A Real SWEET Day!

Trip Start Jun 04, 2010
Trip End Sep 08, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Sunday, August 1, 2010

The 'Hershey Story' Museum invites visitors to experience the stories of the Hershey family and company in an educational, fun-filled, imaginative, and immersive environment focused on audience, active learning, and engagement with and between objects and ideas.

Inside The Hershey Story
The Hershey Story guides visitors on an inspirational journey through Milton Hershey's lifetime and beyond, a tale spanning more than 150 years of trials and triumphs, several philanthropic endeavors and one man's unwavering confidence. From Hershey's earliest entrepreneurial ventures to his visions of a town built around the attributes of the humble cacao bean, The Hershey Story is an uplifting celebration of the great American dream. Mr. Hershey, a man with only a 4th grade education and filled with determination, went from rags to riches that he and his wife lovingly shared with others.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." That adage might have been coined with Milton Hershey in mind. America's most famous confectioner bounced from failure to fiasco before hitting on a winning recipe.

In the first gallery of the exhibition, visitors follow Hershey’s bumpy path to success through a series of evocative settings that evoke key points in his early life and career.

Attractions include the Museum Experience, a series of engaging exhibits; the Chocolate Lab, a place where learning comes alive through hands-on experiments; the Museum Shop, stocked with unique Hershey merchandise and memorabilia; Café Zooka, the perfect place for light fare and chocolate desserts; the Countries of Origin Chocolate Tasting; and much more.

"If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again." That adage might have been coined with Milton Hershey in mind. America’s most famous confectioner bounced from failure to fiasco before hitting on a winning recipe.

When we arrived at this warm and welcoming, visitor center we went right to the Café Zooka for a bite to eat. While waiting for our lunch to be brought to our table I decided to take an adventure in the Countries of Origin Chocolate Tasting. I was given 6 shot glasses filled with warm drinking chocolate made with beans representing some of the world’s finest cocoa growing regions

My favorite was the cocoa bean drink from the Indonesian island of Java.  It is characterized by a pale, reddish color.  This beverage is made with milk chocolate and is the sweet rich taste suggests Carmel and vanilla. 

Number 2 on my list was Sao Thome, located off the coast of West Africa.  The island has been producing cocoa since the 19th century.  The boldness of this chocolate is tempered by a fudgy aroma and velvety texture. 

Number 3 on my list is a rare chocolate from Tanzania.  This chocolate from the rich soil of Africa represents a very small percentage of the world’s production.  It has a robust cocoa flavor with pleasant nutty flavors.

Number 4 was from the island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.  It’s chocolate is a complex blend of flavors, ripe with overtones of fruit and nuts.  The more you savor this chocolate the voyage of flavors change. 

Number 5 was from cacao tree that once grew in the part of So. America that is now Ecuador and has been cultivated since the 1600s.  This dark chocolate has a dry, mild taste with an unusual oaky note.

Last on my list, was from Mexico, Cradle of the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations, Mexico continues to share its cocoa-growing tradition with the world.  Bittersweet and lightly acidic, this chocolate has a touch of licorice undertones.  Which may be the reason it’s on the bottom of my list, I don’t like Licorice.

After sampling the different drinks, each individually, I tried to combine a couple of them.  I really enjoyed the combination of the first 3 on my list.  Other combinations definitely made the individual chocolates more enjoyable.  Which goes to show that a blending of cultures makes for a more pleasant taste (can you understand what I’m saying here?).

After all that chocolate... we were off the museum.  In the first gallery of the exhibition, we followed Hershey’s bumpy pathway to success through a series of settings that evoke key points in his early life and career.

Stepping through the door of Hershey’s birthplace, we were surrounded by three additional façades: a recreation of Hershey’s first shop in Philadelphia, the thriving Lancaster Caramel Company, and finally his chocolate factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Activities, images, and artifacts at each site capture Hershey’s ambitions, setbacks, and the unquenchable entrepreneurial spirit that overcame the odds.  Each display was enriched with written highlights of history leading up to each diorama.

The last stop is at Hershey’s great chocolate factory in the town that bears his name. It was here that Hershey perfected his process of mass-producing milk chocolate, transforming an elite sweet into a treat for everyone to enjoy.

Finally there was an Exhibit that Celebrates over 100 years of Milton Hershey’s legacy, including his generous gifts to educational, cultural institutions and individuals.  Mr. Hershey believed in keeping his employee’s happy and always encouraged them to suggest ideas to improve the chocolate factory.

We finished our visit with a trip to the chocolate lab.  Inspired by Milton Hershey's own candy-making apprenticeship and his flair for experimentation, the Chocolate Lab explores the unique qualities of chocolate through playful, hands-on experiences and interactive demonstrations. We even had to opportunity to make our own chocolate bar.  Believe it or not we added red pepper to our bars.  Red pepper and chocolate gives a warm aftertaste, not spicy-burning as one might think.

While waiting for the class to begin Dave was grumbling about me signing him up for the lab too.  Later on our drive back to our hotel in York, I asked him if he enjoyed the day, and he agreed with me, Mr. Hershey was an incredible man.  I asked him what he liked best about the day; he responded that the chocolate Lab was the best part.  Partly due to the information we were introduced to, as well as the other delightful family that was seated at the work table with us from Breckenridge, TX.  The Lab Tech. presenting the session came over to our table during the candy making part of the session and told us we were the unruly table in the class.  Afterwards we asked that since we were the unruly table, if we could stay after class and help clean up the leftovers?  Cleaning up the lab sounded like a good punishment for the day.  LOL!  We had a lot of fun and the Lab Tech. was entertaining too.

 Wish we could find a man like Mr. Hershey today who would run for president.  Someone who thought about other people and their needs, even building a whole town around his business and his employees comfort seem a high priority on his lists. Than providing a product that moved from only for the rich to affordable to the less fortunate, made this one of the most historically caring people we encountered on our vacation.

A visit to the gift shop on the way out only confirms the realization of the above.  Most of the items were affordable and not over priced for a typical tourist spot.

This was not only the sweetest day of our vacation, but one of the best.  I never knew what a wonderful person Mr. Hershey was!  Dave and I were very pleased that we had the ability to make this stop on our trip.

Back to our hotel and relax for another day.

God Bless everyone who helps others with love in their hearts.
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Linda Navin on

I LOVE HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE.....YUM!! Wish I was there. I never made it to the store in Oakdale and now it's gone.

pndcadena on

The most incredible thing I learned was that Mr. Hershey became a self-made man with only a 4th grade education. More than likely he could have become another Steve Jobs millionaire, but he gave/shared his money with many less fortunate people. There are many testimony's in the museum sharing the facts about Mr. Hershey's generosity.

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