Chocomania: Easy to find, easier to eat

Part of an occasional series about chocolate

Oh my holy heck y’all, has it really been FIVE MONTHS since my last Chocomania post? Of course, it was Parisian chocolate, so that was a difficult act to follow…

Still, I have a couple of yummies to report on today and I think they’re worth the splurge for those of us who are being really careful with how we allocate our food calories. So brace yourselves, chocolate lovers, and try not to lick your computer screens.

Today’s featured chocolate is made by Ghirardelli. Those of you who’ve been reading for a while might remember that a couple years ago I took issue with Ghirardelli for adding high fructose corn syrup to some of their chocolates. I won’t eat that shit, no matter how good the chocolate in question might taste. So, for over a year, Ghirardelli was dead to me because I was pissed at them for adulterating gourmet chocolate with lab-produced offal.

What finally broke down my defenses was an email from my friend Heather last fall, who gleefully told me about a new Ghirardelli treat that I had to try, ethics be damned.

Pumpkin spice caramel squares, y’all. Can you imagine a more perfect concoction for the crisp days of October and November?

I started looking for the pumpkin spice crack chocolates here in my town, but with no luck. I griped about this hardship* repeatedly on Facebook, to the point that even my friends were on the look-out  for the pumpkin spice carameth chocolates too, just so that they could get me to just shut up about them already.

(* Yes, I know, first world problems, yo.)

Finally, a friend finally found the goodies at le Tarzhay and emailed me the news posthaste and I hied myself posthastier to Target in order to procure some. Once there, I was faced with the dilemma of how many bags to buy. On the one hand, these were rare treats that would be available for a limited time only, so perhaps I should stockpile? On the other hand, I had recently been burned when I had listened to friends’ food suggestions and found myself in Starbucks trying to drink a gingerbread latte that smelled foul and tasted worse and then, just a couple weeks later, back in a Starbucks again choking on a peppermint mocha that tasted like coffee laced with chemicals, so would the pumpkin heroin caramels would be yet another culinary disappointment?

I bought one bag, paid, and left the store. In the car, my hands were shaking a bit as I opened the bag, reached in, and pulled out one chocolate. I took a bite. Savored. Another bite. More savoring.

And then I got out of the car and went back into the store and bought several more bags of pumpkin spice cocaine chocolates, took them home, and stashed them wayuphigh in the pantry so that I couldn’t access them easily. And after that I doled them out very carefully for the next couple of months until my supply was depleted. (Updated to add: There’s no pumpkin flavor in these — it’s pumpkin spices that are mixed into the caramel. Just trust me and go buy some.)

So if Ghirardelli comes out with these goodies again this year, go buy some.

(Unless, of course, if you live in my town, in which case I encourage you to avoid them like the plague. They’re nasty, so just stay away. I’ll buy all of the bags at Target and will dispose of the chocolates on your behalf so that you don’t have to.)

Having dipped a toe into the Ghirardelli waters again, I was more open-minded this summer when I discovered the company’s new dark chocolate with sea salt caramel filling squares. People, they are GOOD.

The pumpkin spice crank chocolates are milk chocolate and, I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to be disciplined around them. I don’t remember if I read the ingredients list carefully or if I was already addicted at first sight, but clearly the Ghirardelli folks have laced that particular treat with something that’s going to land us all in a 12 step program. So, proceed with caution.

The dark chocolate sea salt caramels, however, appear to be drug-free. It’s easy to eat just one and be done.

One big difference between the two is milk chocolate vs. dark chocolate — a little dark chocolate goes a long way, while a little milk chocolate leads to more and more and ultimately leads to elastic waste pants and a possible need for Weight Watchers meetings.

The great thing about both chocolates is that they’re individually wrapped. You don’t open the bag and get a huge waft of cocoa scent up in your nose, so it’s easier to resist temptation. The dark chocolate sea salt yummies are 210 calories for three squares, so you could do what I do and have only one square and you really haven’t fallen off the wagon too far. And, as we all know, occasional indulgences are important.

So that’s the latest chocolate report. I’d love to hear other people’s feedback, plus suggestions for other goodies we should all be trying.

Standard disclaimer: I’m not employed by Ghirardelli — although I wouldn’t mind some sort of sweet (heh) consulting gig — and I was not asked to review their products. Blah blah blah, legal mumbo jumbo, etc.