When Harrisburg and Hershey fight for chocolate dominance, we all win!
It's the job of a travel blogger to shine a light on the unsung and overlooked gems of the world and it's a job I take seriously - especially when it comes to chocolate. Really, what kind of person would I be if I didn't dedicate myself entirely to the cause? And in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the plight of chocolate is most grave indeed. Overshadowed by the cocoa scented air of their sister city, Hersey, it almost felt that the chocolate desserts of Harrisburg NEEDED me there to tell their story. One delicious mouthful at a time.
Of course, I have nothing against Hersey per se - in fact, it's quite the opposite. And if one day I am duty bound to tour a chocolate factory, soak in a chocolate spa, and drink chocolate cocktails, I'm sure I'll muster my strength and rise to the occasion. But there's only so much heroism that can fit into a weekend escape and I was proud to dedicate my Herculean efforts to Harrisburg.
Chocolate Biscotti, The Midtown Scholar
It's an unacceptable bias that chocolate has to be soft and gooey to be delicious. Case in point: the chocolate biscotti at the Midtown Scholar, Harrisburg's premier independent bookstore. Crisp and crunchy, this dark chocolate and walnut biscotti cookie is perfect dunked in a vanilla latte (in a real pottery mug, naturally). Add a new book and you have the ideal way to spend a rainy weekend morning.
Homemade donuts with chocolate sauce (oh, and homemade chocolate ice cream too) at Home 231
Home 231 is the perfect place for lunch. They have great lemonade, homemade soups, and creative sandwiches and salads. And it's also the kind of place where you might just order three desserts. But if you have more self restraint than me and are only going to order just one, make it the signature homemade donuts, served with a trio of sauces. The chocolate sauce is so decadent and rich that you'd be forgiven if you shunned the berry and vanilla flavors. They have a rotating selection of ice creams - inquire if the chocolate peanut butter is available.
The Chocolate Soufflé at Char's
Looking to go all out chocolate crazy? The chocolate soufflé atChar's At Tracy Mansion is one of the finest darn chocolate desserts in the state of Pennsylvania. The incredibly warm, melty, indulgent chocolate cake and sauce, combined with berries and creme anglais, is enough to send you straight into a chocolate coma - in a good way!
Think chocolate is just for dessert? Think again!
Don't believe the propaganda that chocolate is just for desserts. It's a mighty fine food at any time of day, but especially breakfast. At Dodge City, a wild west inspired diner, you can get a great classic breakfast of bacon and eggs, but the pancakes really shine. Order them with chocolate chips or - even better - chopped up Reese Peanut Butter Cups. They look like regular pancakes on the top, but when you turn them over they reveal their sweet chocolaty nature.
Doing comprehensive chocolate research isn't a task for the faint of heart but I was proud to rise to the occasion and do my best for the Harrisburg chocolate community!
Have you ever been called upon to investigate the secret chocolate culture of a city? What's the best chocolate experience you've ever had while traveling?
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My visit to Harrisburg was facilitated in part by the local tourism board. This did not influence my opinions and all writing remains my own.