Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Grape Chocolate?! Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee Bars Are A Novelty (Nothing More)!

The Good: Good taste, Decent size, Generally good ingredients
The Bad: Somewhat expensive, Blackberry and grape flavor does not blend effectively with the chocolate.
The Basics: Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee chocolate bars are good, but the fruit/chocolate combination is hardly as vibrant as one might hope.

It seems lately that I’ve been having a variety of wine-flavored foods. On the heels of the Merlot BellaVitano cheese (review pending!), I found myself munching on a Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee chocolate bar that my wife picked up for us. The Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee is my first experience with a grape or blackberry flavored chocolate and, sadly, I found the combination underwhelming. The scent is remarkable, but the flavor is not all one might hope. The chocolate (and I love dark chocolate) completely overwhelms the fruit flavor in this chocolate bar.


Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee chocolate bars are one and a half inch squares of chocolate that are about three-quarter of an inch thick and connected to one another to form a bar that is four long (7” long), two wide (3 1/2" wide). The entire bar comes wrapped in a bronze wrapper and the bar is packaged in a cardboard sleeve to protect it in transit. As part of Ghirardelli’s Intense Dark chocolate line, these bars are made as a premium product.

One of these bars tends to run in the $5.00 range, so this is a candy intended to be savored, not gobbled up!

Ease Of Preparation

These are candy, so preparing them is as simple as opening the box and then unwrapping foil wrapper from around the actual chocolate square(s) one wishes to eat. The seams between the different segments make it easy to break the bar apart and leave the rest of it intact, though this was a bar that did not fracture along the seams as evenly as most Ghirardelli bars I have tried. There is no grand secret to eating the Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee chocolate bar.


The Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee chocolates smell delightfully of grapes. The aroma is inviting and wine-like in a way that completely sublimates even the hint of chocolate in the bouquet.

In the mouth, the flavor of the chocolate is strong and distinctive. The potency of the chocolate almost entirely overcomes the fruity flavor of the berries and grapes. The fruit flavor is almost entirely absent from the flavor palate, until the bar melts on the tongue. The bar finishes surprisingly sweet, without really embodying a grape or blackberry flavor. The result is a bold flavor that finishes without a strong aftertaste and little of the characteristic bitterness that comes from very dark chocolate.

The Cabernet Matinee bars have a very slightly sour aftertaste that lingers on the tongue for about a minute after the last portion is swallowed.


These are candy, so they are not particularly healthy. The Ghirardelli Intense Dark Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee chocolate bars are not nearly as bad as they could be, especially compared to most mass-produced candies. The primary ingredients are Semi-sweet chocolate and natural flavor. There is nothing unpronounable in these candies and that was pretty reassuring.

A serving of the Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee chocolate bar is considered three segments (squares). From three squares, one takes in 180 calories, including 12 grams of fat. There are 5 mg cholesterol, no sodium, and 2 g protein, with no vitamins in this chocolate bar. There is, surprisingly enough, 10% of one's daily iron and 2% 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 may contain tree nuts. They are, however, kosher.


The Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee chocolate bars remain fresh for quite some time. Ours would have expired on June 30, 2014 had we not enjoyed it before then. One assumes that if they are kept in a cool, dry environment they will not melt or go bad. Given that they are foil wrapped in a fairly sealed package, it is hard to imagine just what it would take for these to go bad outside melting and refreezing.

As for cleanup, simply throw away the foil and recycle the cardboard when you are done with the candy bar. 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 this chocolate bar melts into most fabrics, they will stain.


Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee chocolate bars are an interesting concept, but the flavor does not bear out the expense; the promise of grape or blackberry and dark chocolate will be met for most consumers elsewhere.

For other Ghirardelli chocolate reviews, please check out:
Dark & Raspberry chocolate squares
Milk Chocolate With Peanut Butter Filling
Cookies & Crème chocolate squares


For other food and drink reviews, please visit my Food And Drink Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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