January 28, 2008

Review: Hershey's Cacao Reserve vs. Hershey's Special Dark

While wandering down the candy aisle in the drug store, doing what a Candy Snob does which is getting a lay of the land from the mass market candy makers, I saw two Hershey's products which got me thinking. The first was the Cacao Reserve by Hershey's and the second was the Hershey's Special Dark bar. With these two bars in such close proximity, I got to wondering whether there was a difference between the two, or whether this was simply a marketing and packaging ploy. So I decided to find out.

Hershey's Special Dark - Its shaped exactly like a traditional Hershey bar - a rectangular bar that can be broken into many smaller rectangles.

The description on the Hershey's website is that its flavorful dark chocolate "that offers a mildly sweet taste that milk chocolate lovers are sure to cherish." This says to me that they're trying to be all things to all people - which in most cases means you're not satisfying either. This bar melts like milk chocolate, not dark. And it actually broke apart very easily, not from being brittle but from being too soft - and it wasn't warm. From a flavor standpoint, there was absolutely nothing special about it. In fact, it was nearly flavorless, and didn't linger at all. This is certainly not what you would want if you're looking for dark chocolate. And, of course, it has the slight taste of spoiled milk that is the signature of Hershey's chocolate. This bar cost $.59 for a 1.45 oz. bar.

Cacao Reserve by Hershey's- The square, 4-piece Cacao Reserve bar was also a little softer than normal dark chocolate, and melted nicely. But it shared lack of punch and lack of finish with the Special Dark. The only discernible difference I tasted is that it had only a hint of the spoiled milk taste, which is a plus. The Cacao Reserve sells for $.99 for 1.3 oz. Quite a bit more expensive for a little less chocolate.

There may be faint differences in these bars, but I don't think enough to buy the Cacao Reserve over the Special Dark. But truthfully, given the choice I wouldn't buy either if I wanted dark chocolate.

Read More in: Candy Reviews | Hershey's

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Posted by Bob Wallace at January 28, 2008 7:08 AM
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