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on July 5, 2008
I make some pretty killer brownies, that always draw requests for the recipe whenever I make them. A little while back I tried making them with Hershey's Special Dark cocoa and it really pushed my brownies to a decadent level. Ever since I finished my last container, I've been scouring the local groceries in search of some more, and had just about giving up on ever finding it again. What a surprise to find it on Amazon--I'm thrilled!
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on August 31, 2008
Although this cocoa is called Special Dark, it isn't the same Special Dark cocoa of a few years ago. The previous Special Dark was 100% Dutched Cocoa, while the current Special Dark is a blend of Dutched and Natural Cocoas, so it isn't as dark or as strong as the previous one. It is very good and has a pleasant fruity taste as compared to the more bitter and richer cocoa taste of its predecessor. Initially I preferred the previous Special Dark, but am getting used to the new blend. The price is very good.
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on January 29, 2006
This product is a shoddy replacement for their European Dutch-Processed cocoa (in the silver container) which I used exclusively with fantastic results. I was mortified when they discontinued it. At first I was glad to see they put out another Dutch-processed cocoa. What a letdown. This product is over-processed (they used too much alkali), is bitter and is headed for the trash. What was Hershey's thinking? They had a wonderful product that they discontinued and replaced with a lousy product. I will now only use Peet's Dutch-Processed Cocoa or Callebaut.
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on January 3, 2006
This is Hershey's "new" version of what they called "European Style Dutch Processed Cocoa," which was in a silver, white and red box. They updated the ESDP Cocoa to European Style Dutch Processed Cocoa -- Special Dark.

I used to buy the old version (silver box) by the case. We LOVED it. It made the BEST hot cocoa, mousse and icings. It was rich, smooth and had a wonderful chocolate flavor. (The only way I can describe the difference is the old version was more like devil's food cake than dark chocolate cake.) I called Hershey's this Christmas (2005) to see if I could order another case. I was told they don't make it anymore, the updated version is the special dark.

I bought the special dark and tried it in several recipes. Even my kids didn't like the hot cocoa with the new Hersheys. The special dark is too dark -- and I don't really mean bittersweet (which I like.) It's not as rich as the old version and seems a little bland. I don't know what Hersheys did, but I'll be going to another cocoa. At one time I had a large tin of Guittard, which I will probably go back to.

Lark
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on July 10, 2010
I've been drinking this for several years and just looked on Amazon because lately it's not available in any of my supermarkets. It's value is that it is half natural cocoa which is extremely high in antioxidents and half dutch processed which dissolves and blends well. I can just stir in a teaspoon full into plain hot water for a healthy, delicious bitter cocoa drink. Way better than coffee.

The only things that could make it any better is being organic and from fair trade sources.
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on May 3, 2006
I used to buy the old version (silver box). My whole family loved it. It was the best affordable European Style cocoa powder on the market. I used it for everything, from hot cocoa, brownies and birthday cake fillings to chocolate mousse and truffles. It was rich, smooth and had a wonderful chocolate flavor. It was great!!!

This year, before Easter, I run out of cocoa. I went to different stores trying to find my favorite cocoa - Hershey's European Style. I couldn't find it! I called Hershey's to see if I could order some and I was told they don't make it anymore, the updated version is the special dark. I bought it but I promise not to make this mistake ever again! It is black, without any flavor, and very unpleasant. If this is Hershey's specialists idea of "European Style - Dutch Processed Cocoa" they are wrong! Maybe they need a trip to Holland to drink some good dark cocoa and attend some training!
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on June 26, 2006
I love this Special Dark cocoa for BAKING, but NOT for hot chocolate. I have always kept regular Hershey's cocoa powder in my pantry; however, I used Hershey's European Dutch Processed cocoa (silver can) for hot chocolate. It makes a much smoother and creamier drink. When I saw the Special Dark chocolate on the store shelf, I decided to buy it IN ADDITION to the one in the silver can because I love dark chocolate (the darker the better). I used it to bake a cake and frosting for a family gathering. The cake & frosting was black, but was so delicious and moist. My family loved it, even though we all joked that we had never seen a black cake. In fact, a nephew who never eats cake ate three pieces! When I went back to replenish my cocoa in the silver can for my nightly hot chocolate, the store said that it was no longer available and that the special dark cocoa had taken its place, using the same bar code. They are nothing alike, and I used them both for different things. I started mixing regular cocoa with special dark cocoa to make hot chocolate. It was better than using just regular cocoa alone, but not as good as the cocoa in the silver can. Later, when I went back to the store to replenish my special dark cocoa, that was no longer available as well. All that I seem to be able to get is the original regular cocoa. I'm so upset. I don't know why Hershey's can't have all three. Each one was good for different things. I even called Hershey's, only to get a weak, noncommital excuse with no solution. I noticed that only the original regular cocoa appears on Hershey's website now.

I am now going to try to find other brands at other stores and/or will order my cocoa online.
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on December 3, 2013
So far I have only used this in beverages, ice cream, and fudge. It looks not just darker, but blacker - in certain mixes it looks a bit gray, more like motor oil than chocolate. The flavor is pronounced and simple - none of those weird adjectives people use on artisanal single-malt $290/lb chocolate like "grassy" or "fruity" or "smokey" or "gleety" - just simple basic chocolate, well balanced and therefore easy to use with anything that likes chocolate. Some of the more expensive arrogant cocoa powders allow one flavor aspect to dominate, which can cause problems, unless you enjoy smokey strawberries, or brownies with a hint of cowpat. This is a good basic cocoa if you prefer darker chocolate. It plays well with others, too, and using a small portion of this with regular unspecial not-as-dark cocoa can add a lot of complexity to the results without overpowering it, making it safe for the type who does not like dark chocolate, may God have mercy upon you.

It seems to need less sugar, but that might just be me. But this is the best cocoa for chocolate ice cream I have found so far (I think I have tried 11 brands), and it makes, with a little malt sweetener, the chocolate milk equivalent of Guinness. The fudge disappears too fast to give it a fair review.

Four stars because It could theoretically be perfecter, and I want them to have something to strive for.

This review brought to you by confusingly unclear humour and the letter -.
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on July 15, 2011
I use this Hershey's Cocoa Special Dark in King Arthur Flour's brownie recipe and I'm telling you, it makes the most luscious, decadent brownies. Follow the recipe to the "T"...it calls for heating the sugar/butter mixture twice, resulting in that gorgeous shiny topped brownie you see in bakeries, and a teaspoon of espresso powder. (I get mine right here on Amazon: Ferrara Instant Espresso powder). I also use a good quality vanilla.

Anyway, my husband's co-workers, my college son & his roommates, my two teenage daughters and all their marching band pals, love love love my brownies. I know this Special Dark blend of Hershey's Cocoa helps make them extra special!!
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on September 15, 2012
I have even written to Hershey's to ask what happen to the Dutch Processed Cocoa (silver can) and they tried to tell me that the new can was the same thing. Do they think we are stupid? The cocoas DO NOT even look or taste the same!!! What's up with Hershey's? Does it have anything to do with their move to Mexico?? I just don't get it. Why would a product that so many people LOVE be taken off the shelf?? Something just doesn't add up here. I've given up on the Hershey's cocoa that my mother used to make her famous fudge for years. Really hated to see this one go.
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