Steps on soapbox.

We need to talk about this week’s viral “sloppy Kisses” story, with various outlets sharing outrage that originated in the Wedding Cookie Table Community on Facebook over apparently defective Kisses being manufactured by Hershey these days.

Penn Live, for instance, produced this gonzo investigation into the average status of Hershey Kiss tips, with the reporter concluding that the tips appeared to have been missing from before they were placed in the bag, presumably suggesting a manufacturing flaw.

Here’s the thing: If you’re using Hershey Kisses for your holiday cooking, you’re making the wrong choice.

Milton Hershey was an inspiring entrepreneur, Hershey is one of Central PA’s hallmark communities, but the fact of the matter is there are two very good reasons not to choose Hershey Kisses for your next cookie exchange.

The first reason: Wilbur Buds are more historical.

The fact is that Wilbur Buds predate Hershey Kisses by more than a decade. As ‘Candy Professor’ Samira Kwash says quite bluntly, “It was Hershey that was the copy cat.” It wasn’t until 1921 that Hershey updated its manufacturing plant allowing for the iconic plume shape and automated individual foil wrapping, essentially commodifying the proprietary treat pioneered by the Wilbur Chocolate company.  Hershey’s genius was as much the logistics as it was the recipe, so we can’t really blame the man here.

1912 prices.
A 1921 ad: “Let them eat plenty.”

The second reason: Wilbur Buds taste better.

Hershey’s milk chocolate just ain’t what it used to be. While I’m skeptical in the long-run about Cargill’s acquisition of Wilbur Chocolate, manufacturing has remained in the region at Cargill facilities in Lititz, Mount Joy, and Hazleton, and the buds taste just as good to me today as they ever did. Personally I feel like an aristocrat when I am munching on dark chocolate Wilbur Buds. Carnegie or Rockefeller didn’t have it better! If you haven’t tried them before, arrange a taste test for yourself at your earliest possible convenience.

Wilbur Buds sell for a bit less than $10 per pound. You can purchase them online or at select retail locations, such as Candy-Rama in the Lebanon Farmers Market.

Full disclosure: I’m a big admirer of Milton Hershey and although I think that there are some issues with the Trust (read Bob Fernandez’s Chocolate Trust) in general I’m a big fan of Hershey and its related enterprises. Don’t take this post too seriously.