Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and that you stayed safe in Blizzard Nemo. Our weekend plans of traveling to NYC were dashed when every single bus company cancelled trips into the city. I can’t say I blame them. Judging by the pictures it looks like the Northeast really got hit! Central PA was spared the snowstorms and actually had sunshine, so we decided to take advantage of our good weather by taking a trip to somewhere very special to me.
Josh and I spent the day in Hershey, PA! When I was in Vegas I got an invite to a PA Bloggers Group event at The Hotel Hershey. One of the chefs at the hotel was putting on a cooking demonstration and the people at Hershey thought it would be cool to meet some bloggers and see what we’re about and what we do. Originally I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it, but with the weather changing our plans it suddenly became possible. I was so excited to be able to attend this event and meet local bloggers. Because it was an unexpected trip and I was already at Josh’s, he was so sweet and kept me company for the long ride. The other ladies were all so nice to make him feel welcome.
The outside of The Hotel Hershey. I’ve heard such great things about this hotel, and I was so excited to explore it. Since I was little I’ve been coming to Hershey Park and Chocolate World for field trips. In junior high my orchestra participated in Hershey’s Music in the Parks program. In high school I was a part of Future Business Leader’s Of America, and every year the State Competitions were at Hershey Lodge. I was lucky to make it to States each year, which meant I had four years of staying in a hotel that put chocolates on my pillows and that makes the best milkshakes in the lobby.
And oh man, the chocolate. Hershey has always made my favorite chocolate. I’m constantly telling people the fancy stuff may look pretty, but nothing beats a Hershey bar when it comes to taste. I think I got this love of Hershey chocolate from my dad. We’re big fans of Hershey Special Dark in particular, and we always have at least six or seven Hershey bars in our basement refrigerator. My dad is the healthiest guy his age I know, he’s active and in shape, and he eats a chocolate bar every day. It just goes to show everything is good in moderation. ;p
When we arrived at The Hotel Hershey, Josh and I met up with nine other PA bloggers and then we got settled in to watch a cooking demo. Chef Mario graduated from the CIA and is super nice. He was great at explaining what he was doing with the food as he did it. Josh loves food just as much as I do, and he had a blast taking down notes and helpful tips that Mario shared. Sorry for the blurry photo, my camera is apparently not used to sunlight. ;p Note to self: Start using your dSLR more!
The event was pretty packed! It was part of a series of events going on this month for Chocolate-Covered February. The entire city of Hershey is in on the celebration of the goodness that is chocolate, with events ranging from downtown parades to educational classes on cooking and chocolate, to special foods on restaurant menus, to do-it-yourself chocolate and cupcake creating. There is so much to do there, and Josh and I kept saying the whole day that we have to come back!
This photo perfectly sums up what a blogger meetup is like. Cameras, cameras, everywhere!
After the demo we got to sample it all! The starter course was a frisee and arugula salad with apples, a dried cherry and chive vinaigrette, and chocolate spiced pecans. The main course was a cocoa spiced braised lamb with pickled onions. I picked off the lamb pieces and then ate everything else on the plate. It was all so delicious! As a bonus, we got sent home with all the recipes. Josh and I are so excited to try replicating these recipes ourselves! If there’s anything you’re interested in making, just let me know and I can send that info your way!
A picture of all of us with Chef Mario. He was so nice, coming around to all of us and asking us what we thought of the food, answering questions, and posing for a billion photos.
All the ladies were so warm and welcoming, too! The lovely bloggers pictured here include:
Stephanie from The Event Crashers
Erica from For the Sake of Cake
Danielle from It’s A Harleyyy Life
Lindsay from Lindsay Weighs In
Sara from Sara Bozich
Danielle from Healthy Vittles and Bits
Amanda from Let Me Be What’s Underneath
Sarah from How I Pinch A Penny
Janice from mmm mmm mmm blog
After the event we grabbed coffees and sweets at the Cocoa Beanery in the lobby and chatted away. Josh and I each got their double chocolate mocha, and they were delicious! We were both blown away by the rich, chocolately flavor. Josh said that this drink put regular mochas to shame.
Josh and I also snacked on this chocolate cream pie while we talked with the other bloggers. I really loved learning more about the girls and their blogs. We blog about all different topics, but we still have so much in common. It was so great getting to meet them!
Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to everyone. I’ve done a few blogger meet-ups at this point, and I have to say I so impressed by how kind and genuine every person I’ve met has been. This is such a supportive community, and the more people I meet the more proud I am to be a part of such a great group. The PA bloggers group meets once a month, and I’m already excited to find out what’s on the agenda for March. As for Josh and I, our day of chocolate adventures was just beginning.
Josh and I were loving the hotel. Like, talking about coming back for a vacation, loving. We decided to explore the grounds a little bit to see everything it had to offer. Outside there were beautiful gardens, an ice skating, rink, and a restaurant called Harvest, which looked delicious.
I had to get a picture by the pretty white pillars.
Inside the hotel there is a beautiful dining area that looks like you’re dining al fresco. It’s currently under renovations, but I believe this is part of the Circular Dining Room. They were setting up for high tea when Josh and I walked by, and we immediately added it to our must come back and do list.
We also found a bar called Iberian Lounge. We chatted with a couple there for a little bit while snacking on some chocolate covered pretzels. There is chocolate absolutely everywhere in this town! By this point we were getting hungry for a meal so we decided to explore one last restaurant, an Italian bistro called Trevi 5.
And what a restaurant it was! I absolutely loved the look of Trevi 5 and how warm and inviting it was. Josh and I decided this would be the perfect place for lunch.
We started off with a delicious basket of bread before moving on to the amazing main course.
I got the baked goat cheese tortellini with butternut squash and sage. There are no words for how good this was. I ate the entire thing. It was hands down the best tortellini I’ve ever had.
Josh got a fried eggplant panini with mozzarella and fresh greens. The sandwich was so tasty, and had so much flavor without being greasy or overly heavy. The fact that it was served on toasted cheesy focaccia bread didn’t hurt either. The salad was also great. It had crisp greens, cucumbers, and diced grape tomatoes, topped off with a gorgonzola and basil dressing. The flavors were zesty, fresh, and bold, and made for an excellent complement to the panini.
We had such a great lunch, and the incredible service made it even more wonderful. I think more than the beauty, that is what I noticed about the hotel. Everyone was so friendly, helpful ,and willing to go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. Josh and I want to come back and stay here so badly!
How can you not fall in love with a place that has kisses for as you walk out of the restaurant?
After lunch a bit more exploration of the hotel, it was time to introduce Josh to Hershey’s Chocolate World! I came here so many times growing up. Oh, the perks of living in PA!
I loved to see that Hershey is embracing going green. The top of the car port canopy is covered in solar panels, and they had stations in the parking lot to charge electric cars.
The entrance to Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour. I feel so old, I visited Hershey before this ride existed and there was a much less high-tech, much less interactive version. While little kid me loved the old, version the new one is so much cooler.
You get in cars on a moving platform and start your journey.
There’s a lot of singing cows with a catchy theme song. Josh absolutely loved that.
We got to learn all about the production processes for Hershey candy bars, from bean harvesting to packaging.
And kiss in front of the Hershey Kisses machine! I’m happy to say I didn’t over-hype the ride to Josh, and he loved it just as much as I hoped he would. He was extra excited by the chocolate sample at the end of the ride. We got to try out Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Drops, and they were really tasty!
After the ride, we explored the gift shop and some more of the Chocolate-Covered February events.
Cupcakes, anyone? One of the events for Chocolate-Covered February was a cupcake decoration booth. So many of the options looked both delicious and really cute!
I also got a frozen hot cocoa, and it was so rich and delicious. I didn’t think I would be able to finish such a decadent drink…but I managed.
Here’s Josh checking out the world’s largest Hershey bar. If I want to the win daughter of the year award, I need to remember to get this for my dad next time Josh and I stop by.
Josh and I got little souvenirs for ourselves, in the form of two bars of Sharffen Berger chocolate, Hershey’s upscale line of chocolates. Josh is a huge fan and recommended trying them. They were both super tasty, and the chocolate was wonderful, but like always, nothing beats a Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate bar for me!
And with that we ended our day at The Sweetest Place on Earth and started the drive home. Visiting Hershey always makes me so nostalgic, and it felt so great to get to share that with Josh. I’m so excited he now shares in that love of such a cute and wonderful town. Here’s hoping we make a trip back soon!
Questions of the Day: Have you been to Hershey, PA? Are you a dark chocolate or a milk chocolate fan?