Every Ghirardelli Chocolate Square Flavor, Ranked

Ghirardelli has become synonymous with high-end, flavorful chocolate in the United States. Founded by an Italian immigrant who left Genoa for South America, became a chocolatier, and eventually moved his business up to San Francisco, the Ghirardelli chocolate company has been going strong since 1852.

Unlike other famous and historic chocolate companies that tend to stick to what they know best, Ghirardelli is constantly looking for new flavors to infuse into its well-known chocolate squares. We tasted an assortment of Ghirardelli square flavors to rank them from worst to best and help you decide which flavors you may like best.  

In addition to checking what some of the most popular flavors are and looking at general opinions on social media and online reviews of the company, the rankings were mostly based on our taste tests. As avid chocolate fans, we were seeking flavors with the perfect balance of sweetness and chocolate intensity while also delivering on the advertised flavors. More on the methodology is at the end.

Some recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional materials and products provided by the manufacturer/distributor/etc.

11. White chocolate caramel

Though white chocolate has its place among desserts and sweets, it's generally used in combination with other ingredients rather than served on its own. This is true when it comes to Ghirardelli chocolate squares in the white chocolate caramel flavor. 

Since these Ghirardelli squares feature a combination of white chocolate and caramel, it makes this product too sweet for most consumers. White chocolate is generally sweeter than both milk and dark chocolate because it tends to have a higher quantity of sugar. Though one little square was just fine, we don't think we could have eaten much more, and there are certainly other Ghirardelli flavors we preferred. 

A lot of people question whether white chocolate should actually count as real chocolate since it doesn't have any cacao solids or nibs that would usually classify it as such. It still contains cocoa butter, sweeteners, and dairy milk, and as long as it has at least 20% cocoa butter, white chocolate does legally count as chocolate in the U.S. and the E.U. However, that doesn't mean most laypeople consider it true chocolate. Yet, if you happen to be a great fan of white chocolate, you may rank this square much higher than we did. 

10. Milk chocolate double chocolate

The milk chocolate double chocolate squares are named for their double dose of cacao delivered by the decadent chocolate filling within the solid milk chocolate exterior. Even the royal red wrapper seems to emphasize the luxurious nature of the product. Unfortunately, it might be a little too luxurious for most peoples' taste.

Ghirardelli's doubling up on chocolate in this square actually makes it a little bit too intense in terms of cocoa flavor. It makes it hard to finish a whole square, never mind eating several in one sitting. Even the most dedicated chocolate lovers might find this flavor a little much for their palate.

However, if you don't mind a really intense chocolate flavor, perhaps this is the square for you. The creamy, rich filling is perfect if you're using the squares in combination with other ingredients for a tasty treat, like s'mores, which might add a whole new gourmet twist to this classic American campfire snack. 

9. Milk chocolate caramel

This Ghirardelli chocolate square is somewhat similar to the last one we ranked, as it consists of a solid milk chocolate exterior hiding a gooey, creamy filling. The only difference is that the interior is caramel instead of another kind of chocolate.

The reason this square is ranked slightly higher is that the caramel filling breaks up the rich cocoa flavor a bit. This helps provide a bit of contrast for the palate, instead of the chocolate-on-chocolate flavor of the milk chocolate double chocolate squares. However, the gooey caramel is very, very sweet, which makes this square a little bit too cloying for our tastes overall.

You can probably make your way through one square and one square only, thanks to the sweetness. That being said, that may just be perfect for a square from the gourmet chocolate supplier since Ghirardelli is supposed to function as an indulgent treat.

8. Milk chocolate sea salt caramel

Usually, the combination of sea salt and chocolate creates a decadent treat, as the flavors complement each other perfectly. Unlike regular salt, sea salt is usually used as a finishing seasoning instead of within the cooking process itself. That's because it usually tends to be bigger, with a more prominent flavor thanks to the naturally-occurring minerals that retain within its crystals, as opposed to table salt. 

In this case, though, we're not sure whether it's because of the overwhelmingly rich caramel flavoring or the proportion of salt to chocolate, but the sea salt is barely recognizable when tasting the milk chocolate sea salt caramel square. It's not even really that visible, which is a little surprising, as sea salt is generally coarser than table salt and therefore can usually be seen in the desserts in which it's featured. 

All that means is that the balance sea salt would usually bring to the cocoa and caramel flavors is somewhat lost. This makes the squares a lot sweeter than the average consumer would expect due to the buttery and gooey caramel filling. 

7. 86% cacao dark chocolate

There's a reason why Ghirardelli named this "intense dark" on the packaging; 86% cacao is an incredibly high cacao content, making this square have something akin to an overdose of chocolate flavor. What does the percentage generally reflect in chocolate bars and composition? 

Well, most chocolate is primarily a combination of chocolate liquor — also known as cocoa liquor, produced when solid cocoa nibs are turned to liquid — and cocoa butter. When chocolate is marked with a percentage, it usually reflects the amount of chocolate liquor contained within the bar, which is the pure cocoa bean extract. The higher this percentage, the darker the chocolate tends to be and the more intense the flavor. 

Chocolate used for cooking and baking, which has to be on the higher side, tends to hover around 60 or 70%. So as you can imagine, 86% of cacao content is on the higher end. This makes the cacao flavor a bit too overwhelming unless you prefer really, really dark chocolate. 

6. Dark chocolate sea salt caramel

Once again, the sea salt in the Ghirardelli chocolate squares isn't as prominent as a consumer might assume, so the flavors of the caramel and dark chocolate end up being at the forefront. Since the dark chocolate flavor is more cacao-forward and slightly more bitter than milk chocolate, the pairing of caramel and dark chocolate isn't as overly sweet as the milk chocolate and caramel combination, making this a slightly more delicious choice, in our opinion, than the milk chocolate sea salt caramel squares.

