It’s interesting to watch the tipping point of trends. I guess we can say that all the wonderful aspects of artisan chocolate are gaining the attention of a broader audience. To me, evidence of that reach is not just the fantastic emersion of bean-to-bar makers dotting the map, but tracing the interesting path of good old Hershey’s chocolate.
Hershey’s has actually released its own line of single-bean bars called Cacao Reserve. I just discovered it by word of mouth (Thanks, Luisa!), but the line was first launched in 2006. I’m still new to the inspired art of gourmet single-bean, but I’ve not heard one expert mention Hershey’s at all, let alone its origin bars. To me, that’s a sign that it might not be worth sampling. On the other hand, I’m tempted to test it just to see how unsavory it is compared to the other magical chocolate creations out there.
What would happen if I did taste it, though, and was pleasantly surprised that this mainstream maker could design a somewhat palatable bar? Frankly, I’m not sure what I would do at that point. I have to say that I still probably wouldn’t be that dazzled by it.
For one thing, I don’t know what’s in the chocolate. Hershey’s doesn’t list its ingredients online and I haven’t actually seen these bars in person to check the label. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a huge fan of minimal ingredients. I’m also into unique package art, fair trade, and the flavor complexities that small-batch chocolate so often has.
So, for now, I’m following my instinct: until I’ve exhausted my favorites featured at my local chocolate shop, I’m not going to invest my time or money in Hershey’s.