30 May 2005

With a name like "Chocolate World"...

After briefly visiting the Shoe House, we made for Hershey's Chocolate World, Hershey, Pennsylvania. Parking was free for the first 2 hours, no entrance fees, and there was some free activities. We joined in a tour through a factory exhibit which showed the various stages in the production of Hershey's chocolate. On the wall of the rather long passage leading to the tour carriages were some TV screens with short videos showing how cocoa beans are grown and harvested. They were fascinating.
Whilst we were watching, everyone went past us wondering why we would bother with something educational. We learned that Cocoa plants only grow within 20 degrees of the equator. The beans grow in pods which are harvested by hand and then fermented and dried. Very interesting stuff.
The tour was also worthwhile. Visitors were placed in little two seat carriages which went through a series of displays showing each stage of manufacture. Fascinating.
The most humorous part was as we were leaving and being channelled towards the Hershey Shop, a lady behind us whined, "They didn't even give us the free chocolate!" Around the next corner they did hand out a small sample chocolate bar to each participant, and this explained why everyone seemed so keen to just get through the thing. We were happy to learn how chocolate was made.
In the end, Lana got her souvenir teddy bear and badge, we learned about chocolate making, and pondered about visiting the Cadbury's factory in Tasmania when we eventually return to Australia. Yummo!

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