First…about Hershey’s regular chocolate candy bar.
My understanding of Hershey's is that during their manufacturing process the cocoa solids (the actual chocolate) are separated from the cocoa butter. These cocoa solids are dehydrated and become cocoa powder (so it's no longer chocolate). To form chocolate candy bars, the cocoa powder is then combined with some of the cocoa butter (flavorings, preservatives added along the way). So the “chocolate” is disassembled then re-assembled into a new form.
Is my understanding correct? Can this be called true chocolate? Technically, the reference seems to be “chocolate candy,” which is not classified chocolate. The industry insiders to whom I’ve spoken do not refer to Hershey’s candy as “chocolate.”
Another question: what chemicals are using to process the chocolate solids into cocoa powder. At least it’s not alkali processing, but what?
With Hershey’s Kisses, the quality seems to be less than the candy bar. With the Special Dark it’s slightly better, perhaps the result of a higher-quality cacoa bean (something better than the cheap forastero) and more care in its manufacture. True?
In September 2006, a press release (http://www.newstarget.com/020338.html) stated that Hershey’s would be using real cacoa for the first time in its manufacturing of Cacoa Reserve products.
A thorough search of Hershey’s website comes up with marketing copy, and ingredient listings so ambiguous as to be misleading. Hershey’s is known to be secretive about their actual manufacturing process, and about what preservatives/chemicals are used, but of course, they would be -- we’re dealing with an icon of American culture and billions of dollars in product sales.
Not that I eat Hershey’s – I enjoyed it as a kid but have now moved on to the European/Venezuelan/Central-South American brands, but I’m still curious about this mainstay of American candy. Please help me understand.