I agree Trader Joes chocolate is really very good for the low LOW prices it charges- how do they do it?? Must be the volume of sales---- they are not in very state yet, but they are VERY popular on the west coast....hope they come south to FL!!
I keep my chocolate review notes in a database, and so far I've tasted and rated over 175 bars. I give ratings in two categories: Class (such as 69 or less, 70-79, 80-80, 90-100 and various flavored) and Overall. I also developed a scale to give a number that shows what I call the "Value Index". It is a ratio of the Overall Rating to Price (multiplied by a factor to put it on a 1-100 scale.) The formula works pretty well and the factor seems pretty accurate to me. Well, with TJ 72%'s ridiculously low price yet relatively good taste it's Value Index is off the chart at 214! The next highest is Chocovic Ocumare 71% at 95 (also sold at Trader Joe's for a low price!).
Well, I really can't beat that price! Fifty cents for 1 & 2/3 ounces of chocolate? I don't think you can find real dark chocolate for that price (those big brands usually have added milk fats) anywhere else unless you buy a huge block.
I think it's a nice little treat to tuck in your bag and feel free to share. It's not quite as buttery smooth as I like (at TJs I'll opt for the Chocovic Ocumare or if I want "candy" I'll go for the organic Pecan & Raisin bar) but it's certainly a good dependable product.
we buy the large bars...i think they are about a pound and a half- whenever we are near a trader joe's...the extra dark and for eating daily they are not bad....it is not the quality i want to make eventually and sell- and i agree it is not as smooth as i usually like... but for the common everyday chocolate 'fix' it works for me! and the price is right for a low budget at like 3.99 a bar!
I love this couverture; very flavorful and competitively priced. Here's my beef: Trader Joe's won't release any information about their suppliers, so we don't know where it is from in Belgium (although the packaging used to say a chocolate company outside Brussels), don't know where the beans are from, fair trade status...nothing!! We want to know where our food is from, don't we?? Of course we do. The corporate spokespeople (I called them) won't speak, and they are not interested in outside promotion, and they don't have to tell us anything because they are a privately held company. But whoever is making this courverture (does anybody out there know??) is doing a fine job. The milk chocolate is tasty, too.
Trader Joe's does carry other fair trade and organic chocolates (and products in general) and they're pretty good about passing along that information.
With a little detective work with the list of ingredients I think someone could probably figure out who the Belgian chocolate bar company is (looking at the list of Belgian chocolate makers there aren't that many).
I do know who several of their other chocolate/confection suppliers are. (The organic pecan & raisin bars are made by Terra Nostra in Canada as are some of the fair trade truffles they offer around the holidays. I suspect that some of their other Irish specialty chocolate items are made by Lily O'Brien, but I haven't been able to confirm that.)
"Belgian Chocolate" is a tricky phrase which covers chocolate bon bons or pralines made in Belgium but not necessarily with courverture from Belgium (maybe they use French or Italian or Swiss). It also covers couverture made in Belgium. Google lists 371,000 entries for Belgian chocolate companies! The other thing is that Pound Plus, that very nice 72% brand, is the only one Trader Joe's sells iin bulk; all the fair trade & premium brands are small size. I just wish they would make public, as most companies do, some details about the production. But that's just me.
i am looking at the package on the pound plus bar right now and it says " pound plus chocolate bars are imported direct from belgium. they are made exclusively for trader joe's in a small town outside antwerp by confectionary artisans known for producing perhaps the finest chocolate in the world. "
Thanks for telling us about the Pound Plus bars! Previously I never looked at them assuming that they were low quality because of their large size. Lo and behold, what joy to find out that it's the same 72% bar!
So I now have a 72% Pound Plus and a Bittersweet with Almonds Pound Plus sitting right in front of me. 1000g (1Kg) of chocolate for $8!! I'm getting ready to gorge myself silly....
I love their 72% bar (17.6 oz) and use it to make ganache and as inclusions in many of the goodies I make. I also "snack" all day long on their milk chocolate bar as well. For the money, it is a very good chocolate.
no problem...enjoy! we are also hooked on their dark chocolate covered almonds with seasalt.....they are AWESOME and a must try - if you have not....we stock up on several tubs of them whenever we go....hmm...we are out of them now :-(- guess we are due for a trip!!!