The Process of Perfection
It all starts with the cacao pod
Cacao trees bear fruit twice per year. When harvested, the cacao fruit, or pod, is cut open to reveal the seeds and pulp. The seeds dry and ferment for about a week and a half to become cacao beans.
Winnowing separates the nib from its shell
This process separates the shell from the center of the bean. The beans are cracked and the light shells are vacuumed away. The small pieces of beans that are left are called nibs and are what will make the chocolate.
Farm fresh milk from local dairy farms
HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate is made with thousands of gallons of fresh milk delivered daily from farms within 100 miles of our factory in Hershey, PA. The milk is mixed with sugar and condensed to create a taffy-like consistency before mixing it with the unsweetened chocolate.
Adding milk and sugar to make chocolate crumb
The chocolate crumb is then put through refining machines to produce a super fine powder. We also incorporate cocoa butter, which comes from pressing the fat from unsweetened chocolate.
Next is the conching process
The conching process intensely mixes the ground crumb and additional cocoa butter. The mixture goes from a dry powder to a thick paste and finally to a smooth flow-able milk chocolate that has that famously smooth feeling in your mouth. During conching, undesirable sour and acidic flavor notes evaporate leaving the strong but pleasant HERSHEY'S chocolate flavor.
The chocolate mixture is poured into molds
After the tempering process the chocolate is poured into vibrating chocolate bar molds—ensuring air bubbles are removed and the chocolate is evenly distributed before it goes into the cooling tunnel.