Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ghirardelli Intense Dark

Intense Dark Premium Assortment: 72%, 60% with mint or espressoGhirardelli has really expanded their line of chocolate bars over the past five years. Not only that, I see their products everywhere now thanks to the expansion of higher end chocolate into grocery stores and drug chains. They even have a charming chain of ice cream stores.

But I’ve ignored them on the blog for a long time. Probably because my initial impression of them has been that the chocolate bars is waxy and bland. But they’re wildly popular and have been making chocolate since 1852 in the Bay Area, one of my favorite candy destinations, so I needed to put those impressions to the test.

That’s not to say that I don’t use their chocolate chips, I prefer them to Nestle’s Toll House Morsels or Hershey’s Baking Chips and they’re often on sale for a decent price.

So I picked up this assortment of tasting squares after Christmas when they were on sale. They feature the new line of Intense Dark in three different flavors.

Intense Dark: Espresso EscapeThe Espresso Escape wrapper says: dark chocolate with finely ground espresso beans in 60% cacao. As usual I was worried about the bits of coffee beans, but in thsi case they really were so finely ground as they matched the particle size of the cocoa solids.

Roasted brewed coffee flavors mixed with the woodsy taste of real beans. Very little chocolate flavor here, it’s all coffee but with a smooth chocolate texture. Good cocoa butter melt, very silky. Light vanilla overtones. But the cedar and smoke is quite tangy.

While I enjoyed the texture quite a bit, the flavor was just a little too, well, Intense (tm).

Intense Dark: Mint Bliss

The Mint Bliss package says: dark chocolate with natural mint in 60% cacao. What the front of the package doesn’t mention is that there’s also some unidentified “artificial flavor” in this as well.

Nice buttery texture, but an incongruous tangy and musty taste along with the peppermint. It’s more of a fresh peppermint leaf taste, not a pure peppermint oil, which is a nice change of pace from their Peppermint Bark that I had over the holidays. But the combination of flavors still doesn’t quite jive for me.

Intense Dark: Twilight DelightThe Twilight Delight wrapper simply says 72% cacao in big bold, gold letters.

It has a nice buttery melt with a light cool feeling but the flavor is a little thin. It’s a little fruity, on the raisin side of things.

It’s sweet, only the lightest trace of bitterness. Light dry finish.

Ghirardelli has some other versions in their Intense Dark line, including the Midnight Reverie that has 86% cacao, Evening Dream with only 60% cacao and two other flavored 60% called Citrus Sunset & Toffee Interlude. They also have some filled bars that I haven’t tried yet.

Overall, it’s nice stuff, certainly worth the price and a fun little pickup for coffee or after dinner, maybe a mid-day munch. I like the 10.6 gram squares, it’s a good size for a little taste of chocolate.

Note: the Mint Bliss & Espresso Escape have milk fat in them, so are unsuitable for vegans, but the Twilight Delight is milk-free (though made on equipment that processes dairy).

Name: Intense Dark: Coffee, Mint & 72% Dark
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Ghirardelli
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $2.50 (on post-Christmas clearance), regularly $9.99
Size: 8.63 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories: Chocolate, Mint, Coffee, United States, Ghirardelli, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:15 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. I’m a long-time fan of Ghiradelli chocolates, particularly the Midnight Reverie.  I also highly recommend the Peppermint Bark.

    Comment by FriesenPoint on 4/16/08 at 3:56 pm #
  2. I have yet to try Ghirardelli’s dark chocolates, although I do like their cocoa powder and they make a MEAN vanilla white chocolate (I get them in squares like these in a bag at target). I remember those filled bars, they gave us a stack of those at the Expo. After they fed us those odd cupcakes, of course. raspberry

    Comment by Sera on 4/16/08 at 5:46 pm #
  3. I’m glad to see this review, I’m a fan of Ghiradelli chocolates.  My next trip will be to the bay area and I have to visit the factory!  I am a little disappointed to see that there’s an artificial flavor in the mint variety, but I think I’ll still try all flavors.

    Comment by heather on 4/16/08 at 5:47 pm #
  4. I just checked out Ghiradelli’s new filled chocolate bars, and I have had the dark chocolate/caramel variety.  I was so awesome, I ate the whole bag in one sitting.  Two thumbs up!

    Comment by heather on 4/16/08 at 5:48 pm #
  5. we were at the Disney Village in orlando a couple of months ago, where their is a Ghiradelli store and ice cream shop. they had huge bags of various tasting squares for sale, including the Intense Line. i debated getting some, and eventually decided against it.

    I’ve never been a huge fan of Ghiradelli; like you, i find most of their chocolate kinda bland. and i tend to like my dark chocolate really dark, like in the high 70% (at least) range. so 60 and 72 arent quite there for me. your reivew makes me glad i didnt buy a bag.

    Comment by Doug on 4/17/08 at 3:24 am #
  6. i actually don’t mind ghiradelli chocolate… i can’t stand most cheap stuff thats out now a days.

    Comment by alyssa on 4/19/08 at 12:03 pm #
  7. I haven’t tried these, because I don’t like coffee at all. However, I adore the Citrus Sunset bar! (and I adore it even better when it’s on sale at Target…)

    I remember going to the Ghirardelli store in San Francisco and thinking “it’s too expensive for my grad student budget!” and then finding Ghirardelli chunks at the grocery store for much much less. Needless to say, I bought THOSE for my souvenir.

    (By the way, does the mint bliss package really say dark chocoalte? I would have thought their proofreaders would have caught that before printing all that packaging… :^)

    Comment by Tricia on 5/01/08 at 4:39 am #
  8. where can i purchase the package (Intense Dark Premium Assortment) in bulk.  i would like to send these chocolates in lieu of the holiday cards.  thanks.

    Comment by Marguerite on 10/27/08 at 8:29 am #
  9. I just tried the 86% Cacao Intense Reserve. Whoa Nelly!! That was the most intense Chocolate I’ve ever experienced. Wally World has the big bars for less than $2, so if you are ever gonna do it, now’s the time. If you are used to Hershey bars, don’t get this and expect a sweet little candy bar. Trust me, it’s not!

    Comment by Charles on 6/02/10 at 6:00 pm #

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