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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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Trader Joe's 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate

I guess this review is kind of a cop-out, because everybody knows what chocolate tastes like. Everybody knows what dark chocolate tastes like, too. I would describe it as milk chocolate, but a little more bitter.

Now, we could get into wine critic-esque language involving "flinty undertones" and "hints of earthiness," but that would be pretentious. This is an "everyman's" kind of blog. Russ and I are indeed everymen. And I suppose, by association, that would make Sandy and Sonia everywomen. And along those lines, I do think this is a chocolate bar that everyone can enjoy, even those who've never had anything other than Hershey's.

I'm not a particularly huge fan of dark chocolate. I like white chocolate and milk chocolate because I have a sweet tooth. Indeed, I must have at least several sweet teeth. However, on occasion, I do enjoy the richness of dark chocolate, so long as I am not in the middle of one of my sugar-craving fits. Sugar is still the second ingredient in this chocolate bar, as you can tell from the photo on the right, but the sweetness doesn't overpower the cacao in dark chocolate—and this bar is no exception.

According to this Wikipedia article, a product must have at least 35% cocoa solids in order to qualify as dark chocolate. The 70 - 99% range is generally used for baking purposes. So, in the grand scheme of things, this chocolate is pretty darn dark. I was expecting it to be quite bitter, but both Sonia and I agree that it was surprisingly delicious and palatable. (Sonia usually does like dark chocolate, so it's not as big a surprise that she was a fan).

We're not often in the habit of just buying random chocolate bars, unless Russ and Sandy highly recommend something from TJ's, such as this little gem you might find at the checkout. But in this case, we received these at a lovely wedding we recently attended. Each bar was wrapped in a beautifully-designed candy wrapper created by the bride. We snagged a few as wedding favors and ate them in the days after the wedding. Thanks K & J!

Sonia will give this bar a 4. I'll give it a 3.5.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.


  1. I agree with your rating. I think the almond version of this chocolate bar is better.

    1. OMG, there's an almond version? I haven't seen it. Must look closer.

  2. Indeed, we must try the almond version! Thanks!