Let's start with what I don't know, which is practically anything about the history of this bar. I've been searching around, but it's not listed on Hershey's brand page and Google seems to only recognize the existence of Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate Nuggets with Toffee and Almonds. Wikipedia lists a Hershey's Extra Creamy Chocolate and Caramel but with no real information. The best tip I got was off a Canadian calorie counting site which referenced a Creamy Milk Chocolate bar, which does indeed show up on Hershey's Canada's list of products.
Here's what I do know: a Hershey's Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate Bar was available for purchase at my local Walgreen's in San Francisco, sitting right next to a pile of regular Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars. So here's what I did do: a comparative taste test.
Texturally the bars are the same. They are a different color, with the Extra Creamy Bar being a few shades lighter brown.
I tried the regular milk chocolate bar first. The thing is that while I know what a Hershey's bar tastes like, I usually only eat it as part of a s'mores. Really focusing on the taste was a little disturbing. The funky aftertaste brought to mind that episode of Friends where Monica is supposed to make products using Mockolate. "I'm just waiting for it to stop bubbling," she says. Yeah, me too.
But funky aftertaste aside, what I was really trying to discern was its level of creaminess. And it is, in a way. It's definitely got a roundness of flavor and certain creaminess which, while maybe not real milk, brings to mind dairy. Anyone could identify the original Hershey Bar as a member of the milk, not dark chocolate, family.
So what would a creamier version of this taste like? Well, different, is one answer. Better is another. The Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate Bar does taste milkier. The biggest change is a sudden prominence of vanilla. It's sweeter than an original Hershey bar—yeah I know—but that added sweetness and the extra vanilla flavor combine to mask the off aftertaste of the original. It's like a family of white chocolate Easter bunnies fell into Willy Wonka's chocolate river. And I'm kind of OK with that. It's on a path to tasting more like British milk chocolate bars, which I've always found to have a more pronounced dairy flavor and creamy texture. It tastes similar to an American Cadbury Cream Egg shell.
The weird part is the ingredients:
Hershey's Regular Milk Chocolate Bar: Sugar; Milk; Chocolate; Cocoa Butter; Lactose; Milk Fat; Soy Lecithin; PGPR; Emulsifier, Vanillin, Artificial flavor
Hershey's Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate: Sugar; Milk; Chocolate; Cocoa Butter; Lactose; Milk Fat; Soy Lecithin; PGPR; Emulsifier, Vanillin, Artificial flavor
Yup. They're the same! I'm not sure exactly how they changed the flavor and color so drastically without changing the general proportions. It's Hershey's magic, I guess. The bottom line? I'm not sure I'll pick up either bar without a corresponding marshmallow bag in hand, but I could see eating some mini Extra Creamy bars (if they make them) come next Halloween.
What about you? Have you had the Hershey's Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate Bar? What did you think?