Friday, September 21, 2012

Food Review: Trader Joe's Extra Dark Chocolates (★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆)

The best part of vacations: (clockwise) PB S'more, Olive Oil Tasting, Magic Show, Largest Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Ever!, Ice Cream on the Lake

Well, today is my last day of vacation and, thus, the last day of Food Review Week.

It's okay.  Everybody together - aaaawwwwhhhhhh. :(

I know, I know.  

You'll still get your weekly Thursday dose though, so no need for the tears.

And since it's Friday...and everyone loves Friday...I thought I'd end on a happy note - chocolate.

Everybody together - yippee! hooray! this is the greatest day of my life!  
                                 (Okay who said that?  That is what we call an over-re-ac-tion).

Anywhoo, this may seem like a repeat of the famous Fair Trade 72% Dark Chocolate Review, but I assure you it is not.  

That was an out and out rave.

This is a compare and contrast.

See totally different!

So let's get down to the nitty gritty.  After finding the new chocolate bar love of my life at Trader Joe's, I was intrigued by all the other 70%-ish dark chocolate bars they offered.  

Not being able to bear the thought of "settling," I decided to take drastic measures.  

The mission: to try them all.  

A daunting task, but someone had to do it.  And once again, I did it for you.  

Geeze, I should get a medal or something.  You guys are so lucky to have me to do your dirty work.  

The Trader Joe's Players:
  • 72% Fair Trade Organic Belgian Dark Chocolate
  • 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate
  • 73% Super Dark Organic Chocolate
  • 72% Swiss Dark Chocolate
  ★ ★ ☆ 
2nd Place.  Let's get the known out of the way.  Delicious!  Wonderful!  Fantastic!  This is one of my top 5 favorite chocolate bars.  Flavors: Very Fruity.  Distinct notes of raspberry and apple.  And oh so smooth.
  ☆ ☆ ☆ 
4th Place.  Maybe if I had tried this bar by itself I wouldn't have disliked it so much.  But compared to the others this was a huge step (or 20) down from the Fair Trade and Swiss bars.  I found this rather surprising considering the price difference was mere pennies and it carried the Trader Joe's label like every other bar I tested.  Flavors: Extremely bold. Coffee essence.
  ☆ ☆ ☆ 
3rd Place.  While a few steps up from the "red" bar, this was still difficult to enjoy after tasting my first and second place choices.  Maybe it's just a personal preference, but I like creamy and smooth, which this certainly was not. Flavors: Very earthy, dirt.  (No joke, I took a wine class. I know my flavor palate!) Hints of blueberry.  The texture was also unique - slightly chalky and grainy.  Not my first choice for a chocolate bar.
  ★ ★ ☆ 
1st Place.  Did I think I would be putting first place on anything other bar than the 72% Fair Trade?  Nope.  No way. How could I get so lucky as to score TWO mega awesome chocolate bars not only from the same store, but also the same generic brand?  Are you kidding me?!  This is crazy!  I think the Fair Trade is a better bar all around, but this Swiss bar knows my weaknesses.  Flavors: Hints of vanilla and custard.  Super creamy and completely smooth.  Way to win this girl over.  Plus it's gluten free and vegan...although, I'm guessing so are the rest of these bars.

Mission Accomplished.  

Exhaustion and the dwindling availability of abdominal real estate could not keep me down.
Seriously, guys.  Why are you still reading this when there are so many wonderful - and cheap - chocolate bars at your fingertips?

But before you go, a recap for all your shopping needs:

  • Fair Trade: Raspberry Smooth - Yum 
  • Red 72%: Bold - Yuck
  • Organic: Dirt - Yuck
  • Swiss: Vanilla Cream - Yum

Coming Soon:

I'm going to be introducing a new rating system starting next Thursday.  Each title will now feature a "star" rating from 1 to 5.  This way it will be easier to sort out the winners from the losers.  Courtesy of a suggestion from my dad.  See kids it pays to listen to your parents!

★     - Mayday, mayday.  Make this now or pay someone to do it if you are a baking hazard. 
    ☆  - Good stuff here.  Definitely worth a rebake. 
   ☆ ☆  - Your average crowd pleaser.  Most items will have this rating. 
  ☆ ☆ ☆ -  Problems abound whether with ease or taste.  Repartee will be abundant. 
★ ☆ ☆  ☆ -  The worst of the worst. I.E. Vegemite.  More wit. 

I will also be labeling each item with "1 Star" through "5 Star" key words so you can easily find what you need in my labels tab.  I also have a "Worth A Re-bake" label already in place that lists all my favs.


Word Count: 742.  Sooooo, report length.  Eh, are you really surprised?


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