Tag Archives: chocolate

The sweet legacy of the Hershey Story

“ . . .there is no provision for a police department, nor for a jail. Here there will be no unhappiness, then why any crime.”  Milton Hershey, 1903, on planning Hershey, PA

The Hershey Story: Museum on Chocolate Ave., Hershey, PA
The Hershey Story: Museum on Chocolate Ave., Hershey, PA

If it wasn’t for shipping costs, Hersheypark might have been built in New Orleans. In 1883, after less than a year, the struggling caramel candy entrepreneur Milton Hershey gave up on a southern location and moved back to his home state of Pennsylvania. The Hershey Story – aka the chocolate museum on, naturally, Chocolate Avenue ­– may strip any cynicism one may have concerning philanthropy.  A visit to the Hershey Story generated both awe and admiration at the tenacity and vision of a single candy maker – and his extraordinary legacy.

Gail Forbes, the Chcocolate Lab

It’s the chocolate first, though, especially milk chocolate. At the Hershey Story’s Chocolate Lab, Gail Forbes explains that chocolate (cacao) is native only to Mexico, yet Africa now produces 70% of the world’s supply. The Portuguese established cacao production in central western Africa in the 17th century. Cacao now thrives worldwide but only within a narrow band 5° north and south of the Equator.

equatorial chocolate beans

One cacao pod contains an average 30 beans and will produce enough edible chocolate for a 3-ounce bar. This enjoyable hour long hands on chocolate class resulted in the group molding individual milk chocolate bars and seasoning them with optional additions including bitter chocolate shavings, cinnamon and red pepper flakes. The Chocolate Lab has an extensive schedule of events and classes.

18th century chocolate pots, Hershey Story

The exhibits in the Hershey Story are laid out within a modern spacious interior in chronological order covering cacao and chocolate processing, the long life and career of Milton Hershey, the company, the town and his legacy. In 1903, already having segued from caramels into trendy Swiss milk chocolate, Milton Hershey moved his company from Lancaster.  Among the many reasons he purchased a vast amount of Derry Township, besides being born there, was to construct a modern assembly line factory achieving a cost reduction that would put chocolate into the hands of working class children.

Hershey Dairy

In Pennsylvania’s agricultural heartland, he created extensive dairy farms securing a controlled supply of milk. To this day, only black & white Holstein cows produce the milk that’s processed into the double condensed milk developed by Milton himself that gives Hershey’s milk chocolate its creamy texture.

Hershey Kiss street lamps in Hershey, PA

Yet another major interest for the sizable land investment was to establish a model company town. Inspired by Bourneville, the village created by England’s progressive Cadbury brothers (Cadbury chocolate), Hershey , Pennsylvania, would include housing, churches, schools, health facilities, public transit, theaters, a vast community center, a luxe hotel, an award-winning public rose garden and the ever-popular Hersheypark (1907). Like Bourneville, foresight and the company’s continued success ensured the town’s future prosperity.

Reeses display at the Hershey Story museum

Milton encouraged home ownership and private businesses, even competition. Harry Burnett Reese was a young worker at the Hershey chocolate factory when he was inspired to make candy on his own in his home’s basement. With investment from Milton Hershey himself, the peanut butter cup was born in 1928 and the H.B. Reese Candy Company thrived. The business admiration was mutual since the chocolate was procured from Hershey. Reese’s became a valuable brand for the Hershey Chocolate Company when purchased from H.B.’s heirs in 1963.

In 1909 Milton and Catherine Hershey added a unique institution to their town and their legacy when they created a perpetual endowment for the Milton Hershey School by signing over their shares – and ownership – of the Hershey Chocolate Company. Providing orphans comprehensive residential K – 12 education and training (and beyond in many cases) the Milton Hershey School continues its mission today as a model co-ed institution serving a population that’s often at risk. The Hershey Story has an extensive exhibit on the school’s enviable success.

display at museum of life at Milton Hershey School

Established in 1935, the M.S. Hershey Foundation’s mission has been to concentrate on community educational projects, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the Hershey Gardens and The Hershey Story. Even during the Great Depression, Hershey was spared the worst. The luxurious Hotel Hershey and other company supported construction projects were completed during the 1930s. In the 21st century, Chocolate Avenue’s Hershey Kiss street lamps light a vibrant and attractive commercial center including many original buildings and cafes.

