Sunday, February 11, 2007

Chocolate Lovers World

AKA: Hershey's Chocolate World. Since we had all read the book, The Emperors of Chocolate, one of the first things we did when Mom and Dad got here was head up to Hershey, PA. Dave and I have been before, but since we are chocolate lovers, we never mind going again. Our first stop was the "Factory Tour", which due to the ultimate secrecy of candy-making in general, is nothing more than a Disneyland sort of ride (like the Haunted Mansion or Alice in Wonderland) where you board a moving car, and it whisks you around showing candy making machinery that looks like it could have been on Star Trek running all kinds of candy around on conveyor belts, all the while being inundated by the smell of chocolate and listening to some Hershey's Chocolate jingle in the background. Well, I guess that is a little cynical, they do tell you the basics about how eating chocolate comes from cocoa beans, and it is fun. The singing cows are especially cute, and the kids loved it (I can't wait for Disneyworld.). And they do give you a free sample of chocolate at the end (we got kisses this time, and mini kit kats last time). Who can complain about that? (I'm just saying, don't expect a real behind the scenes tour when you go.) Then they drop you off in the middle of their ten acre gift shop. Okay, so it isn't ten acres, but it includes a bakery, a cafe, and a creamery. We took them up on their advertising, and bought a bunch of candy. The kids both got balloons, and Evie even scored a huge sugar cookie with a load of frosting on top.
After the shopping, we headed over and Evie got a quick "factory experience" before we boarded the trolley for a tour of the town of Hershey (You have to pay extra for this, and if you get on one of the tours before 3, you get a twenty minute tour of the visitor center at The Milton Hershey School.). The tour was fun, informational, and like everything else Hershey, chocolate filled. Among other things, we got to see the modern little homes that Milton Hershey used to build the town and sold to his employees at cost. We heard all about the huge park, community center, and country club that were built for the town to use all free of charge, and we drove through the campus of the Milton Hershey School, the nation's (or world's, I can't remember) largest orphanage, where those with financial or social deficiencies can live and have all of their needs provided for. They learn to work on Hershey's farms and ranches, are expected to keep good grades, and are required to attend a devotional every morning. Those who go on to college are given money, new clothes (I think), and a laptop. All of this is supported by Hershey's Chocolate. The best part of the tour? It seems like every other stop, the conductor was passing around another basket of chocolate samples. It definitely left a good taste in my mouth (ha ha).
What? Mom? Who? Where? Camera?
Evie and Grandma watching the singing cows.
Mmmhhh, does anyone else smell chocolate?
Evie with her chocolate kiss samples.
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