Update: I talked with another TJ's employee today. He said that the supplier did not back out. He told me that the supplier is switching production facilities and it's causing a hiccup in supply. So, looks like there's no need to panic/buy up.
I have used the pound plus bars of the 72% chocolate for dipping my candy. My prior experience was with peters chocolate, which I bought in 10 pound blocks. The avaibility, and smaller size of the trader joes chocolate inspired me to switch. I do like the finished product for taste and texture(good snap), but I am unhappy about the lack of a glossy appearance once the chocolate is completely set. I think this has to do with the tempered temperature. I am using the chocovision revolution2 , and have decreased the temperature after temper was reached, so from 88.9 to 88.1. I still think it may be too hot for the trader joes chocolate. Does anyone have any advise for me?
To heck with the 1.76 oz bars... I go straight for the 500g bars! In making truffles, I use half 72% and half 54% dark chocolate from Trader Joe's -- 4 oz each type of chocolate, 1 stick unsalted butter, egg yolks, 1/4 cup organic sugar, a good pinch of salt (very important), and assorted flavorings. Delicious, and very reasonable costs, thanks to Trader Joe's!
I recently ended my job at TJ's. An excellent company to work for, but I had a better offer. If anyone ever has any questions about TJ chocolate, let me know. The Terra Nostra tag is correct for the organic bars. People that don't have allergies don't notice, but there is no soy lecithin in the bars. Those bars are probably the best value (for chocolate) in the store. I can accurately tell you it is Terra Nostra, because every once and a while we got in boxes that had that logo (with the sun and name) printed on the bulk packaging. For anyone who is familiar with the "discontinued" statement that employees give you when you can't find what you're looking for - If you like something, buy lots of it and convince other to do the same. TJ's bases there products on the sales (for the most part). Case-in-point: The sorely missed Ocumare bars disapeared because most customers are [sadly] there for the discount rather than the quality.
On the flipside, if you want to be able to decode what product origins are (what company makes them), GOOD LUCK. Sometimes it will be obvious. Such as the TJ's Salt & and Pepper chips that are Kettle brand chips. If you have been a shopper for a while you will have noticed that the Kettle brand chips disappeared from the store and the TJ's equivalent magically appeared. Once a brand name product becomes popular, the TJ buyers will try to negotiate a deal so that they may control the price (usually a lower price) under their own label. Unfortunately, for the sleuths out there, TJ's sometimes asks that the manufacturer change something in the product (such as take out food coloring, trans fat, hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, etc.). This makes matching up the TJ's product with another brand name product difficult. Happy detective work.
I always have TJ's dark organic 73% bar handy, I call it my medicinal everyday chocolate. Their Fairtrade bar is just as good. I've also baked with them. The price is low compared to the value. I've had bars that are $6-$10 and I would put them is a blind taste test, and I bet they would do well. One of my favorites is Blanxart from Spain; it’s a very thick smooth tasting artisan bar with a hint of fruit, not sweet at all.