Tag Archives: Hershey

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.

 

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Rehoboth Beach and Harrisburg: an art and culinary drive

Harrisburg the capital of Pennsylvania and Rehoboth Beach in far southern Delaware may be 165 miles apart, but they share similar European colonial origins, the Susquehanna/Chesapeake Bay river basin and legendary farmlands.

Wearable art at the Art League of Rehoboth
Wearable art at the Art League of Rehoboth
Larry Ringgold,  driftwood horse sculpture,  Peninsula Gallery
Larry Ringgold, driftwood horse sculpture, Peninsula Gallery

 

From plein air painters feasting on the raw natural beauty of beaches and marshland to cutting edge jewelry design, southern Delaware has nurtured the arts for the past century.  As the motto of the Art League of Rehoboth says, Art Grows Here.™

 

 

Abraxas Hudson, artist , owner Abraxas Studio of Art, Lewes, DE.
Abraxas Hudson, artist , owner Abraxas Studio of Art, Lewes, DE.

 

View eleven of Sussex County’s best galleries at…

 Southern Delaware art galleries break design barriers

 

Cafe Fresco's Dim Sum Donuts
Cafe Fresco’s Dim Sum Donuts

 

a Pennsylvania dairy farm
a Pennsylvania dairy farm

Before there was state government, before there was coal, iron, steel and chocolate, farm and tavern table were always next-door. The ingredients to make a creamy mushroom risotto, charcuterie, or a Polish vegetarian chili are still from the earth surrounding the Harrisburg/Hershey region.

Bar at Devon Seafood Grill
Bar at Devon Seafood Grill

 

A spotlight on eight venues offering  culinary creativity…

Where farm and table are always next door 

 

Scrambled eggs w/truffles, pheasant sausage at Suba
Scrambled eggs w/truffles, pheasant sausage at Suba

 

You can read all my articles at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

Chef Christian DeLutis redefines pub fare at Tröegs

Chef Christian DeLutis at Troegs Brewery
Chef Christian DeLutis at Troegs Brewery

“A restaurant is a story,” says Christian DeLutis the thirty-something Executive Chef of Tröegs Brewing Company’s Snack Bar. Once you enter the sleek modern brewery, located next to Pennsylvania’s famed Hershey Park, you may well wonder what is the story? Sharing the same space as the brewery’s expansive beer tasting room, a customer can certainly order fries, popcorn or a grilled cheese sandwich. Yet that’s where any similarity to average pub food ends.

beef pot roast beef pot roast served in a mason jar.
beef pot roast beef pot roast served in a mason jar.

The hand-cut fries are served with aromatic hop oil and spicy ketchup. The popcorn may be seasoned with rosemary brown butter and sea salt, and the grilled sandwich will have three cheeses. Or you can try one of their specials of the day from the blackboard such as beef pot roast with root vegetables, duck fat mashed potatoes and a rich demi-glace, served in a mason jar. If this sounds too esoteric for a brewery in rural Pennsylvania then you haven’t been to Tröegs when up to 2,000 customers a day flock to the Snack Bar.

Snack Bar
Snack Bar

Chef Christian DeLutis, who grew up in rural central Pennsylvania, started his career as an English teacher before turning towards food. After completing culinary arts training in Pittsburgh, he spent time cooking in Ireland before moving to the Washington DC and Baltimore area, moving up the ranks in top restaurant kitchens. His grandparents made their own sausage and salami, but Christian was classically trained under French chefs.

Snack Bar
Snack Bar

This doesn’t mean the tasting room at Tröegs Brewing Company is white table clothes and suited waiters. It’s in the middle of a busy working brewery; there are long wooden tables and no waiters. Orders are placed at the Snack Bar counter, and you’ll have it in your hands within seven minutes. “It’s food that works with beer,” Christian states simply, even if it’s succulent, slow cooked sous-vide duck leg confit.

Chef DeLutis has based his menu concept on the popularity of locally sourced ingredients in the preparation of imaginative dishes being served in California’s prestigious wineries. Considering the explosion of national interest in fine craft beers, it’s only natural upscale breweries would follow suit. It’s to Tröegs benefit that Hershey is in the middle of the legendary Pennsylvania Dutch region known for the excellence of its agricultural abundance.

