The Good: Good taste, Decent quantity, Generally natural ingredients
The Bad: Somewhat expensive, A little mild for lovers of robust chocolate flavor.
The Basics: Ghirardelli Milk & Pumpkin Spice Caramel chocolate squares are a delightful seasonal treat that offers a flavorful finish to any experience!
My wife is amazing. Despite her not letting me out of the house for a threepeat at the movie theater either with or without her, she actively provides me with things to review. This last winter holiday, she bought me the limited edition holiday Ghirardelli Milk & Pumpkin Spice Caramel chocolate squares with the full intent that I would review them. Indeed, I know how much she loves me by the fact that she bought me one whole pack for review and another for enjoyment. I know that I must like the Milk & Pumpkin Spice Caramel chocolate squares by the fact that I ate the enjoyment bag first!
I tend to like robust chocolate flavors, so I was actually surprised that I enjoyed the milk chocolate of the Ghirardelli Milk & Pumpkin Spice Caramel chocolate squares as I did. These are a very mild form of chocolate, though it does not have the waxy, mass-produced taste or feel to it, which is a real plus.
Ghirardelli Milk & Pumpkin Spice Caramel chocolate squares are one and a half inch squares if chocolate that are about three-eighths inches thick. Each of the squares comes individually wrapped in a copper-brown and bronze-colored wrapper. It is worth noting that while I usually rail against the environmental impact of such things, it is hard to imagine Ghirardelli chocolate squares not wrapped. This keeps each one clean, unmelted and intact.
Each chocolate square is a seamless square that is essentially a chocolate envelope sealing in a white mint-flavored paste which is just delightful. In this form, the 5.32 oz. bag, the individually-wrapped chocolate squares are packaged together in a thick foil paper bag. Each bag my wife picked up for me had only ten squares in them and the thick foil paper bag does little to protect the squares. The bag is not resealable, though this matters very little considering that the chocolate squares do not go bad as they are individually wrapped.
One of these bags, with only ten squares, tends to run in the $5.00 - $6.00 range, when they can be found. These are not cheap candies and the limited edition nature of them seems to justify their expense to most people. My wife and I, thrifty shoppers that we are, found them for 75% off at Target after Christmas and felt pretty lucky about that!
Ease Of Preparation
These are candy, so preparing them is as simple as opening the bag and then opening one of the plastic wrappers around the actual chocolate square one wishes to eat. There is no grand secret to eating Ghirardelli Milk & Pumpkin Spice Caramel chocolate squares. This treat seems to be more a treat for what it is, unlike some of the other Ghirardelli chocolate squares which can be like a garnish on ice cream, cakes, etc.
Unlike some of the Ghirardelli chocolate squares, the Milk & Pumpkin Spice Caramel have a strong smell to them. Opening up an individual foil wrapper yields a scent of delicious caramel and the smell of pumpkin spices. The smell is instantly evocative of pumpkin pie cooling on a counter somewhere and it is enough to make one's mouth water!
Placing the Milk & Pumpkin Spice Caramel chocolate square on one's tongue, the chocolate has a distinctly cinnamon flavor to it. As the cinnamon and chocolate flavor melts away, the caramel center reveals itself and it blends with the mild chocolate and spices. The spices are reminiscent of pumpkin pie flavors, but the dominant flavors of nutmeg and cinnamon hold their own with the dry sweetness of the caramel. The caramel in these Ghirardelli chocolate squares is very sweet.
Well, these are candy, so it is tough to look at these for something nutritious and then blame them for not being healthy. Ghirardelli chocolate squares are surprisingly good, though, which is probably why they are so expensive. The primary ingredients are sugar, unsweetened chocolate and high fructose corn syrup. Still, there is nothing unpronounable in these candies and outside the preservative potassium sorbate, everything in these could be readily identified by me.
A serving of the Ghirardelli Milk & Pumpkin Spice Caramel chocolate squares is considered three squares. From three squares, one takes in 220 calories, 110 of those calories being from fat. There is no cholesterol, nor any vitamins in these chocolate squares, but there is 3% of ones RDA of Sodium, which is 65 mg of salt. There is 4% of one's daily iron and 8% of their daily calcium in three squares, so there is some redemption to them.
Honestly, these are candy and anyone looking to them for actual nutrition needs to get a reality check. These are not Vegan-compliant, nor are they recommended for anyone with a nut allergy as they are produced on the same equipment that peanuts pass over. They are, however, kosher.
The bags of these Ghirardelli Milk & Pumpkin Spice Caramel chocolate squares remain fresh for quite some time. I could not find any expiration date, but given that it is chocolate, one assumes that if they are kept in a cool, dry environment they will not melt or go bad. Given that they are individually wrapped in a very sealed package, it is hard to imagine just what it would take for these to go bad outside melting and refreezing.
I applaud those who actually throw the wrappers away in socially appropriate places, as opposed to litter. Outside that, there is no real cleanup needed, unless one is eating them in a hot environment. In that case, it is likely one would need to wash their hands. If these chocolate squares melt into most fabrics, they will stain. Getting them to melt, though, is surprisingly easy considering the milk chocolate is so soft.
I enjoyed Ghirardelli Milk & Pumpkin Spice Caramel chocolate squares and I was surprised by how much I did, considering that I am not much of a fan of milk chocolate most of the time. The chocolate is expensive and it works out well that it is a limited edition flavor in that regard, but because it is such an intriguing flavor, it is worth picking up the once a year it is out.
For other Ghirardelli chocolate reviews, please check out:
Dark Chocolate With White Mint Filling Chocolate Squares
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© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.