Friday, February 6, 2015

Ghirardelli Strawberry filled Dark Chocolate Squares - Target: Marlton, NJ

Ghirardelli Strawberry filled Dark Chocolate Squares - Target: Marlton, NJ
As Cybele and I said in our podcast, there aren't too many candies that are exclusively available during the month of February. A lot of the candy companies are lazy, and their products fall into two categories, either they are wrapped in holiday-themed packaging, or they are now heart shaped. That's pretty much it. Reeses? Heart-shaped. Hershey's? Valentine's Day themed packaging for all products, Wonka Gobstoppers? Now heart-shaped. Sure, everything looks special for the holidays, but it's the same ol' candy you can buy year round. Thankfully, Ghirardelli has a little something different. (Although it honestly isn't that drastic a change.)

Every Valentine's Day, Ghirardelli releases a limited edition dark chocolate square with strawberry filling. It's a seasonal spin on their normal dark chocolate raspberry square that's available year round, all they really did was swap one fruity filling for another, but since I am a strawberry lover, I welcome the change!

I've been buying these on clearance the last few seasons, but I paid full price this year just so I could get this review up before the holiday. (Just for you guys.)

The packaging is typical for Ghirardelli, it's a tall coated paper bag with a foil-finish. One glance at it's pink, red, and white heart-covered color scheme, and you know this is a Valentine's day item. It isn't as painfully obnoxious as other seasonal chocolate items on the shelves, and the layered effect of the heart patterns makes it seem a bit more sophisticated. When compared to the other Valentine's Day-only items this season, which weren't all that may to be honest, this is my favorite packaging. It's shiny, eye catching, and seasonal, without being too obnoxious.

Inside, the chocolates are individually wrapped in classic Ghirardelli-fashion, but this time the color scheme is metallic magenta and gold. Other than the shiny pink ends of the wrapper, there are no hearts or seasonal images, so if you bought these up on clearance on Valentine's Day and put them out in your candy dish, no one would ever know they were Valentine's Day-only candies, which is awesome for candy hoarders. (Like me.) I buy seasonal clearance candy, and once and I while I totally get judged for it. "Maria, why do you have Halloween gushers in your pantry? It's March, and you're 27 years old..." (Don't judge me! It's still good! Plus, it was super cheap! I'm27andistillputgushersinmyworklunches.) This is an item that doesn't distinctly look Valentine's Day-y, so I think it's able to be stock-piled and shared judgement-free once the season is over.

Unwrapped, the chocolate is dark and glossy, it's so finely detailed and perfectly molded that it almost looks like plastic. The candy smells a little fruity, but the most distinct aroma is the bitterness from the chocolate itself, from the scent alone, I would know this was a fruity flavored chocolate, but I don't think I'd be able to guess strawberry right off the bat.

As you take a bite, the chocolate gives way with a satisfying snap, and the filling is soft and jam-like. The chocolate is a bit sweeter than what I am used to as far as dark chocolates are concerned, but the midly tangy strawberry filling mixes with it very nicely. The chocolate is standard for Ghirardelli, and it's available year-round, so I tried to eat a bit of the filling on it's own, since that's the real limited edition aspect of this candy.

On it's own, the strawberry filling is thick, but not quite as thick as actual jam or jelly. It has a slightly artificial flavoring, but it has actual strawberry seeds mixed in, and the flavoring is kind of like a mixture of actual strawberry jam and a bit of the artificial strawberry ice cream syrup you can buy in a squeeze bottle. I buy this every winter, so I obviously like it, but I wouldn't say this is the best strawberry themed chocolate I have ever had. The filling could be a bit more authentic and jam-like, but I'll still eat this entire bag like it's nobody's business. ('Cause it isn't. Don't judge me you judge-a-roo, go play your judgery-doo. Any of you fans of Bob's Burgers?)
If you like the raspberry version of this square that is available year-round, you'll like this seasonal strawberry one. This flavor combination is similar, but I find the strawberry flavoring to be a bit brighter and tangier, which is why I like it so much, and although I wish it were available year-round, it's nice to see a Valentine's Day candy that is actually special and only available on this holiday. Chocolate and fruit lovers, scoop this one up before it disappears.
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