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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Ghirardelli Espresso Escape

Ghirardelli Espresso Escape 
Posted: 19 October 2011    5.5 
Ghirardelli Espresso Escape Ghirardelli likes to toss about the word 'complex,' probably because their bars are anything but.   This bar is a wasted opportunity.  here doesn't seem to be a lot of coffee taste in this one. Most of the flavor must have escaped. Now I know why this bar's called Espresso Escape. 
Avg price/gram: USD 0.043   Cocoa %: 60  Size: 100g   

There really is a rhyme and reason to the way I review my chocolate bars.  Burma Mike's latest batch of 29 bars left me with such a monumental task of consuming, then burning off the calories, then writing about each bar sampled.  Which bars to eat first?  And once eaten, which bars to eat second?       

In this Republic, we take a scientific approach.  If I try one brand's milk, the next bar could be a competing brand's milk.  Or the next bar could be another offering by the same brand, using the same milk base, but with different fillings.  In the case of Theo, I tried their Milk, then tried their Coconut Curry, which is their milk base infused with a collection of spices.       

Burma Mike had also brought over a large range of coffees from small Seattle roasters, and I'd begun to sample a few of those coffees.  Coffee was on the mind.   I reached into Burma Mike's chocolate parcel and pulled this and a coffee bar put out by the Seattle Chocolate Company. I love seeing how two different companies run in different directions with a similar flavor.

The Ghirardelli Espresso Escape is another in San Francisco based Ghirardelli's 'premium' all-natural range.  Like the Toffee Interlude, the Espresso Escape has its own set of taster notes: "The deep roasted beans deliver a robust, full-bodied espresso flavor that is in perfect harmony with the chocolate with dark cherry hints and a spicy character. Aromatic espresso notes shine through its creamy smooth texture.  Complex on the palate, this succulent bar has remarkable depth and brightness of flavor."

One thing I've learned from experience is that when someone goes out of his or her way to say "I'm so happy, my life is perfect," he's doing so to convince himself.  In other words, he's not happy, and his life isn't perfect.  Ghirardelli likes to toss about the word 'complex,' probably because their bars are anything but.  The taster's notes should really be written by a chocolate lover, not by someone in the marketing department.

This bar is a wasted opportunity.  60% cacao solids are fine for an espresso bar -- well, if the dark chocolate base is good to begin with.  Ghirardelli's dark has milk fat an an ingredient and milk features as another ingredient, in greater concentration than the coffee and coffee oil added to give the bar that espresso taste.  There doesn't seem to be a lot of coffee taste in this one.  Most of the flavor must have escaped.  Now I know why this bar's called Espresso Escape.

So the 'complex' flavor Ghirardelli boasts of is milked down dark chocolate plus sparing amounts of coffee, with coffee oil added, too, to fool our taste buds there's more coffee in here than actually is.  It's better than average, but not by much.

Ghirardelli should affix a word of warning onto the back of this one:  "Suitable for teetotalers.  Only trace amounts of coffee were used in the manufacture of this product."  Let Starbucks rip you off the price of an espresso rather than get ripped off buying this bar.

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Nestle Club Extra Fine Mint from Australia -- 70% cocoa solids
 Haigh Dark Chocolate with Cardamom from Australia -- 52% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index

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Fascinating Ideas You Could Care Less About

  chocolate from San Francisco is Ghirardelli. They offer an espresso made with their American chocolate. It's dark chocolate with coffee flavors. Impressed?