Archive for the 'Cacao Reserve' Category

Hershey’s Cacao Reserve Single Origin Collection

September 26th, 2008 by Rosa

I’ve previously written about Hershey’s Cacao Reserve line, their attempt to make better chocolate than their low quality, increasingly vegetable oil laced everyday fare. Their Single Origin Collection is a blatantly obvious but still smart attempt to jump on the single origin bandwagon. Like the word “Belgium,” the “single origin” moniker can lend cachet but doesn’t always deliver. Hershey’s, however, does a pretty nice job of making single origin chocolate accessible to the non-foodie snob.

The collection contains three chocolates of three origins and three cacao percentages. There’s Java, which is a 37% milk, Arriba, a 50% billed as dark milk, and Sao Tome, a 70% dark. They come individually wrapped with cute little locale pictures and different colors depending on the percentage. And they were perfectly sized for a two-bite tasting.

The Java is a creamy milk chocolate with strong caramel undertones. It wasn’t as thick on the tongue as I would’ve expected a 37% to be, which left me slightly disappointed. Arriba also carries a creamy melt with an undertone that I had some trouble placing. I finally decided that it tasted like butter.

Unsurprisingly (because I prefer dark to milk chocolate), the Sao Tome was my favorite of the bunch. It had a super sharp snap to it, with strong cocoa notes and a slight sour berry fruitiness. While the Sao Tome made a nice impression, the overall collection isn’t that exciting, so it only gets an O.

You can taste some of the cacao nuances, but other, more expensive bars do that better. Still, it’s a great way to ease yourself into chocolate tasting and an affordable way to host a little chocolate tasting party. For that, Hershey’s gets an A for effort.

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Hershey’s Cacao Reserve Truffles – Holiday Collection

February 1st, 2008 by Rosa

Hershey’s Cacao Reserve line (BUY!) is their attempt to appear upscale while still being mass-market. The generous 9.1 oz bag of Holiday Collection truffles sent by Hershey’s contained about 8 each of their milk (35% cacao), dark (65% cacao), and spice milk (35%) chocolate truffles, all individually wrapped. While the packaging extolled the virtues of their carefully selected beans and gave elaborate tasting instructions (“swirl the melting chocolate across all surfaces of your mouth, noticing the early flavors, smoothness, mouthfeel, finish, and lingering notes”), nothing can change the fact that these truffles are mass produced. They’re nice, but I don’t think they’re worthy of that much elaborate ritual.

The milk chocolate (left) had a smooth and creamy molded chocolate shell with a nice melt and a slight sourness. The ganache had a slight grain to it and was the same sweet and slightly tangy milk chocolate.

The spice milk chocolate (right) had the same milk chocolate shell, but its ganache filling tasted of chai-like spices. I think I tasted cloves and maybe nutmeg? I’m not a huge fan of chai tea, but I enjoy chai-flavored things, and this was my favorite truffle of the mix.

The dark chocolate (center) was a disappointment for me. I love dark chocolate for its slight bitterness and character. The dark truffle turned out to seem just as sweet as the milk truffle and was rather bland for dark chocolate. If it hadn’t been labeled as such, I’d never have guessed that it had such a high cacao content.

Overall, I found Hershey’s offerings to be unremarkable but serviceable. The chocolate shells were nice and creamy, but the fillings could have been more smooth. If you’re looking for a comparatively inexpensive truffle indulgence, these would be a good buy. I’d rather shell out a little more and spend my indulgence calories on nicer chocolates from somewhere else. An O for the lot.

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