Friday, October 13, 2006

Hershey’s Cacao Reserve

Hershey is hopping into the upscale chocolate venue with their new Cacao Reserve line.

imageMilk Chocolate with Hazelnuts (35% cacao chocolate) - the description from their website says, “Premium-grade roasted hazelnuts in smooth, rich milk chocolate for an indulgent taste and texture.”

Much creamier and less grainy than regular Hershey’s chocolate. They’re not kidding about the premium hazelnuts, they are fresh and crunchy with a wonderful malty/nutty flavor. It’s sweet but dense and satisfying. A 1.3 ounce portion is rather puny considering my desire to eat more.

imageExtra Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs (65% cacao dark chocolate) - the description from the website says, “Deep, rich chocolate profile with cacao nibs ‘the heart of the cacao bean,’ for a lively textural crunch.”

The bar has a deep smoky scent with berries and cherries as added notes. A little bitter on the tongue at first, it has a nice melt (65% is a nice compromise) with some strong charcoal and woodsy elements dominating. The nibs have an excellent crunch without the fibery chew that they sometimes add. This may be the first “consumer” nibby bar, and it’s pretty good at that.

The ingredients are a little odd for a “reserve” dark chocolate bar: Semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate, sugar, cocoa, milk fat, cocoa butter, organic soy lecithin, vanilla beans), cacao nibs, milk.  What’s with putting the dairy in there?

Overall, Hershey has created a high quality product. I prefer these to the Extra Dark line. The portion size is smaller than a normal candy bar, and of course the price is a little high, but the quality of the bar is evident. There other two bars in the introductory line are plain milk chocolate and dark chocolate, which I wasn’t as interested in as these two, so I was glad these were the two that the 7-11 had in stock. I would definitely pick both of these up again as a quick, upscale treat, especially for traveling or to put in a lunch.

Name: Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts & Extra Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Cacao Reserve (Hershey's)
Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
Price: $1.29 each
Size: 1.3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 162 & 146
Categories: Chocolate, Nibs, Nuts, United States, Hershey's, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:36 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. How come there’s so much nice candies around your place? We don’t have any interesting stuff!!! The 65% looks good, and the peanut butter sweets n chocs previously posted looks SUPER good!

    Comment by Yummie dummieS on 10/13/06 at 4:07 pm #
  2. I was able to get all 4 bars at my Target store. There is a larger size. I think it was about 3 oz in the Candy aisle.

    Comment by Bertha on 10/14/06 at 3:48 am #
  3. My grocery store sells these!  I LOVE the nibby bar!

    Comment by April on 10/14/06 at 5:55 am #
  4. I was really impressed with these when I tried them.  They are a nice cut above the standard Hershey fare and I really liked the one with hazelnuts.  Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

    Comment by william on 10/14/06 at 1:27 pm #
  5. I also got the regular sized hazelnut bar at my grocery store—and I was totally impressed!  Hersheys pulled it off!

    Comment by Jaime on 10/16/06 at 3:31 am #
  6. do you think the “pulling it off” angle is in any way influenced by their purchase of Scharffen Berger? or did that not go through yet? i mean, maybe they’re now better qualified to do “upscale” and didn’t do it by bringing down the beloved-by-some S.B. brand…

    Comment by Tricia on 10/17/06 at 6:42 pm #
  7. Cybele's avatar

    YummyDummieS - the cool thing is that you can always make your own candies if you can’t find then near you. Or order on the internet.

    Bertha - I don’t know what’s wrong with my Target. I didn’t see any of these there. Of course they’re all about Halloween right now. Maybe in a few weeks.

    April - I’m definitely going to pick up the Nibby bar next time I see it. Of course I hope it’s not $1.25 ... I’m hoping for 99 cents or something.

    William - ooh, a good rating from Chocolate Obsession, I’m glad to get the confirmation that I wasn’t just blinding by the fact that it was simply better than their regular fare.

    Jaime - I’m afraid of the full sized ones! I’d gobble it all up.

    Tricia - I’m not sure what influenced Hershey. Scharffen Berger is run so entirely separately that it’s unlikely that there were actual consultations, more like Hershey was following a trend. They did those “Pot of Gold” chocolate when Godiva was becoming very popular, so I see it as Hershey trying to keep up. (Of course Scharffen Berger may well have advised them to get into Nibby bars ... which I might have to kiss them for.)

    Comment by Cybele on 10/18/06 at 6:45 am #
  8. I found the Hazelnut and 65% Extra Dark at the Rite Aid at 14th and Wilshire (that’s in Santa Monica, if anyone’s keeping track of these things) and grabbed the dark. WOW. That was a lot smoother and much tastier than the Special Dark. If it weren’t $1/bar there (I think that was a sale price, too) I’d buy these more often.

    We’re going to Target this weekend. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll find the full sized version of this bar. Good, good stuff.

    Comment by Bruce on 10/19/06 at 7:48 pm #
  9. check out, they are looking for hosts for chocolate tasting house parties!

    Comment by sally on 11/02/06 at 11:04 am #
  10. Every Target Store should have at least the $.99 Hazelnut bar on the checklane by last Sunday. Most stores will carry all four bars, but they will be on different check lanes, so you may have to scan a couple aisles for your favorite flavor. The 3 oz bar is $2.29 and should have been in the regular candy aisle since the beginning of October. You can also find ScharffenBerger bars in certain regional Targets. They are $1.99 at the check lane.

    Comment by Bertha on 11/03/06 at 1:43 pm #
  11. I purchased a 3.53 oz bar of the plain dark 65%(I usually find the nibs off putting) and a bar of the 35% milk w/ hazel nuts. at a Sentry Grocery Store here in WI

    They were way too expensive, but extraordinary taste!

    I was well pleased with both. I would give it a rating of B+ to A-

    Comment by Peace Internally on 11/06/06 at 8:11 am #
  12. willing to have a party to sample the chocolates

    Comment by Jocelyne m Delaney on 11/29/06 at 10:46 am #
  13. I picked up a full-size Nibby bar for $1.99 at the grocery and LOVED it. I will totally buy them again, even at that price (which I found a *little* spendy).  I also got one of Hershey’s single origin bars (Arriba 50% Dark Milk (say what?)) which was on sale for $1.34 and it was also really good - nice smooth darker chocolate taste, no bitterness - would make excellent hot chocolate if melted in a mug of milk. I’m going to have to pick up a few more while they are still on sale. Mmmmmm smile

    Comment by Carrie on 4/26/07 at 12:14 pm #
  14. 65% with Cacao Nibs is far better than what I had expected. They are $2.50 at Kroger but they had coupons right there with the bars for $1.00 off a single bar. I had to go back and stock up! Yumm.

    Comment by Ken Lewis on 5/24/08 at 5:59 pm #
  15. I love the Cacao Reserve Dark with Nibs (with the red on the packaging).  I buy the large bar reguarly for 1.79-1.99 (depending on the store).  I consider it good for my mental health.  smile

    Comment by Lindsey on 6/24/08 at 1:52 pm #
  16. Where do you buy Cacao Reserve Dark with Nibs ?  I used to get it at Walgreens but they no longer carry it.  Please help.

    Comment by Paul on 10/14/08 at 5:58 pm #
  17. I get it everywhere: Target, Kroger and H-E-B (both grocery store chains).  I never shop at Wal-mart (hate it), but someone gave us a gift card last month, and they did not have this product there.  They did have the 65% dark, but it’s the nibs bar that I like. 

    So, maybe if you happen to be looking at your local Wal-mart, check your grocery store instead?

    Comment by Lindsey on 10/14/08 at 7:12 pm #
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