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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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Filled with Speculoos Cookie Spread

In a recent post, I mentioned that Sonia and I aren't in the habit of purchasing random chocolate bars from the checkout at TJ's. That was a big lie. On our last Trader Joe's run, we did just that. After the success of such items as the Speculoos Cookie Butter and other dark chocolate candy bars like this one, we decided this little snack might be worth a purchase.

This chocolate bar was tasty. But the two main ingredients didn't blend together quite like I had hoped they would. For those of you who've tried the Cookie Butter, you know that it's pretty sweet and has a good bit of taste, but the rich, bitter tang of the dark chocolate was enough to virtually drown out the speculoos' flavor. It's not that they skimped on the Cookie Butter here. Just looking at each chocolate square, you'd think the gingerbread sweetness of the speculoos would be the dominant flavor...but sadly, it isn't. There was a hint of creaminess in each little chocolate square, but it still felt and tasted basically like a regular dark chocolate bar—not unlike this one

So really, it's a pretty safe purchase as long as you're a fan of dark chocolate. Even if you don't like gingersnap type flavors, I don't think there's enough in there to ruin the chocolatiness. But if you're hoping for big bursts of that TJ's Speculoos Cookie Butter that you've come to know and love, you might find this chocolate bar falls short of its potential. I'd really like to try the same thing with white chocolate or milk chocolate instead of dark. I think the flavors might blend a little better. And a bit more cookie butter couldn't hurt, either.

Sonia gives this little treat a 3.5. Me too.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10 stars.


  1. This is the best candy bar I've ever had and deserves nothing short of a full 10 stars, and I almost always prefer milk chocolate over dark, but not here. It's perfect as is.

  2. I just bought a jar of speculoos to make bon bons with, I will have to test out with both dark and milk chocolate.

  3. the cookie butter in the chocolate bar I bought was very pale in color compared to what's in the jar. It was almost dry, not creamy. Was yours like this?

  4. I agree. The cookie butter in the chocolate bar is not the same as the one you buy in the jar.

  5. I agree that this falls short of its potential. I found it too sweet - so I think putting the speculoos in milk chocolate would be even more egregious (since milk choco tends to be sweeter than dark).

  6. Man, this is probably my all-time favorite Trader Joe's product! Yummy!

  7. I noticed that the filling is not cookie butter, it is cookie spread. It tastes much more like the batter part of chocolate chip cookie dough (which then mixes with the dark chocolate to taste like an actual chocolate chip cookie to me) and not gingerbread-y at all. I had the chocolate bar before I tried the cookie butter, so I was actually disappointed when I realized that the cookie butter was gingerbread. I've been searching to try to find just the "Cookie Spread" that is used for the filling of the candy bar, but have had no luck.

  8. I totally agree! I bought this hoping it would be a tasty substitute for the Lindt Speculoos chocolate bar that I loved when I visited France but the contrast of the bitter dark chocolate and speculoos was too much - it would have been better if they had used milk chocolate like the Lindt version!

  9. This was disappointing to say the least. I agree with the writer and several comments that there was not much taste of the cookie butter. It is fine if you want to buy it just for dark chocolate but there needs to be much more filling in it! There has to be the right balance just like Reeses cups or even the TJ dark chocolate PB cups which are among my favorites candies anywhere!!! I agree that milk chocolate might be better but again, need the right ratio. Also, the Lindt idea has a lot of merit as well. I hope TJ's takes note of these comments and reformulates the candy bar as it has a lot of potential!