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 16, 2015

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Honey Grahams with Sea Salt

On our last TJ's run, Sonia and I wanted something dessert-ish. And who knows—it might have been that very tiny part of me that's Jewish exerting some subconscious desire to be kosher again, but a pork candy bar just didn't sound all that appealing to me. Graham crackers, dark chocolate, and sea salt sounded like a much more promising option, so when we saw this brand new product, we quickly snagged it off the shelves. (But if you're a smoked salt and sweet swine fan like Russ, by all means, knock yourselves out.)

The title of this product says it all, at least as far as constituent parts go—but I think it's the sea salt in particular that rounds out this snack in a very special way. There are large granules on the outermost portion of the cookies, embedded in the dark chocolate, but big enough that you can clearly see them protruding from the otherwise smooth surface. In fact, I believe they're visible in our pic of the product. And flavor-wise, the sea salt crystals are very much a part of the attack. Upon first bite, the saltiness is present in spades, and it provides this beautiful balance to the bitterness of the cacao and the sweetness of the cane sugar and honey graham base. We've seen TJ's do great things with sea salt and dark chocolate before—quite a few times, actually—so many times that it would be difficult to link to each one individually. So I'll throw you guys this bone and link to the "Search This Blog" results for keywords "Sea Salt Dark Chocolate."

Sonia shared this product with her co-workers and got pretty much universally positive reactions. I, on the other hand, work from home and have no co-workers I can share with, unless you count the dogs. And they can't have any chocolate. Just as well. I'm selfish and don't like sharing anyway...particularly when it's something this tasty.

Texture-wise, the product is moderately crispy. Even under all that chocolate, the graham cracker still feels like a cracker. The sea salt actually adds a bit of extra crunch into the mix. Sonia tried an experiment with some leftover marshmallows we had, and she sandwiched them between two of these chocolate covered honey grahams to create a makeshift s'more. She enjoyed it much better than a traditional s'more and liked the added soft texture of the 'mallow.

Maybe it's because they were only sitting out on the counter for a few short hours, but the dark chocolate didn't melt that much in this summer heat. I'm not usually a huge fan of any chocolate in the summertime, particularly dark chocolate—but one thing I do crave is salt. I sweat like crazy and I always want salty snacks this time of year. And along those lines, these unique little cookies deliver.

Sonia liked them even more than I did. 4.5 from her. I'll throw out 4 stars.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.


  1. Replies
    1. Yep. I'm thinking these would be pretty much everybody's kind of treat ;)

  2. I see these and am thinking s'mores right away.

    1. And half caffeinated ones totally skip over key paragraphs :)

  3. I'm in the minority, but I do not like salt in my chocolate, and these products are getting more and more popular.

    1. I hear that.

      I definitely don't like salt with my chocolate in every case either, but here I think it worked...

  4. I got an idea why they didn't go ahead and put a layer of marshmallow in it. While it like "smashing smores" but flatter. OR COOKIE BUTTER! Like I said before with cookie butter. Cookie Butter marshmallows. Get it on Trader Joe's!!! COOKIE BUTTER MARSHMALLOWS!!!

    1. Genius! Like Russ said, you should totally apply for TJ's product development team :)

  5. Loved these on their own, with crunchy salted Valencia peanut butter, with fleur de sel caramel sauce and French vanilla ice cream...