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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Ghirardelli Hazelnut Heaven

     
Ghirardelli Hazelnut Heaven 
Posted: 6 November 2011    7.0
Ghirardelli Hazelnut Heaven It's a tasty bar. If you like nuts in your bar and don't mind darkish chocolate, how wrong could you go with this?  Nuts and chocolate will always go well together, even if there aren't many nuts and the chocolate is overrated.     
Avg price/gram: USD 0.043   Cocoa %: 47*  Size: 100g   
       

* Estimated cocoa solid content


Ghirardelli has been scamming us for several decades that their products are of the highest quality, hiding behind their veneer as an American institution and the second-oldest American chocolate operator, although it's actually Swiss-owned now.   Ghirardelli's next bit of fiddling comes with this bar, Hazelnut Heaven.       

Between May 5 and June 30, 2010, Ghirardelli sponsored a Bring Your Dark To Light contest.  No, this wasn't an exhibition of Caucasian men showing off their black girlfriends or a Michael Jackson imitation contest.  Ghirardelli was offering a prize to whomever could devise Ghirardelli's new dark chocolate flavor in its Intense Dark range. The prize wasn't a million dollars.  Sorry.   It was a free-round trip to San Francisco, a tour of the Ghirardelli facility, a weekend in Napa (at a Motel 6 or a 5-star resort, I don't know), and a $1,000 shopping spree.  Say the total grand prize's value came to less than $5,000.  The biggest payoff was that Ghirardelli would manufacture "your" winning bar.

Madelyn Callender of Kettering, Ohio took the top honors among nearly 14,000 entries with her Hazelnut Heaven and in 2011, Ghirardelli started manufacturing "her" bar.   

This is a marketing gimmick, plain and simple, not the pursuit of the best chocolate.  Entrants chose a flavor and an ingredient list.  They did not actually make the chocolate bar and submit taste samples to the judges.  Then, people voted online to see which of the finalists won.   Did these online voters magically taste the bar by downloading flavors over their internet connections? 

I think I'm quite qualified to tell you, as President-for-life of this Republic, that two manufacturers' hazelnut chocolate bars, seemingly containing the identical ingredient listings, can and will taste completely different. How good is the chocolate? How fine are the hazelnuts and what percentage are included?

This was a name-game contest, who could come up with the catchiest name with a bare bones listing of basic ingredients for online visitors to get a (virtual) taste of the bar.  It should've always been understood that Ghirardelli would manufacture the winning flavor with its typical 60% darkish chocolate. The winner and the second placer, Cherry Bliss, are not innovative flavor combinations.  Most manufacturers combine hazelnuts and/or fruits with dark chocolate. Ghirardelli could've and would've come up with this one on their own without a contest.

It's a tasty bar.  If you like nuts in your bar and don't mind darkish chocolate, how wrong could you go with this?  Madelyn Callender might have won an award of sorts for her winning name, but this bar won't win any medals for best dark hazelnut chocolate on the planet, any more than Hershey with Almonds will be bestowed an honor any time soon for best almond pairing with chocolate. 

Nuts and chocolate will always go well together, even if there aren't many nuts and the chocolate is overrated.  That's Ghirardelli in a nutshell.

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Whittakers Kiwi Fruit from New Zealand -- 33% cocoa solids
 Hershey Cookies `N` Creme from USA -- 13% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index


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Computer Comprehensive Companion

  chocolate from San Francisco is Ghirardelli. They offer a hazelnut bar made with their American chocolate. It's dark chocolate with hazelnut heaven flavors. Impressed?