If you followed In Katrina’s Kitchen on Instagram this summer you saw a very fun trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania- I’m excited to be a Hershey Shared Goodness Ambassador and bring you lots of delicious chocolate recipes for the upcoming year!

The Hershey Experience: The Hershey Lodge

Upon checking in at the Hershey Lodge you are treated to a full-sized Hershey’s chocolate bar but that didn’t stop me from swinging by the gift shop and snagging a few more chocolates for my boys. I mean I was traveling to Hershey Pennsylvania; I couldn’t come home with anything less than a suitcase of goodies!

Not surprisingly our trip was full of good food. After being spoiled with crab cakes with Creole remoulade and a mango tartar sauce we headed to The Chocolate Lab  to try a Countries of Origin Chocolate Tasting. 

The Hershey Experience: Chocolate Tasting

Drinking chocolate served at the perfect temperature was a great way to end our first night. We learned all about cacao pods and the how Hershey makes its famous Hershey’s Kisses chocolates and bars.

My favorite drinking chocolate was from Venezuela- very rich with a hint of fruit.

The Hershey Experience: Cacao Pod

The whole visit was about food transparency and the Hershey team was well-represented. Each team member walked us through their field of expertise. As the parent of a child with a peanut allergy I was particularly impressed with Hershey’s commitment to food safety and labeling. They always try to segregate allergens when possible. Even after rigorous testing if low level proteins are present the product is labeled for cross contamination. The commitment comes from the top down; Hershey CEO John P. Bilbrey believes that the public has a right to know what is in their food.

The Hershey Experience: Making Artisan Chocolate Bars

The next day we donned our safety glasses and lab coats for some hands-on learning. We molded our own chocolate bars and topped with fresh artisan toppings such as nuts, dried berries, toffee, and sea salt.

The Hershey Experience: Artisan Chocolate Bars

Next we had the pleasure of making caramels with people who have spent the past SEVEN years developing Hershey’s newest Lancaster Soft Crèmes. The caramels have the perfect pull and texture; they’re soft and pliable. I was really impressed!

We had the option of toppings and add-ins here as well but I kept it simple with a dash of sea salt. My husband claimed these the best caramels he has ever had and I barely got some after I came through my door the next day!

The Hershey Experience: Making Salted Caramel

Then we got to go behind the scenes and explore the Hershey Test Kitchens. I particularly enjoyed the supply room and prop closet. We also did a sensory testing and blind taste test- very fun!

The Hershey Experience: In the Hershey Test Kitchens

I can’t wait to share this gluten-free chocolate cake with you! Just a few more taste testing sessions until this recipe is perfected and published but I will share the chocolate frosting recipe with you on my next post!

The Hershey Experience: Testing a Hershey Gluten-Free Cake

After an informative panel discussion and Q&A session we ended our trip with a shopping spree inside Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction.

The Hershey Experience: Chocolate World

Besides purchasing 1 of everything, I treated myself to some S’mores Fudge- giant marshmallows sandwiched between graham cracker and rich chocolate fudge!

The Hershey Experience: S'mores Fudge

Although I shared everything with inquiring minds (and tummies), when I got home I did keep a few chocolate bars exclusive to Hershey’s Chocolate World all to myself.

The Hershey Experience

You can find out more about all of the Hershey Shared Goodness bloggers on the Hershey site.

As a Shared Goodness ambassador I have an ongoing partnership with Hershey. I was compensated for my time; all opinions are my own.