Pros: great taste; very good texture; healthy antioxidants
Cons: high in sugar and fat; low in nutrients
I never get sick of trying new candy products, especially if the product has dark chocolate involved somehow. I vastly prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate - or really, any other candy product
plus I like that I can tell myself that the empty calories I'm consuming are actually full of antioxidants which are good for me - and it's true! (So the calories are just mostly empty
I can live with that!) This summer I had a coupon for a new dark chocolate product put out by Hershey's, Hershey's Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate Squares with 60% Cacao. Having the coupon convinced me that I should at least give this product a try
and I was happy that I did.
These squares have a nice dark chocolate taste that is less sweet that Hershey's Special Dark. It does have a hint of bitterness, but overall it has a smooth, pleasant taste. The texture is smooth as well. It's not as good as some of the more expensive dark chocolates on the market, but it is still quite good and I think most people who like dark chocolate should find this to be a tasty snack. If you look at the ingredients list, you will see that it lists these as "semi-sweet" chocolate. If you like plain semisweet chocolate chips (like you would find in a chocolate chip cookie), these squares should appeal to you.
According to the package, one serving is equal to four of the squares. I like this, as it allows me to either eat four and feel like I ate a lot of chocolate, or eat fewer and then feel virtuous that I ate less than a full serving. I find that two of the squares is a sufficient amount to allow me to feel like I've had enough of a treat unless I'm extremely hungry.
The squares are each individually wrapped in an elegant black, purple, and gold foil wrapper. This makes them convenient to toss into a purse or backpack to eat as a snack when on the go. On the other hand, all that extra wrapping material could be viewed as wasteful.
The back of the bag of these squares has a nice chart of the total antioxidant content of selected foods, including blueberries, red wine, green tea, almonds, Hershey's Cocoa, and (of course!) these Hershey's Dark Chocolate Squares. According to the chart, Hershey's Cocoa has the most, followed very closely by blueberries, and then very close after that come the Hershey's Dark Chocolate Squares. Red wine, green tea, and almonds lag behind, in that order. The bag urges the reader to "enjoy in moderation as part of a healthy diet and active lifestyle." It is important to remember that, while these chocolate squares do have beneficial antioxidants, they do not have the vitamins and other nutrients that foods like blueberries and almonds have. Moderation is important - and so is variety.
As I mentioned, a serving size is equal to four of these squares. One serving contains 180 calories, 120 calories (14 grams) of which are from fat. There are also zero grams of trans fat in one serving, 9 grams of saturated fat, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, less than 5 mg of cholesterol, and zero mg of sodium in one serving. In terms of vitamins, there is nothing, but these do contain 20% of the Daily Value of iron for an adult. While I appreciate the antioxidant content and the lack of cholesterol and sodium, these are still high in saturated fat and in sugar. These are not a health food. (Sadly.)
Ingredients list: Semi-Sweet Chocolate (Chocolate; Sugar; Cocoa; Milk Fat; Cocoa Butter; Soy Lecithin; Natural Vanilla Flavor; Milk). Allergy information: Manufactured on the same equipment that processes peanuts/tree nuts.
While Hershey's Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate Squares with 60% Cacao are not as fantastic as some other dark chocolates I have experienced, they are still very enjoyable - and they are generally cheaper than a brand like Lindt or Valrhona. 4 stars.
Please note: While the image listed with this product includes both Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate Squares like the ones I have reviewed (on the left) and Hershey's Extra Dark Squares with additives like nuts and berries (on the right), the link only lists the plain Extra Dark Squares and that is what I am reviewing. I have not tried the Hershey's Squares with those additions.