Coming home to a box of chocolates is a wonderful feeling! As part of a Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Ghirardelli, I received a generous package filled with totally delightful chocolates. Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolates features a line of all natural dark chocolates, in a variety of cacao percentages and sophisticated flavors, so that there’s probably at least one for everyone’s liking.
Ever since I developed a sensitivity towards lactose, I’ve really grown to enjoy the bitter and intense flavors of dark chocolates. Dark chocolates tend to have very low to none milk content, but you’ll have to check product labels to be sure, unless it specifically says vegan or non-dairy.
These intense dark chocolates come in delicate, thin squares, either in a bar form or individual wrapped. The thinness of the chocolate allows it to melt slowly in your mouth. I received full-sized samples of 72% Twilight Delight, 86% Midnight Reverie bar, and their new Sea Salt Soiree. Along with the chocolate bars and bags, they also included a small booklet on chocolate pairings, with beverage and food suggestions by their panel of culinary and wine experts.
To truly enjoy the intense dark chocolates, Ghirardelli suggests to enjoy with all five senses. Admire the color and the shine of the fine chocolates. Smell the aroma of the rich chocolates and try to identify any hints of toasted nuts, roasted coffee, dried fruits, etc. Listen to the snap of the chocolate. Touch by holding the chocolate against the roof of your mouth and feel the texture of the chocolate as it melts. Lastly, savor the flavors and enjoy!
Honestly, I’ve never really given much thought into the whole chocolate experience other than just the “eating the chocolate” part. So, I took a minute to enjoy a nibble of each of the chocolates.
The Twilight Delight is made with pure 72% cacao dark chocolate. Looking at the ingredients… unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, and soy lecithin… it’s the only one out of the three that does not explicitly contain milk. Note: It’s manufactured in the same facility that also handles milk, so there might be some cross contamination. It’s aromatic with hints of mocha, blackberry and dark cherry. The chocolate had an intense, yet delightful flavor to it that stuck around. I really enjoyed the smooth texture of the chocolate too. I would totally enjoy this with a cup of hot coffee. Chocolate and coffee = fantastic!
The 86% Midnight Reverie is one of the highest cacao content bars available out there. Higher cacao content means that the chocolate taste is darker and more intense, and also contains less sugar. This bar is made with bittersweet chocolate (unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, sugar, milk fat, soy lecithin) and has a deep, robust flavor with hints of dark cherries and dried plums. This one definitely had a much stronger flavor to it, but also had a comforting velvety smooth texture. If I had some marshmallows on hand, I think this chocolate would make amazing smores! I would imagine the sweetness of the marshmallows to complement the robust chocolate flavor very well.
The Sea Salt Soiree is a bit on the sweeter side compared to the previous two. It’s made with semi-sweet chocolate (sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, milk fat, soy lecithin, vanilla), blended with coarse crystals of sea salt and slow roasted almonds. The combination of the salt and sweet flavors works perfect. Totally mouthwatering. The sea salt crystals and crushed almonds were like little surprises that accompanied the smooth texture of the chocolate.
Since I had so much chocolate, I brought some of the Twilight Delight and Sea Salt Soiree squares to work with me the other day. They were a hit, especially the Sea Salt Soiree!
This past weekend, I tried to make a Chocolate Swirl Mantou using one of the Intense Dark chocolate bars. Mantou is a Chinese steamed bun, similar to baos, except baos contain a filling inside while mantous usually don’t. They came out pretty good for a first time. Here’s a peek, but I’ll write up a separate post with pictures and the recipe soon.
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in trying out Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolates, there’s a coupon on their website for $1 off any two Intense Dark bars or bags.
So, how do you like to enjoy your chocolate?
Disclaimer: The product was provided to me as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program. No other compensation was received for this post. The post was written by LookyTasty and all opinions expressed are solely mine.