Well, maybe LIE is a strong word. Perhaps I should go with gross exaggeration.
The Wolfgang brochure has a picture of someone actually making chocolate above the description of its factory tour. "Chocolate candies, hollow-chocolate bunnies and Santas, and peanut butter puffs are just a few of the candies you'll see. From the raisin room to the "Lucy Line" you'll never forget this educational, fun-filled experience!" This is written over a picture of clusters going through an enrobing machine to coat them in chocolate.
LIE or GE (gross exaggeration)? They did turn a machine on, but they weren't making anything. I say don't put pictures of chocolate being made in your brochure and then walk people through idle machinery. Fun-filled? Without the chocolate? I don't think so! (I need another Peanut Butter Kiss.)
I already told you about making a pretzel at Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery (HA!) and their website says you will see people making soft pretzels. Well, they weren't making them when I was there. I say outright lie on the seeing pretzels made, GE on making a pretzel. I did twist some dough.
Now we get to Wilbur Chocolate where the brochure says, "watch our candy makers at work hand-dipping homemade marshmallows into luscious Wilbur chocolate and creating mounds of gooey caramel crunch, chunks of velvety almond bark, and rich pralines chockful of pecans and cashews." My mouth is watering just typing this!
This is a big time GE, bordering on a LIE. What I saw was two elderly ladies - one was slowly painting some color on some molded chocolate stars and another was dipping pretzels into what looked like a crock pot filled with chocolate. Both appeared on the verge of death. I saw no "mounds of gooey caramel crunch or chunks of velvety almond bark." I would have given my right arm for an Oompa Loompa. This looked more like a cart at the State Fair than a candy kitchen.
I will come back to Wilbur's, but I must go on to the greatest LIE of all at Asher's. This one still breaks my heart and raises my blood pressure. I timed my entire day on July 3rd to make sure I would get across the state to Asher's in plenty of time for the 3:30 pm tour. The web site gave their hours, including holiday hours, so I thought if I was there before 3:00 pm, I should be golden. Now let's remember that I have DRIVEN from North Carolina to the great state of PA for my Chocotour. I put over 1,000 miles on my car. Not only did I miss the tour - Asher's was CLOSED! Holiday hours on the site mention Memorial Day and major holidays. Since when is the day BEFORE the 4th of July considered a major holiday? AIIEEE!!!!!
With the exception of my arch enemies at Asher's, I know what's going on here - good old P.T. Barnum style marketing. All they really need to do is lure suckers like me in - once I'm there I will indeed spend a lot of money, even if the "factory tour" is totally lame. This only works if you don't want repeat visitors, which, quite honestly, I don't think they do. It's the tourist trade - we're just passing through. I can't pass too harsh a judgement on them because this GE marketing strategy works. And (with the exception of Julius Sturgis where they charge $3.00) all the "tours" were free and there were samples.
But I'm still really bummed about Asher's.