One of my earliest chocolate memories is visiting the Ghirardelli flagship store in San Francisco with my family. I remember it as impossibly large. I remember a big shiny tube crammed full of chocolate that seemed to emerge from the very center of the earth. I think I also remember a brownie sundae the size of my face.
Along with Godiva, which my mom and I used to visit in the mall for a single truffle apiece, and my favorite summertime haunt See’s Candies, Ghirardelli’s raspberry bars and dark mint squares were the special chocolate of my childhood.
I’m probably not the only one. Founded in the 1850s, Ghirardelli is America’s oldest continually-operating chocolate maker, and, despite their mainstream success and affordability, they’re a bean-to-bar operation. Ghirardelli also claims to be one of the earliest chocolatiers to print specific cacao percentages on their wares. So it seems only fitting that I give them a spot in the dark chocolate tasting lineup.
Today I’m dealing with the 86% Midnight Reverie bar, which brings high-cacao chocolate to the masses at its relatively low price ($3.79) and wide accessibility (sold by CVS!).
Perhaps it isn’t the finest dark chocolate of all time, but I think Ghirardelli can stand behind this bar. Their tasting notes suggest dried cherries, which I found to be spot on, and I also detected some kind of a dark roasted nut. The texture is silky, almost waxy in the mouth, and fruity without being too acidic. If there’s a downside, it’s that the slight waxiness and soft texture make the flavors come on slow; you have to let it melt because chewing doesn’t seem to release the taste well. Could use a hit of salt to help bring out the richness.
Found at CVS
624 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
If you like chocolate, read more of my Very Dark Chocolate tasting reviews by clicking here!