Hershey Hotel from Hershey Gardens, Hershey, PA
Hershey Hotel from Hershey Gardens, Hershey, PA

Hershey Gardens was laid out as a public space in 1935 by Milton in front of the hotel and provide a panoramic view of Hersheypark. It includes acres of original roses, a delightful children’s garden and butterfly house and an extensive arboretum with complimentary plantings. Like all things in Hershey, horticultural coordinator Brooke Umberger detailed a list of community outreach projects especially aimed at environmental education for children.

At the end of a long leisurely tour, a Countries of Origin Chocolate Tasting at The Hershey Story’s Café Zooka gives visitors the chance to sample hot drinking chocolate from a half dozen locations of the globe. This is thick rich warm chocolate like a liquid bar. From the tiny super supplier African island of Sao Thome’s earthy deep cocoa to Java’s caramel undertones and ancient Mexico’s spicy Aztec brew, chocolate has pleasured millions, but it created the means for Milton and Catherine Hershey to provide a continuing legacy of humanitarian service.

Countries of Origin Chocolate Tasting

Discloser: the author was a guest of the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau. Check their site for up-to-date event listings.

Hershey, PA, is conveniently located off the Pennsylvania Turnpike just east of Harrisburg and 95 miles west of Philadelphia. Domestic and international flights service Harrisburg International Airport and Amtrak provides national rail.

 

Please read more by Travel with Pen and Palate at…

Hellenic News of America (Travel with Pen and Palate)
Hellenic News of America (Marc d’Entremont)
Travel Pen and Palate Argentina

 

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Boise, Idaho, Top Ten

Most state capitals were chosen for political reasons, frequently condemning them to regions of inconsequential and dubious economic value other than politics.
The candy bra at The Chocolate Bar, 805 W. Bannock, Boise, ID
The candy bra at The Chocolate Bar, 805 W. Bannock, Boise, ID
But in Boise, Idaho, an entrepreneurial spirit is resulting in unique pockets of cultural activity.

Boise, Idaho, is not your average state capital

 

Freak Alley
Freak Alley

Brewers Nuts at City Peanut Shop
Brewers Nuts at City Peanut Shop

cafes in downtown
cafes in downtown

Lava Lake Lamb
Lava Lake Lamb

Bedroom in the rooming house: Basque Cultural Center
Bedroom in the rooming house: Basque Cultural Center
Come visit my Boise top ten.

Boise, Idaho, is not your average state capital

The 25-mile Greenbelt along the Boise River in the Idaho capital is a haven for recreation, sustainable river ecology and a pollution free bike and pedestrian path connecting downtown with Boise State University as well as numerous hotels and cafes. This video highlights a spillway popular with surfers and kayakers. Video credit: Marc d’Entremont (travel with pen and palate)

You can read all my articles at:

Luxe Beat Magazine

Original World Travel

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

Suite101

The Egyptian Theater
The Egyptian Theater

Coffee and chocolate and Hawaii and a recipe

Kona coffee crème with salted chocolate caramel macadamia nut sauce
Kona coffee crème with salted chocolate caramel macadamia nut sauce

A recent press trip to the big island of Hawaii inspired me to devise a recipe for

Kona coffee crème with salted chocolate caramel macadamia nut sauce.

With the active encouragement of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement and the considerable resources of the Kamehameha School agricultural land use initiative, the future for serious small farmers has rarely been brighter in the islands. With over 300 independent farms growing Kona Coffee and several dozen growing cocoa beans, the future for these Hawaii agricultural products is robust.

cocoa pods at Original Hawaiian Chocolate, Kona, Hi
cocoa pods at Original Hawaiian Chocolate, Kona, Hi

The Kona Coffee Belt, panoramic Hawaii Route 180, hugs the Kona coast. Several dozen farms, including UCC-Hawaii Kona Coffee Estate and Original Hawaiian Chocolate offer tours and tastings. It’s no surprise that coffee and chocolate pair well together, but their Hawaiian story is just as interesting.

Immigrant fruits, a tale of Hawaii grown coffee and chocolate

the Kona coast from UCC-Hawaii Kona Coffee Estate, Kona, Hi
the Kona coast from UCC-Hawaii Kona Coffee Estate, Kona, Hi

 

You can read all my articles on Examiner.com at:

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

and

 Food & Recipes Examiner