Monday, September 9

Roadschool Trip to Chocolate World + Who Was Milton Hershey?

What's the sweetest town in the US of A?  Did you guess Hershey?  It's where the streetlights are chocolate kisses, and one of the yummiest places to visit!

Before our first visit to Hershey, we read the book Who Was Milton Hershey? and learned about how the Hershey empire began.  It's a short read-aloud, and gave the boys a good perspective for the tour.  (Instead of just being hypnotized by chocolate.) 
We kicked off the day with the free factory tour.  After all, they give you free chocolate at the end of the ride!  There's a little camera that takes your picture during the ride, and we got a little silly...  Those little dots are Hershey Kisses.  (Originally they were called 'smacks' because of the sound that is made when they come out of the machine, but someone thought 'kisses' sounded better.)  During the short time we were on the tour, the factory produced over 5,000 kisses!

How Hershey Chocolate is Made...
It takes 270 pounds of cacao beans to make one pound of chocolate.  Cacao pods are harvested  by hand.  Inside each pod are 20-40 cocoa beans.  The beans are separated and fermented to develop the rich flavor we love!  After harvesting, the beans are fermented.  They are gathered in large piles, where they sit for a week.  The shells harden, the beans darken, and a rich cocoa flavor develops.  Then they are bagged and shipped to the chocolate factory.  The almonds used at Hershey come from California.  There are eight almonds crushed into every single bar of Hersheys w/ Almonds.
A personalized candy bar is one of the coolest souvenirs we've picked up recently!!  At the Make Your Own Candy Bar studio, you get to customize your bar exactly like you want it...from start to finish.  First stop, choosing what kind of chocolate you want for the base.....I'm a dark chocolate kind of girl.  😃

After getting the mix-ins, each bar gets a second coating of chocolate and then is sent through the cooler.  The cooling tunnel takes six minutes to pass through, and the temperature and humidity adjust so that water droplets do not form on the chocolate.
While awaiting the finished product, you get to create your own chocolate bar wrapper at the design studio!

Hershey Chocolate Resources

Milton Hershey, the Philanthropist
In a town built by chocolate, where even the street lamps are shaped like Hershey's Kisses, everything is just a little bit sweeter.  But the sweetest story of all is the biography of Milton Hershey (see video below).  He poured his soul into creating a good product and then using the proceeds to enrich the lives of as many people as he could, and his legacy remains at the Milton Hershey School.  The few children selected to attend this school number themselves among the very lucky!!
On the Trolley Tour, you get a historic picture of the area.  We began with some of the first buildings in the town, including the church.  Our tour guides could not have been any funnier!!  Even my chronically-underwhelmed preteen was rolling in the aisles with laughter as we watched "Wilbur" transform into various members of the Hershey family and townspeople throughout the past century.  The schtick worked, though, and they remembered almost everything they learned.  If you have time, definitely take the tour!

Parting Shots...

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