Saturday, October 6, 2012

Trader Joe's 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate

1.65oz (47g) bar
Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa powder, soy lecithin, cocoa solids
13g sugar/47g serving (27.7% by wt.)

Corporate Info: 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: Just a random 72% cacao bar with no special selling points other than a small “Imported from Belgium.” It's worth noting that, unlike most chocolate bars I review, this one lists cocoa powder in the ingredients. I wonder what that will do to the flavor, if anything?

Appearance: Small and blocky, in a very medium brown with the normal level of gloss.

Smell: Roasted, bitter, kind of harsh.

Taste: Texture is waxy, melting into thick and somewhat chalky, the latter of which I expect has to do with the cocoa powder. Flavor is intense and bitter, with undertones of butter and nuts. The bitterness actually has some complexity, so even though it's a little harsh it's not totally all over the place and doesn't have super-off-putting edges, so honestly it's not all that bad, but it's amazing the difference between this 72% bar and many others with similar levels of cacao. Cocoa powder wouldn't be my first choice of chocolate bar ingredients, and I wouldn't go out of my way to buy this again, but if you relish bitterness it's worth a shot.

Conclusion: Trader Joe's 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate is strong and bitter, but passable if you like that sort of thing.

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