REVIEW: Hershey’s Gold Peanut & Pretzel

I can still remember the triumphant day that Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Creme arrived in my junk food universe. It was the mid-90’s and I was a wee lad, looking for something to mix up the brown-dominant palate of the candy aisle. Everything seemed to be chocolate based, and out of nowhere appeared a snowy beacon of hope. The white-chocolate-meets-wafer cookies bar was a revelation, and I fell in love right then and there, in 1995, and it has been one of my favorite Hershey’s branded products ever since. Fast forward 22 years later and Hershey’s are aiming to change the game yet again, and this time they’re adding a whole new dimension. Welcome to the world, the fourth member of the Hershey’s universe – it’s not milk, it’s not dark, it’s not white, it’s GOLD.

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Hershey’s Gold is a caramelized crème “chocolate” mixed with bits of peanut and pretzel; aka, a sweet and salty symphony. Hershey’s aren’t just getting wild with the flavor of the bar, they got mad experimental with its layout too, looking more like Tetris-in-motion than your average chocolate snack. I like that they switched it up, but these things do not hold together. Almost every single one was broken in the store, and the couple that were solid came home with me and arrived in pieces as well. But as always, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right?

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The aroma is straight up peanut butter, like sticking your face in a jar of sweet and creamy Skippy, with some nuanced hints of caramel. The flavor, however, is much less peanut butter and much more peanut brittle. The caramelized crunch with smooth creamy undertones is like a soft, melty brittle, and it is delicious. The peanuts blend with the crème more than they standout, creating something akin to a very mellow peanut butter fudge. The sweetness is very much in the foreground but kept in check by lovely pops of saltiness from the pretzel bits, and on some bites I can even taste the distinct yeasty crunch of the pretzel through the sweet buttery base.

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This is Hershey’s first permanent bar sporting their name with zero chocolate in it, and I’ve got to applaud them for releasing something truly different. It’s sweet, salty, crunchy, creamy, and unlike anything else you’ll find in the convenience store. If I had to fault it in anyway, it could use a touch more crunch, perhaps from a few whole peanuts or bigger pretzel chunks to deliver a bit more textural depth like in Hershey’s with Almonds. It’s a minor gripe though, and Gold certainly lives up to its name, right up there with Cookies ‘n Creme atop the snacking podium with the best the company has to offer.

Rating: 9/10

Found at: Walgreens ($1.29)

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