Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Honey Mints

Imagine, if you will, if you're a musical producer looking to make a smash album, and so decide to get together two classic acts, like say Neil Young and Pearl Jam, knowing how well they'd mesh together. Then, you decide your collaboration needs something just a little bit more, so you call Kanye West into the mix. Or, for a moment, pretend you're a movie director, looking to make a blockbuster. You call upon DeNiro and Pacino (or, if you prefer pure hunkiness, Ryan Gosling and Lenny DiCaprio*), but needing one more actor to round things out, you call Zach Galifianakis' agent. Or, for your all-time Olympic fantasy team draft, you choose Michael Phelps, Carl Lewis, and the Jamaican bobsled team. It's not that there's anything wrong with each individual member of these threesomes (in fact, they're all good in their own way) but while two seem to mesh, the remaining third...just doesn't. It's kinda one of those "one of these things isn't like the other" set-ups.

To be honest, that's more or less how I expected these Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Honey Mints to be. Dark chocolate with mint makes a great, classic combination. But adding honey? Really? Honey's good and all, but while I could see it pairing okay-ish with chocolate, honey and mint together just doesn't sound all that great to me on the surface, and adding chocolate doesn't help it out.

Good thing is, I can be wrong, and I'll admit it. These are actually fairly good lil' candy disks, despite my initial hesitation. They're made from just three ingredients - chocolate liquor, honey, and peppermint oil. And, unlike you'd expect with the third party mentioned in each threesome above, I really didn't notice the honey too terribly much. If anything, the honey adds just a little sweetness, which, with the cocoa coating basically being baker's chocolate, is a good thing, while not interfering with the mint too much. In fact, if given one of these on a blind taste test, I wouldn't be guess there'd be honey at all in these. Each candy is a soft, melt-in-your-mouth bite that's pretty satisfying that strays almost towards the little-bit-too-rich side, which for me is good enough to keep me interested in eating just one or two of them at a time, as opposed to one or two handfuls.

Sandy likes them quite bit, too, and for more reasons than the "cute package" they come in. In making the obvious comparison, she says she likes them more than York Peppermint Patties, and that's enough to make them a good, solid 4 for her. I'm not sure if I'm willing to go that far, but I do appreciate these as an alternative that, perhaps because of their simplicity, taste a little more "natural"** than the competition. I'll go with a 3.5.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Honey Mints: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons
*I know he's a pretty good actor, but is he still considered a hunk? I know he was in the Titanic era, but really, I have no idea where Lenny's considered to be on the scale these days.
** This, of course, being a completely relative term that I tried to shake out of my head, yet it keeps coming back for no real good apparent reason. Maybe it's the lack of processed sugar that's getting to me.


  1. I lOVE these... I don't know why- I'm not a big honey eater... or a big chocolate eater. delicious..

  2. I love these, too! I really, really like the subtle ribbon of honey. This has become one of my fave treats. A great way to end the day : )

    Thanks for the post and the great site!


  3. Its so good and simple,thank you Trader Joe's

  4. i'm gonna have to disagree with all of you guys. I tried one of these in the bag and threw out the rest. the chocolate was not the melt in your mouth creamy type of chocolate (kind of like an alcohol/chemical based chocolate flavoring?)--that combined with the mint left a really strange aftertaste in my mouth that made this the worst dessert snack I've ever purchased from TJs (I normally love everything)

  5. I absolutely love these- especially that subtle honey flavor. I am waiting for them to be in store again so I can stock up!

  6. I loved these but they were recently out of stock for weeks in all of our local stores and now that they are back it seems they have re-tooled them. The layer of chocolate on top is way thinner and I don't like them nearly as much now - nowhere near as balanced (but I'm sure cheaper to manufacture). Boo TJs.

  7. My 5yr old son & I love these! One or two is enough to satisfy your sweet treat or chocolate cravings. Wholeness goodness. And fits perfectly into our immune deficiency food elimination diets! It's a staple when we go to Trader Joes!