Raising the (chocolate) bar. Which brand are we sweet on?

Chocolate: It’s a Valentine’s Day must! But which brand you gift your sweetheart is crucial. In our latest blind taste test, we tried four brands of dark chocolate, all hovering around 70 percent cocoa.

The Criteria

  • 70-72% cocoa
  • Between $3.00 and $4.00
  • 3-3.5 oz.

Ghirardelli

Taste and appearance

We all agreed that Ghirardelli had an intense chocolatey flavor but was the most bitter of the brands we tested. The bar didn’t melt quite as smoothly as we’d like, some noting an almost grainy texture.

Package

Ghirardelli’s stately package design paired with a matte-finish wrapper and subtle use of gold foil give it a premium feel. We like the large, bold callout of the cacao percentage for easy shopping. The recognizable blue logo really pops off the dark chocolate background for clear brand recognition.

Price

$3.29 (3.5 oz) = $0.94/oz

Chocolove

Taste and appearance

Of the bars tested, Chocolove 70% was the darkest in color and had the most shine. Our testers noted the more rich, complex flavor, a nice compliment to the smooth texture.

Package

The all-black wrapper clearly identifies this chocolate as dark. We are fans of the very youthful “love letter” vibe we get from the stamp and foil seal motif. We only question the typewriter font Chocolove chose for its flavor callout. Though the typewriter style feels postal, we don’t love the distressed details of this particular font.

Price

$2.99 (3.2 oz) = $0.93/oz

Godiva

Taste and appearance

Expecting the typical bold chocolate flavor, we were pleasantly surprised by the addition of nutty notes in Godiva. The texture, however, didn’t have quite as smooth of a melt as we expected—some described it as almost waxy.

Package

Godiva recently underwent a major package re-design, and we approve of the results. Most notably, we love the drool-worthy swoosh of chocolate running across the wrapper. With this bold element of taste-appeal and overall simple design, Godiva moved from classic to a much more modern, casual look.

Price

$2.99 (3.1 oz) = $0.96/oz

Lindt

Taste and appearance

The lightest in color and mildest in flavor of the brands we tested, Lindt received high marks from our milk chocolate lovers. Though the subtle flavor wasn’t off-putting, we would have liked a deeper flavor. But the velvety texture was favored all-around.

Package

Lindt’s package design is clearly going for a very classic European feel. We like this direction for Lindt, but we’re getting a bit of a dated vibe here with the lighting effects in the imagery. Though the use of gold foil feels premium, we don’t get any sense of that high-quality taste-appeal in the chocolate representation.

Price

$3.69 (3.5 oz) = $1.05/oz

The Results

So what dark chocolate will we be pairing with our wine this Valentine’s Day? Our overall consensus is that you couldn’t go wrong with any of these brands. But, if we had to pick just one, we’d go for the Chocolove. The specialty feel of the packaging is matched by the rich, smooth chocolate inside—a very giftable combination.

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