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Chocolate World 2011 Trip Report
August 3, 2011

I know that there exists a segment of the human population that doesn't eat chocolate. I'm not talking about people who are allergic to chocolate, or are diabetic, or anyone with some other medical condition that won't allow them to eat chocolate (bless their tortured souls); I'm talking about people who CAN eat chocolate, but don't WANT to.

I don't get these people. I respect them. And I'm sure I could even be friends with some of them. But I don't get them.

I like chocolate. Oh, man, do I like chocolate. Dark, bittersweet chocolate? I have feelings for the dark chocolate that border on fetishistic. But any chocolate is, at a minimum, very acceptable, even the crappy "chocolate" icing on supermarket birthday cakes. Or that unwrapped mini-bar that fell out of your nephew's Halloween trick-or-treat bag last October and got kicked under the couch, where it's been nesting in the dust bunnies and absorbing all sorts of rank odors, month after month, and the cat maybe nibbled on it once or twice... yeah, I'd eat that.

Which is why I was quite happy to spend my second day with The Season Pass "Wheels on I-80" tour at Hershey's Chocolate World. Truly, this was a very guilty pleasure; according to this 2010 report, Hershey Foods is a long way from ensuring, openly and transparently, that its cocoa producers are abiding by fair trade labor policies. I had made a commitment (a pretty weak one, obviously) to avoid eating any chocolate that isn't Fair Trade Certified. Fell off the wagon pretty hard on this trip (and I'm back on it now, god help me).

I do hope that Hershey is comprehensively studying its entire supply chain and is willing to take any steps necessary to root out unethical labor practices, should they be found.

That said, Chocolate World is pretty rockin'.

It was impossible to resist entering a building with this sign on top of it. Foul temptress!

Love the mini-version of the actual factory's iconic pair of smokestacks off to the side.

I don't snarf down on Twizzlers, but these "keep off the grass" rails were mildly awesome.

The Great American Chocolate Tour was the only real attraction that I remember from prior visits to Chocolate World. It's still a fun (and free!) dark ride that takes you through the process of chocolate production and you'll want to ride for the smells alone. Wow, does it smell good in there. Unbelievably good. Plus, you get a free bit of candy at the end. Which you will be jonesing for, RAVENOUSLY. (Foul, foul temptress...)

There's also now a show: The Really Big 3D Show. Doug took Zac to see it at the tail end of the day; the rest of us chilled elsewhere. Seems to be best for the smaller kids?

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© Robert Coker
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