Saturday, October 13, 2012

Trader Joe's Organic Stone Ground 70% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate

2.6oz (73.7g) in two discs
Ingredients: Organic cocoa nibs, o. cane sugar
10g sugar/37g serving (27% by wt.)

Corporate Info: (Copied from 10/6/12) I've had very mixed results with Trader Joe's chocolate, enough that I rarely review it. The quirky-gourmet company is hit or miss anyway, with some products being regular purchases for years, some becoming favorites and then disappearing from shelves, and some straight up disappointing. There isn't much to say aside from a fun fact: The US's beloved Trader Joe's is owned by Germany's ALDI, which operates discount supermarkets all over Europe—and that explains why we saw packages of dried fruit and nuts labeled Trader Joe's in an ALDI in Osnabrück.

This Bar: Trader Joe's is known for offering store brand goods that are possibly lower-cost, identical products made by a name brand manufacturer and sold in very similar packaging that makes the connection even more obvious. Today's stone-ground, 70% cacao discs look mighty familiar, don't they? Well, they're as close as you can come (without being 100% positive) to Taza's two-to-a-package, spoke-scored, stone-ground 70% Cacao Puro Chocolate Mexicano, which I haven't reviewed here. The ingredients are practically the same (TJ's lists “cocoa nibs” to Taza's website's “roasted cacao beans”), but TJ's is only $3.99, while Taza's is $4.50 on its website and $5-6 in stores around my city. Unfortunately I don't have the Taza product here, but I can review TJ's discs alone. So how are they?

Appearance: Medium brown with yellow undertones. Glossy on the surface but grainy (i.e. stone-ground) in cross-section, with visible sugar crystals.

Smell: Sweet, dried/”brown”, light brown sugar. Not molasses-y, but with some caramelized, raisiny elements.

Taste: Texture is gritty and fudgy. Flavor isn't especially dark, but has a light spiciness, like nutmeg and ginger—that's the dried, “brown” smell I was getting. Slightly sour, little bitterness. The flavor's mild complexity and texture's variation makes this easy to keep eating.

Conclusion: Trader Joe's Organic Stone Ground 70% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate is gritty, fudgy, and relatively mild, making it easy to munch.

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