Hershey’s chocolate bars do not deserve to be called chocolate. That was my opinion when I first encountered a Hershey’s chocolate bar upon my arrival in the USA as a teen in 1993 and that is my opinion now, 19 years later.
I approach Hershey’s from an almost incredulous stance. You know, that face all screwed up saying without words “what the hell is this?!”, eyebrow raised, mouth contorted head pulled back, saying “get that crap away from me”. Harsh I know but I can’t help it if eating a Hershey Chocolate bar is an unpleasant experience for me. In either case my mind is made up. This is not a review of Hershey’s Chocolate, it is simply a post to explore why it is I do not like it. My father does like the Hershey Dark Chocolate so I guess there’s something to be said there.
Similar to Ghana’s Golden Tree, it’s not a “meltable” chocolate, and I know there are plenty of people out there who did not grow up on Golden Tree (I didn’t) and don’t like it, but I would take a million Kingsbites before I touch a Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar. Part of the experience of eating a Hershey Bar at room temperature for me is “tearing” or “bending” a piece off. I’ve always found that peculiar.
Hershey is bland. It feels like grainy clay in my mouth, and I should know. It is bitter and not presumably because of a high cocoa content. It tastes like what I assume a dog treat would taste like. It tastes like what I assume communist chocolate would taste like only that I KNOW that even that tastes way better as I did eat communist chocolate as a child in East Germany.
That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t eat a few Kisses or min-bars now and then if placed on my desk or in a gift bag, afterall I am a chocophile.
However, I feel that it is over-processed. I’m left to wonder what the cocoa content is. Hershey’s website says that it meets US standards by having at least 12% cocoa liquor in its milk chocolate. That’s awfully low. I did read in a New York Times article speculation that what makes Hershey unique is a process in which the milk is acidified or partially lipolyzed to stabilize against further fermentation, a process that produces butryric acid. I guess then I’m wrong to describe the chocolate as bitter and that the more fitting description is sour/rancid…like vomitus. Now that’s harsh, tee hee.
The ingredients on a Hershey milk chocolate bar (you can’t find it online) read as follows: Milk chocolate (sugar, milk, chocolate, cocoa butter, lactose, milk fat, soy lecithin, PGPR (emulsifier), vanillin, artificial flavor). All of that, really? Chocolate as an ingredient of chocolate really? PG-what huh? This I had to investigate.
So chocolate as an ingredient is made of cocoa solids and cocoa fat (also goes by the fancier term cocoa butter). However cocoa fat/butter itself being quite expensive is often replaced by cheaper vegetable fats such as soybean by a lot of commercial chocolate bar manufacturers. Looks to me like questionable ingredients are being hidden behind a generic “chocolate” label. Anyways, on to the polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR). Looks like yet another way to lower the content of cocoa fat/butter, this time with an artificial castor oil-derived ingredient to replace that smooth creamy sensation. And since this is a milk chocolate, it contains milk, milk fat, and lactose (milk sugar). So to translate, Hershey milk chocolate bar contains sugar, milk derivatives, cocoa derivatives, additives and artificial flavours and I wouldn’t be surprised if the quantities are as in the order written from highest to lowest, thus bolstering my suspicion that it doesn’t deserve to be called chocolate, it is no different from “sweets”/candy. And should I even dare to wonder where the sugar is derived from? Well I dared and wondered and yes, it is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which the Corn Refiners Association wants us to believe is the same as any other sugar! Uh-huh!
Well, Milton Hershey, the man, may have revolutionized chocolate making in the United States bringing it to the masses, but I do not care to have this particular brand account for any part of my caloric consumption. No ma’am, if I’m going to partake in a guilty pleasure of chocolate-eating (or sugar consumption), I’m going to enjoy it. I’ll have a plain old Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate bar, even the American version manufactured by Hershey’s (which is different from real Cadbury), for my entry-level, industrial, cheap, milk chocolate for the masses fix, please.
American Cadbury Dairy Milk ingredients: sugar, milk, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, soya lecithin, artificial & natural flavours
English (original) Cadbury Dairy Milk ingredients: milk, sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, vegetable fat, emulsifier (442), flavourings (E442 is ammonium phosphatides)