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Saturday, December 3, 2016

The "A Bud Or A Kiss?" Story

My favorite ... the Wilbur Bud
It was an ordinary day.  Watching "Jeopardy" and eating Wilbur Buds.  Visited the new Wilbur Chocolate Store this afternoon to pick up a couple bags of one of the most delicious chocolate treats you'll ever find.  Wilbur Chocolate began in 1865 in Vineland, New Jersey and by 1934 had consolidated its shops to Lititz, Pennsylvania, which is a few miles from my home in Lancaster, PA.  In 1992 Wilbur was purchased by Cargil Cocoa & Chocolate North America who at the end of 2015 closed the doors on the plant in Lititz, planning to move the business to a more modern location they owned.  
The original Wilbur Chocolate Company.  The factory store
was located under the sign, up the steps.
On the first floor of the chocolate plant was a factory store and museum that was visited by both locals and tourists to purchase chocolate treats and the famous Wilbur Bud.  That store remained open until a few months ago when a new store, across the street from the old one, opened in what at one time was a lumber store and then a fast food restaurant.  
The new factory store across from the original one.
Cargil updated the old store with a new facade and "refreshing interior" and now features Wilbur chocolates as well as continuing the small museum  that they had before.  The Wilbur Bud is very similar to the Hershey Kiss, which was developed in Hershey, Pennsylvania, a 30 minute drive from Lancaster, but much more creamy than the Kiss.  I realize that is my opinion, but that's what matters when I'm the one eating the chocolate.  
This is the original drop-candy machine
that was used to make Wilbur Buds.
Patented in 1889 by John Smith.
Now, if you ask my wife, she prefers the Hershey Kiss since it has more of a chocolate flavor, even if it isn't as creamy.  The new store/museum employees about 20 workers who do everything from making chocolate treats to stocking the shelves to checking out the multitude of chocolate lovers who visit the store.  Carol and I traveled to Lititz this past weekend, but couldn't get into the parking lot so chose to return during the week.  Must say the store is extremely popular with cars that carried license plates from five states in the parking lot.  Well, I had my camera in hand as we walked into the store today to try and find some red and green peppermint pieces for my wife's World Famous Christmas candy.  As soon as we entered I saw a very unusual old machine to the right of the entrance.  
Wilbur Bud mold which hangs next to
the drop-candy machine.
Thing was invented and patented by John Smith in June 25, 1889 and was the original machine used to make the Wilbur Buds.  Even had the metal mold that was used in the machine. Had a chance to watch a few women making chocolate treats that were for sale and then found what I came for ... a few bags of Wilbur Buds.  They come in both milk chocolate and dark chocolate, both being fantastic!  As I walked around the store I saw many displays featuring tins that were used to sell a variety of chocolate products by different chocolate companies as well as one locked glass cabinet filled with chocolate pots from around the world.  The fine china pots are beautiful and reminded me of the chocolate pots we have that belonged to my mother.  To Carol's disappointment the store was out of the red and green peppermint pieces.  No trouble, since now we will have to return soon when they restock their shelves.  I'm sure the couple of bags of Wilbur Buds I bought will be gone by then anyway.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Old photo of a worker running the drop-candy machine.
Cabinet displaying a variety of chocolate pots.
Candy molds from a variety of candy manufacturers.
The many different ways that Wilbur Buds were packaged.
Old containers used to sell Wilbur products.
Part of the large display showing Cocoa products.
A worker making one of many chocolate treats that are sold in the store.

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