Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gillham & Grand 70% Dark Chocolate

Manufacturer: Gillham & Grand (Hallmark private label)
Cocoa Content: 70%
Manufacturer Website
Rating: D

Today's tasting is a 70% dark chocolate bar from Gillham & Grand. Gillham & Grand is a private label who produces chocolate for Hallmark. The bar is ebony in color with some red. Opening the package releases a rather disappointing aroma that reminds me of cheap hollow chocolate Santas/Easter Bunnies.

At first taste there is an immediate strong flavor of raspberry preserves. I had to double-check the package to make sure I hadn't inadvertently gotten a flavored chocolate. I'm assuming that these bars are either produced on the same machine as the raspberry-flavored bars or have been stored in mixed cases with them for an extended period of time. Underneath the berries, sweet notes of caramel and coconut are here as well as mocha and peanuts. Chewing the Gillham & Grand bar lead to more raspberry preserves along with notes of vanilla and coconut. The mouthfeel is waxy and slightly gritty. The finish has lingering mocha notes as the raspberry fades.

It is obvious that the Gillham and Grand bar I tasted has met some subpar manufacturing and storage conditions. Even for a private label chocolate, this bar fails to meet even minimal expectations (see Walmart's Hageland line for examples of the right way to do private label chocolate). If you're in a Hallmark store and you're having a chocolate craving, do yourself a favor and find something other than this.

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