October 1, 2010
On to Hershey Pennsylvania where everything is chocolate right down to the street lights! Wow! This place is the king of marketing, and draws a crowd. The town has an amusement park, a giant Hershey history museum, and the chocolate World factory. https://www.hersheys.com/chocolateworld/. Mr. Hershey has an interesting story; he started a Candy shop, but ended up in Bankruptcy. He ended up learning about milk chocolate, and figured out how to automate (Assembly line process) the candy making process allowing him to mass produce the product. As he grew his factory, he designed and built the town of Hershey for his employees. Twice he donated his entire fortune to charitable organizations he cared about. Once in mid life, then upon his passing. The factory tour is more of an advertisement and amusement program than a factory tour. The most informative part of the tour is the giving of Mr. Hershey’s business story via plaques on the walls while one waits in line for the tour. The tour was difficult to access as one has to navigate a long narrow stairway down to a room with an amusement style ride in it. The ride is a cart a family sits in, but to get on it one has to walk across a spinning floor then board the cart in motion, the ride never stops. Once on the ride, the cart navigates its way down a hall that has cute but obnoxiously loud singing cows that sing about how great their milk is, then you see a demo of shattering cocoa beans, the smashing them to liquid, mixing the ingredients, drying the concoction in to powder, then remixing it to a liquid, smoothing it out, forming it into the confection, and last but not least packaging the product. This whole process is demonstrated visually at lightning speed while on the ride. There is a narration of the process via a speaker in the cart, but the music was so loud in the room from the cows, we never understood the narration. The ride ends in the gift shop where one can buy chocolate bars, much like what is found at the grocery store. Hershey bars taste best factory fresh, it only takes a few days for them to start tasting stale like the store. Of the four we purchased, each one tasted a bit different. They passed out free sample bars at the end of the ride, and they were incredibly good. Hershey’s was fun, educational, and interesting, but I still prefer the flavor of the Ghiriadelli chocolates we sampled in San Francisco, but they are not nice enough to do factory tours.