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, December 4, 2013

Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Orange

Since we'll be harping on about the joys of Christmas for the next few weeks, let me throw this out there now before it's too late: Happy Hanukkah! Who knew it came so early this year? For our kosher readers: if you can find it, check out the fruit and nut log before the Festival of Lights is over! 

And now, on to my mandatory semantical pondering of the day: shouldn't this product be orange chocolate? I mean it's chocolate that tastes like orange. It's not an actual orange covered in chocolate. Just sayin'. 

Leave it to a Japanese YouTube channel to enlighten me about real chocolate-covered oranges. And leave it to the Germanic peoples of northern Europe to give us Christmas classics like pfeffernüsse, which you can find at Trader Joe's, along with festive American offerings like chocolate peppermint cupcakes and eggnog.

Since I've furnished you with enough snarkiness to last us through December, I won't even mention TJ's advent calendars, although I will say that the chocolates in the one we bought this year taste vastly better than the first one we tried. I think the calendar we used in 2011 might have had chocolate from 2010 or 2009 in it. As much as I appreciate vintage wines, and in some cases aged cheeses, I don't think chocolate works that way.

But that was one of the strengths of this chocolate orange. The chocolate just tasted fresh. The orange flavor helped give it a little extra splash of tartness that tingled the tongue and enhanced the milk chocolate sweetness. Similar to Terry's famous chocolate orange, you must whack this one on the counter to separate the 20 thin slices. In fact, it's so similar to the Terry's oranges I've had, I'm wondering if this is just a re-packaging of Terry's brand...? Don't quote me on that. It's just one of my speculative musings about the secret world of Trader Joe's suppliers. Either way, this is a pretty good product if I can't tell the difference between TJ's brand and the original.

I guess this is something you're supposed to get as a stocking stuffer on Christmas morning. Sonia and I didn't wait. The review wouldn't do you much good after the holidays are over, now would it? Despite Sonia's slight aversion to eating plain chocolate, she managed to muster enough enthusiasm for three and a half stars. I think I'll give it four and a half.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10 stars.
And yes, that is Yoda in a Santa suit next to the chocolate orange under our Christmas tree.


  1. Are you going to review the dark chocolate orange, for those of us who are strictly dark chocolate snobs?

    1. I didn't see the dark chocolate orange last time, Ari. But that's a possibility for the future...

  2. I've had the TJs dark chocolate orange (I'm a dark choc snob) and it had decent orange flavor but it's not dark enough for snobs like me. I'd rather tear open a mandarin cutie & break off a couple squares of TJs 72% Dark Pound Plus for a cheap snack.

    1. Thanks Alice! You dark chocolate snobs need to stick together. Sonia prefers dark chocolate, but I just don't get it. My palate is still 13 years old in that respect...

  3. Found a dark chocolate orange at our local TJ's (San Antonio, TX); enjoying it right now. Chocolate is much better than I remember the Terry's oranges being (plus the chocolate is sculpted to look like an orange segment). Orange is a perfect complement without being overpowering. Yum!