Taste-Off: The best, most luxurious chocolate syrups — and the utter fails

Drizzle it on ice cream, squeeze into a smoothie or just add it to milk or a latte and stir. No matter how it’s served, chocolate syrup is sure to bring a smile.

There’s no argument that Hershey’s dominates the chocolate syrup category, but a quick scan of store shelves turns up an array of options, ranging from store brands to local artisanal versions. Fun fact: Chocolate syrup has been around since the 1890s, when it was considered medicinal and often fed to babies as a “cure” for colic.

Chocolate syrups all have the same basic ingredients: sugar, cocoa and water. Many include emulsifiers, preservatives and thickeners such as tapioca. While the inclusion of additives is not necessarily bad, a careful reading of that syrup label provides a few clues about quality. Too many forms of sugar, for example, suggest that the syrup will be more sweet than chocolaty, and the use of terms such as  “flavored with” and “natural ingredients” often means the flavor has been boosted with lower quality, inauthentic ingredients.

Great chocolate syrup is made with top quality cocoa powder, just the right hit of sugar and a pinch of salt and real vanilla to round out the flavor. The result is a smooth, luscious spoonful that’s just as satisfying as a bite of high-quality chocolate. Bad chocolate syrup is sugary, thin, bland and not nearly chocolaty enough. The worst offenders are gritty and bitter or taste burned, likely due to the use of very low-quality cocoa.

Here’s the scoop on the most delicious syrups and the bottles best squeezed down the drain. Nutrition info refers to 2 tablespoons of syrup.

Ghirardelli Premium Chocolate Sauce

Top quality chocolate, real vanilla and a fruity note of chocolate liquor make this a delicious spoonful that will enhance and upgrade any drink or dessert. 110 calories, 1 g fat, 20 mg sodium, 24 g sugar, 1 g protein. $6.12 for 16 ounces at Walmart. (4 stars)

Melissa’s Chocolate Dessert Sauce

Rich, balanced and packed with bittersweet chocolate flavor, this syrup deserves space in the fridge. 90 calories, no fat, 40 mg sodium, 19 g sugar. $5.99 for 15.8 ounces at Safeway. (4 stars)

Trader Joe’s Organic Midnight Moo Chocolate Syrup

Deep chocolate notes plus a dash of chocolate liquor make this creamy syrup a delicious choice for fans of dark chocolate. 110 calories, no fat, 25 mg sodium, 22 g sugar. $3.99 for 15.8 ounces. (3½ stars)

Torani Premium Dark Chocolate Sauce

This dense, thick sauce is decidedly adult, with a bitter, coffeelike note. It’s sweet, but may not appeal to milk chocolate lovers. 100 calories, .5 g fat, 15 mg sodium, 23 g sugar.  $8.49 for 16.5 ounces at Safeway. (3½ stars)

Hershey’s Genuine Chocolate Flavor Syrup

This classic syrup is notably thin, but it delivers a solid hit of chocolate. It’s a great budget-priced option. 90 calories, no fat, 10 mg sodium, 20 g sugar. $3.62 for 24 ounces at Walmart. (3 stars)

Great Value Chocolate Syrup

Despite the thin consistency and far too much sugar, this syrup delivers a fair amount of clean chocolate flavor. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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