If I die after this review, someone tell my wife I never paid the electric bill. You’ll easily recognize her, she’s usually wearing a Chuck E Cheese costume at Comic Con. Gold Emblem is the official brand of CVS, and I just so happened to come across a product that violates one of my highest rules against buying food: Never buy a product that is individually (not X for $Y or bundled) on sale for more than 60% off that is not on a clearance rack. In fact, avoid unknown products even if they are on the clearance rack. But no, I saw Gold Emblem Dark Chocolate with a touch of Sea Salt on sale for less than a dollar, from its original $2.57, and my brain thought “I’d better buy it.” Then again, this is the Shameless Consumer, where we buy bad foods so you don’t have to.
Gold Emblem embolizes the back of the package with “celebrate the exceptional in every day. Gold Emblem Select uses premium ingredients, artisanal techniques, and distinctive flavors to help make any day a special occasion. We’re Gold Emblem. Our standard is delicious.” I need a drink. Of water. I’d love to give an in-depth analysis of the balancing act between sweet and bitter with the chocolate, or talk about the melding flavors of the chocolate and sea salt, but I can’t. What I can talk about is how the bar doesn’t break along the square lines, which is a mixture of annoying and pointless, if ultimately just another fault in the product.
This product shouldn’t even be special enough to write about, even considering the craze that is dark chocolate and sea salt, but here it is. The single, major, deal-breaking fault with this product is that it is sickeningly over-salted. If you have ever added too much salt to corn on the cob, or to your soup, or anything at all, you know exactly what the taste I’m describing is. That overwhelmingly bitter sensation that dries your mouth, starts the acids churning in your stomach, and sets off every alarm in your body that you are ingesting poison. As I write this review after managing to force one half of a bar, I can feel the salt shriveling my digestive tract into something more closely resembling a human prune. This chocolate bar is so salty that it takes any hints of dark chocolate that might be lingering, clubs it over the head with a tire iron, and leaves it for dead in a dumpster.
This snack isn’t so much a bar of chocolate with a touch of sea salt as it is a bar of sea salt with a touch of dark chocolate, which makes the relatively low sodium count all the more baffling. One bar of chocolate contains 260mg of sodium, a statement to which I call bull. According to our good friends over at the Mayo Clinic, 260mg of sodium is about a medium sized pinch of salt, or 650 milligrams of salt, which sounds impossible considering that over the course of eating half of the bar, there wasn’t a whole lot of room for chocolate with the mass of sea salt. If you are one of those people who salt everything, and I mean everything: Your soup, corn, potatoes, coffee, cereal, mail, the cat, then by god you have found your dream bar.
Now I love just about any combination of dark chocolate, sea salt, and caramel, which apart from the price was the only drive that fueled this purchase. Should I have heeded the price warning? Yes. Should I have bought the bar? No. Should I have bought all four bars? Absolutely not. Am I exaggerating the health effects of this candy for comedic effect? Yes. The Gold Emblem Belgian Dark Chocolate with a hint of Sea Salt might not hurt you with its approximately 10% daily value in sodium, but the overwhelming taste of salt does make this the baked ham of the chocolate world. I know there’s something wrong when I’m actually missing Jack Link’s.
Don’t buy this.