Ahhhh hello dear friends! I hope your first month of 2018 is going well. I can’t believe January is almost over!!
Januarys always go by quick for me and I realized for the last 5 years, the first month is always crazy busy, usually involving traveling to multiple places. Don’t ask me why but this year was no exception.
As you know I spent the New Year in New York City, which is a trip I will remember forever. On our last day in the city, the blizzard hit NYC and almost all of the girls got stuck!!
Luckily I was able to get out because I took the train to Pennsylvania to spend some time with Katie, Miss PA.
The first few days I was able to watch her shine as she reported for Penn Live at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, interviewing local business owners, celebrity chefs and even the newborn baby calves!
While she was doing her thing, I wandered through the booths and the animals, fully immersing myself in the Pennsylvania culture.
I tried the famous PA Dairymen’s milkshake, honey ice cream, stroop waffles and grape pie. I have to say I was most impressed with the giant butter sculpture.
Brisket and the famous Lebanon Balogna!! This is a Pennsylvania Dutch staple and they were so kind to send me home with a bag of their best products. This balogna is FULL of flavor and so so yummy. I also learned the proper way to say Balogna so make sure to check out my video to see if you say it the same way!
Watch what happened when I tried a hard boiled red beet egg for the first time!
While at the farm show I received an email from The Hershey Company with an itinerary for Katie and I to spend the entire next day touring the factory and learning about chocolate.
Even the lamp posts are chocolate. 😉
It turns out, the woman that reached out to me was the same lady I met last year in Mobile, Alabama when I interned for the Reese’s Senior Bowl!! God has a funny way of making the world small and I knew we would be in for a treat. 😉
We woke up bright and early and arrived at the factory to be greeted by the nicest employees and of course, chocolate.
They have bowls of chocolate and candy in every single room!!
19 East is the original location for the Hershey Chocolate Factory, but when they moved the factory down the street and renovated this building to be their new office space, they kept the original support beams and much of the machinery to preserve the history!
The OG kiss machine was probably my favorite.
They took us to the social department to learn from the marketing execs how they use trend maps and real time threads to create their content you see on social media and target specific groups of people.
After learning about it in school for 4 years, it was so cool to see it happening in real life!!
They have the most amazing cafeteria where a chef made us our own customized risotto and it was SO GOOD HOLY MOLY.
Jim St. John, Hershey’s Master Chocolatier (aka the brains behind all of Hershey’s chocolate and the man responsible for inventing low fat chocolate) joined us for lunch and took us in the Jolly Rancher car to the Innovation Center for the second part of our day. (He brought us cookies… 10 points for Jim)
Jim walked us through a chocolate tasting and broke down the steps to make chocolate, explaining the differences between, milk, dark, bittersweet and white chocolate. I’m not excited about this at all as you can see.
Did you know that one of the little squares on a Hershey’s Bar is called a “Pip”?!
This is a cocoa pod with cacao beans in them!
He told us that chocolate is a fruit, so from here on out it will be a regular part of my diet. If you don’t believe me, I have him on camera saying it so CLICK HERE to see for yourself!! Take it from the Hershey King y’all!
After we tasted chocolate from all over the world we went into the kitchen to meet Linda, the head pastry chef who was testing and developing different recipes to go on the back of Hershey’s Cake Mix boxes! (coolest job ever)
Yep, the cakes are great Linda!! (Hi Jim)
We walked in and out of the laboratories where all the magic happens, but I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures of that because it’s top secret stuff!!
Our buddy Jim dropped us off at Chocolate World to finish our tour where we rode the Chocolate Ride and made our own chocolate bars!!
This was the coolest thing ever.
I chose a dark chocolate bar and filled it with pretzels, toffee and cookie bits!
You get to walk past the conveyor belt and watch your bar get filled up, dunked in chocolate and sprinkled with rainbow sprinkles.
While your bar is drying you go to a computer and design your own wrapper and when your bar comes out, they put it in a box and wrap it up.
This was one of the most fun things we got to do and I highly recommend doing it if you visit Chocolate World!
By the time we finished making our chocolate bars we had worked up an appetite so luckily the Manager of Communications was waiting for us to take us to dinner at the Circular Dining Room at the Hotel Hershey.
We had an amazing dinner with her and another incredible woman from the company and I left feeling so encouraged and empowered.
Hershey’s is such a huge, iconic brand I had never given much thought to how incredible their company is and how dedicated they are to bettering the lives of other people through their philantrophy.
My mission in life is to feed people across the world and I was thrilled to learn about their goal to feed 20 million mouths by 2020.
I was also so impressed to learn about the Milton Hershey School that helps underprivileged children receive exceptional care and education.
Katie and I both woke up the next morning in a chocolate coma, but luckily MeltSpa by Hershey’s came to the rescue and treated us to a complimentary chocolate pedicure!!
It was the perfect way to end such a fabulous time in Hershey Pennsylvania. If you ever get the chance to visit, take the time to learn about the company and get your fill of their yummy treats. You won’t be disappointed!
Thank you times a million to The Hershey Company and every employee that made us feel so special on our visit. We need more people like you in the world!
Also, Shout Out to Jim. We love you!
Thank you so much for reading today and following along with me through these crazy adventures. 2018 just started and I’m already blown away by all God is doing. I wake up every morning so thankful because I know it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him.
Please enter your email on the homepage because I have exciting this coming up and I don’t want you to miss anything! I appreciate you so much and want you to know how much you are loved!
Have a happy week.
Nicole xx #DoStuff