The American chocolate industry is probably some kind of evil genius. They started out in the late 1800s/early 1900s as very egalitarian by bringing chocolate – one reserved almost exclusively for royalty – to the masses.

Of course, it wasn’t really good chocolate.

No, these are the slightly waxy flat bars that rely on mostly sugar and emulsifiers for what little flavor they deliver. So, mostly, we either reserve the plain bars for s’mores, or we stuff this chocolate full of nuts, nougat and other tasty bits to make them delicious.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a snob. I’ll pretty much take chocolate as it’s given. All I’m saying is that, by lowering our expectations for years and years, they can now raise the bar just slightly and declare it “premium” chocolate. And that’s pretty much what Hershey’s has done. 

Hershey’s new Bliss line is sold exclusively in small, bite-size pieces (not bars) – little rounded squares in pink and purple foil wrappers. Very feminine design; Hershey’s knows who their target market is. The chocolates come in three varieties: Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate with a Meltaway Center.

All three are passable – creamier and more flavorful than regular drugstore chocolate – but nothing to write home about. Their main competition, Dove, has a smoother consistency and more of a cocoa taste. Plus, there are still a lot of additives in here – too much cocoa butter makes it more cloying, not smoother. Compared to the rest of the Hershey’s line, I’d still prefer a nice Symphony Bar . . . the one with toffee and almonds, of course.

Of the three, I would recommend the Milk Chocolate with a Meltaway Center. While nowhere near as decadent as a Lindor truffle (my guilty pleasure with nearly every bookstore purchase!), the slightly softer, slightly creamier center gives a satisfying chocolate coating to the mouth.

Rating: ♦♦♦ out of ♦♦♦♦♦.