The Good: Great taste, Decent quantity, Good ingredients
The Bad: Comparatively expensive
The Basics: Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel chocolate squares are very good, but the expense of them makes them hard to recommend when compared to other milk chocolate and caramel candies.
Despite my recent rash of health food reviews, I am not done with all of my holiday chocolates! Fear not, I shall continue reviewing sweets and recommending the best ones to readers to try and stock up on (as well as avoid). The latest in my explorations is a tough call. It's Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate with Caramel Filling chocolate squares. I am a pretty big fan of Ghirardelli's chocolate squares, which my wife is very aware of. Unfortunately, the Milk Chocolate with Caramel Filling Squares fill a niche that seems to be filled well enough by less expensive chocolates. In other words, these chocolate squares were good, but not distinctive enough to make me want to invest the extra money in the fancy, "a-list" version of this style chocolate.
Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel chocolate squares are one and a half inch squares of chocolate that are about three-eighths inches thick. Each of the squares comes individually wrapped in a bronze and gold 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 caramel filling which is quite yummy. In this form, the 8.95 oz. bag, the individually-wrapped chocolate squares are packaged together in a thick foil paper bag. This size has approximately eighteen squares 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 tends to run in the $5.00 range. These are not cheap candies!
Ease Of Preparation
These are candy, so preparing them is as simple as opening the bag and then opening one of the foil wrappers around the actual chocolate square one wishes to eat. There is no grand secret to eating Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel chocolate squares. I have, for example, garnished ice cream with these squares from time to time. Plain vanilla ice cream with these chocolate squares and caramel syrup is surprisingly good!
The Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel squares have a very mild aroma of milk chocolate. This is a very typical Ghirardelli chocolate in that regard; this chocolate is entirely dominated by the scent of the milk chocolate coating.
Placing the chocolate square on the tongue, the milk chocolate melts almost effortlessly. The caramel inside is very fluid and this is a very sweet caramel, with almost none of the characteristic dryness caramel can have. Instead, this is a buttery, sweet caramel that synergizes with the milk chocolate to create a smooth, creamy flavor on the tongue. I found that after eating this candy, my mouth was drier than after most Ghirardelli chocolates, as if my body were overcompensating for the sweetness the way it usually does for sour things. Interesting, but it was a consistent reaction.
These are candy, so they are not particularly healthy. The Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel chocolate squares are not nearly as bad as they could be. The primary ingredients are sugar, whole milk powder and cocoa powder. There is nothing unpronounable in these candies, though there are several preservatives near the bottom of the ingredient list that are daunting.
A serving of the Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel chocolate squares is considered three squares. From three squares, one takes in 190 calories, including 11 grams of fat. There are 5 mg cholesterol, 20 mg sodium, and 2 g protein, but no vitamins (save 8% RDA of Iron) in these chocolate squares. There is, surprisingly enough, 4% of one's daily calcium in three squares, so that is a plus.
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 & Caramel chocolate squares remain fresh for quite some time. I could not find any expiration date on the bag. 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.
As for cleanup, 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 is surprisingly easy.
Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel chocolate squares are very good, but there are similarly priced (or less expensive) milk chocolate and caramel options that are as good.
For other Ghirardelli chocolate squares reviews, please check out:
Milk Chocolate with peanut butter filling
Dark Chocolate with white mint filling
Milk & Pumpkin Spice Caramel chocolate squares
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© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.