Yesterday we took our first little mini trip as a family, although I'm not so sure it can actually be called a trip since we were only 45 minutes away from the house and we were only gone for like four hours total. Regardless, we had our first major family outing to
. For anyone from outside of Pennsylvania, Hershey, PA is where Hershey's Chocolate was founded by Milton S. Hershey and now there is an amusement park, Hershey Park, as well as Chocolate World. And yes, it is all based around chocolate and candy. The amusement park is a lot of fun, there's some serious roller coasters, if you're into that, and your normal amusement park type stuff. Chocolate World is right outside of the park and is fantastic because the main attraction, the Chocolate World tour ride, is completely free. They have a few other events you can participate in as well for a small fee for each. Luckily, Seth works for an awesome company and part of his benefits includes everything for free at Chocolate World (and free tickets to the park!). So, we got to make our own chocolate bars and participate in a chocolate tasting class as well as the tour ride.
I have been going to Chocolate World/Hershey Park my entire life. There has not been one year where I have not at least gone to Chocolate World. Usually I just ride the tour ride, since it's free, and at the end you get a free sample. So this was my first time with the chocolate bar making experience and the chocolate tasting class.
The Create Your Own Chocolate Bar Experience is serious. You start off by donning hair nets and aprons for "orientation." Yes, they even have baby hair nets and William rocked it! He was already cute but this just pushed him up like ten levels on the cuteness scale. You then get to design your chocolate bar. First, you choose either a dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate base and then you choose three ingredients for the filling. The filling options change daily and we got to choose from butterscotch chips, toffee bites, chocolate cookie bits, pretzel pieces, crispy rice cereal, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. I chose a dark chocolate base and filled it with toffee, cookie bits, and pretzel pieces. Then, you get to design your own packaging and finally, you get to watch your chocolate bar being made.
They start off with the appropriate base and then the bases go down a conveyer belt and stop at the appropriate filling stations. After all of your fillings have been added, your chocolate bar is covered in milk chocolate. Now this milk chocolate is special because they melt it every 24 hours making it the freshest chocolate bar one could ever have. The bar then goes through the cooling process and is packaged at the end in a great keepsake tin covered in your custom cover. The best part, it tastes delicious. After our chocolate making experience we headed over to the Chocolate World Tour Ride.
As soon as we got on the ride, William made this face and looked this way for the entire duration. It's a comical mixture of confusion, worry, and horror. The ride goes through the process of how chocolate is made and even includes singing cows. Not real singing cows, animatronic ones, but singing cows nonetheless.
I still don't quite know how to read William's expression during the ride. Was it wonder? Horror? Confusion? Excitement? One will never know what was running through his head. But he was completely silent the entire time which was hilarious because he is rarely quiet. So I'm guessing he was more confused than anything.
In the Chocolate Tasting Class, AKA "Hershey University" the "professor" went through the history of chocolate and how it is made and then discussed the different flavor profiles one can taste in chocolate and why. Cacao trees have very shallow roots and therefore they pick up flavor profiles of what is around them. For example, if a cacao tree is near a coffee plantation then the cacao beans that grow from it will have a slight coffee flavor profile. We then sampled five different types of chocolate and talked about the flavor profiles. It was actually quite interesting and we got five pieces of chocolate with it.
We had an absolutely fantastic day! This was our first big adventure as a family and it was a success. Since we were only gone for four hours, William didn't need fed and we only had to change his diaper once making it the perfect little trip to take a two month old to and the fact that we got everything for free made it even better. If you find yourself near Hershey, PA you absolutely have to visit Chocolate World and Hershey Park, I promise you will not regret it! I love my little family and I cannot wait for more adventures!