoa beans. I don’t know of another process. I don’t think anyone deep fries them, microwaves or steams them in a pressure cooker. So why mention that? To confuse people.

Hershey's Simple Pleasures

The patties are only 1 inch across and nicely made, a dome shape with a swirl on top. They were glossy and well tempered to give a snap when bitten or broken in half. (That’s actually not easy to do, because the filling comes out.)

Hershey's Simple Pleasures

The filling is less of a thick fondant like Junior Mints, it’s quite a bit more runny than that. It does smell quite a bit like vanilla, almost like pudding, which I found appealing. But the appearance of the filling is a little less appealing, since it’s just a sugar goo, like a lemon pound cake glaze that hasn’t set up yet.

The chocolate is more like the Bliss line, not the standard flavor profile of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. It’s sweet, a little grainy but consistent and with a mild cocoa note to it. The vanilla flavoring of the center pretty much screams the loudest though it’s closely rivaled by the severe sweetness of all the sugar components.

The lower fat is achieved in this product by creating a filling that’s pure sugar and water. There are also a few sugar alcohols in there, sorbitol is used, though in very low amounts (3 grams per serving of 6 pieces). So while the UNREAL candy line I reviewed last week gets its lower calorie profile by adding in fiber and other nutrients (also ending up with an incredibly long list of ingredients), Hershey’s gets there with oodles of carbs.

Hershey's Simple Pleasures Smooth & Creamy Dark Chocolate with Chocolate CremeThe Hershey’s Simple Pleasures Smooth & Creamy Dark Chocolate with Chocolate Creme is kind of the richer version of the Milk Chocolate & Vanilla Creme version. They both have the same calorie profile, though the Dark variety has twice the fiber (a whole 2 grams).

In this case the package description on the back is slightly more accurate, this variety does have brown sugar in the ingredients list. But the qualification of the 30% less fat is qualified that it’s based on the average of milk chocolates on the market. I don’t know what the average fat content of dark chocolates is (I don’t even know where to find the source material for those statements - it’s not on their website).

Hershey's Simple Pleasures

The pieces are, again, well made and packaged. The red foil creates an appetizing wrapper and the chocolate does look really good, well molded and glossy. Each piece is only 30 calories, and a recommended serving is 6 pieces, which is quite generous. (The whole package holds 22-24 pieces, or if you lose it and eat the whole thing, it’s about 675 calories.)

Hershey's Simple Pleasures

This smells a bit fudgy, a bit like brownies. Sweet and dark. The chocolate center here is a bit thicker than the Vanilla Creme. It’s like a frosting, thick and sweet and not quite grainy. The cocoa flavors are actually much better than any commercial frosting in a can. The dark chocolate shell is much sweeter than the center and actually started giving me a sore throat after the second one.

The portion control is pretty good on these. Three could be a nice treat and come in under 100 calories and look like a sufficient indulgence. But the bang for the buck and actual satisfaction I got was sub par. The reliance on sugar instead of flavor meant that mostly I was left with the feeling that I’d eaten a bunch of sugar, not some chocolate.

The Hershey’s Simple Pleasures line also includes Smooth & Creamy Milk Chocolate with Chocolate Creme but I didn’t find those at the Target I got these at.

The fact that Hershey’s has such huge brand recognition and is on so many shelves means that these may succeed in spite of their drawbacks. I don’t care to spend that much money on so little chocolate, I’d rather have a handful of at least all-chocolate chips in a smaller portion. That’s a simple pleasure. This is just too complex for me.

Simple Pleasures are made with dairy and soy. There’s no mention of shared equipment with nuts, peanuts, eggs or wheat/gluten. They’re made in Mexico.

Related Candies

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  4. Pretzel M&Ms
  5. Nestle Cranberry Raisinets
  6. Hershey’s Bliss
  7. Hershey’s Favorites - Sugar Free


Name: Simple Pleasures: Milk Chocolate with Vanilla Creme
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Target (WeHo)
Price: $3.49
Size: 5.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 121
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Kosher, 5-Pleasant, Mexico, Target


Name: Simple Pleasures: Dark Chocolate with Chocolate Creme
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Target (WeHo)
Price: $3.49
Size: 5.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 121
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Kosher, 5-Pleasant, Mexico, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:46 am     CandyReviewHershey'sChocolateKosher5-PleasantMexicoTargetComments (8)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo 2012 - Part 3

The Sweets & Snacks Expo for 2012 has wrapped up and all the exhibitors are probably on their way back to their candy factories with sheaves of new orders in their briefcases. Here are a few other new items that folks were talking about:

Wild OpheliaName: Wild Ophelia
Brand: Vosges Chocolate
Description: Wild Ophelia is a line of eight different chocolate bars with decidedly Americana flavor profiles, such as Southern Hibiscus Peach and New Orleans Chili. The bars are all-natural, gluten free, with ingredients sourced from food artisans and farms from across the United States, while the packaging is made with 100% recycled board and 100% renewable energy.
Introduction Date: 5/1/2012
Notes: Vosges is extending their take on chocolate with this lower priced line (well, I’m not sure it’s really lower priced, the bars are just smaller). The bars have startling ingredients like beef jerky and barbecue potato chips and more sedate and appealing sounding items like caramel corn and peanut butter and banana.

Queen Anne CordialsName: Queen Anne’s French Vanilla Cordial Cherry
Brand: World’s Finest Chocolate
Description: A premium whole cherry and French vanilla-flavored light, creamy filling are surrounded by a milk chocolate shell.
Introduction Date: 10/1/1012
Notes: I think vanilla fondant and cherry is a natural combination. The Queen Anne line is often found at dollar stores, so it’s nice to see a bit of an extension of the flavors within the ingredients available for that price restricted item.

Edible CandlesName: Edible Candy Number Birthday Candle
Brand: Webb Candy
Description: This birthday candle is sure to make the cake a little jealous. While the top is a hat for the wick, the bottom section is fully edible candy. Available in number 0-9.
Introduction Date: September 2012
Notes: I’m a little unclear about what the candy part of this is, but I love the idea. I know that the old school trick for keeping candle wax off your cake is to put them in gumdrops. But an actual candle holder that’s a themed candy is pretty cool.

Ice Breakers DuoName: Ice Breakers Duo Mints - Raspberry & Ice Breakers Duo Mints - Strawberry
Brand: Hershey’s
Description: Ice Breakers Duo Mints expand Hershey’s Mints into the growing fruit segment. Hershey’s is #1 in Mint, gaining 4.1 share points vs. a year ago. Ice Breakers Duo Mints have a fruit flavored, textured side, and a cooling, smooth side with flavor crystals.
Introduction Date: 4/6/2012
Notes: It’s fun to see more fruity breath freshening mints. Too bad they use artificial sweeteners, otherwise I’d give them a try. (A summer fruit salad of strawberries and fresh spearmint is really quite good.)

All images courtesy of the respective manufacturers.

Related Candies

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POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:53 am     CandyNew Product AnnouncementHershey'sHighlightFeatured NewsComments (1)

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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