Despite its mid-ranking, you can't go wrong with the dark chocolate sea salt caramel because of the high-quality ingredients. In fact, the company rejects up to 40% of the beans offered to it if it regards them as lesser quality, so its chocolate bars and squares are only derived from premium raw ingredients. However, there are other Ghirardelli sea salt-flavored squares that we preferred and ranked higher.

5. 72% cacao dark chocolate

Ghirardelli 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate square has less of an intense dark chocolate flavor than the 86% cacao, which helps it strike more of a balance on the palate. It maintains a rich cacao taste while not feeling too overpoweringly dark, especially for those who don't necessarily prefer dark chocolate. 

Since Ghirardelli knows that the best chocolate bars have subtle hints of other flavors as well, the 72% cacao squares contain notes of mocha, cherry, and blackberry. All of these fruity elements help complement the rich taste of the cacao, especially the slightly sour notes of the cherry and blackberry. Though you won't taste them overtly, they alter the flavor profile just enough to add some complexity to the mix. 

The best part of these squares is that if you're so inclined, you can still use them in cooking and baking applications. For example, some Ghirardelli customers have used these squares in hot chocolate recipes to add an extra touch of indulgence to their cozy winter treat.

4. Milk chocolate caramel waffle cone

This milk chocolate caramel waffle cone square replicates the feeling of eating an ice cream cone without the cold and icy aspects of the experience. The texture and flavor of the waffle cone bits packed into the Ghirardelli squares help break up the sweetness of the caramel and milk chocolate, creating a combination that feels rich, yet not overwhelming. 

When you bite into this square, you will get a nice little crunch of the waffle, a snap of the milk chocolate exterior, followed by a burst of creamy, delicious caramel filling. In order to preserve the waffle cones within the chocolate square and keep them fresh, this product does contain a few more ingredients than the average Ghirardelli chocolate. Namely, a mix of oregano, flaxseed, plum, and green tea, in addition to the waffle cone bits, helps keep everything tasting great even long after production. 

3. Dark chocolate mint

Mint can be a very polarizing flavor in general, especially when included in chocolate products. People seem to either love it or hate it, with very little gray area in between. That's why these dark chocolate mint squares were quite surprising, as the taste testers were not particular fans of mint in chocolate, and yet still found the Ghirardelli squares pleasantly delicious.

Unlike other mint-flavored chocolate products, the mint flavor here is not overly herby or overwhelming, providing a nice subtle sweetness and freshness that contrasts the rich, dark chocolate, alongside that very slight spicy bite that mint tends to have. After a while in your mouth, the slow-melting dark chocolate exterior starts to fuse and combine with the creamy mint filling, enhancing and complementing the flavors of both ingredients. 

For chocolate connoisseurs who may have disliked the combination of chocolate and mint in various products, you will probably have a change of heart thanks to Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Mint squares. If that's the case, start diving into a world of chocolate mint products you previously may not have known. 

2. Sea salt almond dark chocolate

Though there are plenty of theoretically flavorful ingredients included in the Ghirardelli Sea Salt Almond Dark Chocolate squares, they are more subtle than you might imagine because once you bite into one of these squares, you will get a very nice balance of all the little flavors. Compared to other Ghirardelli chocolate squares that feature sea salt, it is the most prominent here, which is perhaps why it manages to balance out the slight bitterness of both the chocolate and the almond.

The almonds are roasted before inclusion in the chocolate squares, giving your bite a nice toasty flavor. Once in your mouth, the chocolate will start to melt and reveal the almonds and sea salt, enhancing the overall texture and flavor of the ingredients as they start to blend into each other. Of all the sea-salt-flavored squares Ghirardelli produces, this one was by far our favorite. 

1. Dark chocolate raspberry

By far the most intriguing and delicious combination of all the Ghirardelli squares we tried, the dark chocolate raspberry was almost everyone's favorite at the table and seems to be a pretty popular choice for Ghirardelli consumers on online forums as well. The fresh and fruity raspberry filling explodes into your mouth the second you bite into the rich dark chocolate exterior, minimizing the slightly bitter notes of the dark chocolate and enhancing its decadence.

Raspberry and chocolate are a pretty popular combination for a reason and that's because these two ingredients go together beautifully. They are quite visually appealing as well; the vibrant red creamy filling against the Ghirardelli-stamped chocolate exterior gives off an incredibly luxurious aesthetic. 

Even though most of the taste testers present for this experiment didn't generally prefer combinations of chocolate and fruit, the dark chocolate raspberry squares won almost everyone over. Best of all, the brightness of the raspberry flavor made it easy for people to eat multiple squares and not confine themselves to just one gourmet treat, as at no point did the bites of chocolate feel overwhelmingly sweet or rich. 


To rank these Ghirardelli chocolate square flavors, we taste-tested them personally with a group of chocolate lovers. We were factoring in the sweetness levels, chocolate intensity, whether the promised flavors were apparent, and whether all the ingredients in the chocolate square meshed well. We also considered personal preferences like dark or milk chocolate, as well as preferences for fruity or more caramel-based flavors when deciding on the ranking. I have personally been a chocolate lover my entire life and tasted chocolate varieties and brands from all over the world, a background that informed the taste tests conducted here.

In addition to the taste tests, we looked up online reviews and forums on Ghirardelli squares to get an idea of most customers' preferences. This helped us understand if our rankings were generally in line with what the majority of Ghirardelli customers thought or were very different from most reviewers.