Locally sourced ingredients: bones for stocks, sous vide local duck, local Amish butter, breads made on site with locally milled flour
Locally sourced ingredients: bones for stocks, sous vide local duck, local Amish butter, breads made on site with locally milled flour

The Snack Bar sources much of its ingredients directly from local farms, orchards and dairies including fresh oysters from the Chesapeake. Christian believes in preserving as much summer produce as time allows. Personal relationships are cultivated with farmers and local producers to obtain the freshest ingredients such as local raw butter, lamb and beef. The Snack Bar staff of 30 includes bakers and butchers. They fabricate the cuts from the whole animal. One farmer buys the beer mash to feed to his cattle and then sells the cattle to the kitchen – the circle of life.

They cure their own bacon, prepare the sausages and pates, smoke their own briskets and make extensive use of sous-vide cooking which slowly infuses flavors into vacuum sealed ingredients creating dishes that improve while being held under refrigeration and are easily reheated. Even what products are not locally produced are customized, such as the large soft pretzels. They’re imported raw frozen from Bavaria, dipped in beer and topped with toasted malted barley from the brewery before baking.

Charcuterie board : house made & locally sourced
Charcuterie board : house made & locally sourced

Chef DeLutis creates the menu with staff input. There will always be standard items he says, but the menu reflects seasonal changes and when new beers are released. He strives to maintain a lighthearted but disciplined atmosphere both in the kitchen as well as the dining space, which is shared with the beer-tasting bar. Promoting from within and encouraging staff members to engage in continuing their culinary development is important. Currently the cooks are writing reports on ingredient requirements that’ll serve as the basis of ongoing discussions with the farmers.

But does smoked lamb sausage with lemon marmalade, roasted beef marrow bones and rosemary ice cream on a fresh plum tart make business sense? “Snack Bar revenue equals retail beer sales, which came as a surprise,” says Chef DeLutis with genuine modesty. But a brewery is about beer, and the Tröegs brothers don’t disappoint.

A sample of Tröegs beers
A sample of Tröegs beers

Founded 20 years ago by brothers who grew up in the Hershey/Harrisburg area and became interested in home brewing, Tröegs has grown prodigiously with national distribution. They employ three microbiologists to keep their proprietary yeast strains healthy. The brewery propagates it’s own yeast. The hops are from the Pacific Northwest.

Brooke siphoned off fresh beer during tour
Brooke siphoned off fresh beer during tour

Brooke, our knowledgeable brewery tour guide, stopped half way during the tour of the compact, nearly Rube Goldberg like, modern facility to climb up one of the vast stainless steel fermentation vats and siphoned off fresh beer. It was a unique tasting to experience an almost ready craft brew. The actual tasting of several Tröegs beers took place next to the active bottling station.

Golden Dream Weaver Wheat was a peppery pilsner with German hops and back notes of banana. Troegegenator Double Bock was an 8.2% alcohol dark, full-bodied brew with notes of brown sugar, molasses and malt. Perpetual IPA is a homage to the best of Northwest Pacific Coast hops with back notes of pine and mint. Visitors can opt for a self-guided wander behind glass walls with lengthy storyboards.

Locally sourced cheeses, jams, fruit tray
Locally sourced cheeses, jams, fruit tray

Tucking into lunch was sheer pleasure reminiscent to this chef-writer of French country bistros. The charcuterie board was an artfully arranged selection of house cured meats, duck, chicken and foie gras pate, smoked trout mousse and chicken liver mousse. It was paired with an equally fine cheese board featuring Double Gloucester, Brigante, Buttermilk Blue and Smoked Gouda. The soup of the day was earthy charred sweet pepper bisque blended with goat cheese cream. And the Bavarian Oktoberfest pretzel was sheer fun with its coating of malted barley adding a counterpoint to the soft, warm dough. All paired well with the corked, slightly carbonated, Belgian style LaGrave Triple Golden Ale.

When you go: Tröegs Brewing Company and Snack Bar, Hershey, PA, is open all year with a busy regular clientele. Opening hours: Sunday – Wednesday 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Thursday – Saturday until 10:00 p.m.

Disclosure: the author was a guest of the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau and Tröegs.

Troegs Bavarian Oktoberfest pretzel
Smile! It’s Troegs Bavarian Oktoberfest pretzel

 

You can read all my articles at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Travel

 

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