Sunday, January 24, 2010

Trader Joe's: Dark Chocolate w/ Raisins & Pecans

Trader Joe's -- this one being in Millburn, NJ -- is known more for their chocolate covered things than for their chocolate bars -- right? They cover virtually everything in chocolate, and it's all delicious: sunflower seeds, edamame, pretzels. But I thought their chocolate bars were worth a try, because they're really cheap and come in some interesting flavors.

Trader Joe's: Dark Chocolate w/ Raisins & Pecans
Cocoa content: 57%
Notable ingredients: raisins, pecans
Origin: n/a

We can probably all agree that Trader Joe's is a little bit hit or miss. The frozen Indian entree is sensational, but the naan is doughy and limp. The yogurt selection is expansive, but flour is out of stock -- etcetera, etcetera, you have to know how to shop there. I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I thought this bar might be covertly amazing, but I realized something when it proved not to be: cheap chocolate never turns out to be amazing. If a 3 ounce bar costs $8, comes in an exquisite wrapper, and prints a whole manifesto about how to consume and savor it on the back label, you can expect it to be good -- and still, sometimes it will disappoint. But really cheap, unpretentious chocolate never turns out to be anything so spectacular, as evidenced by bars from Tesco, Hershey, and the like.

In keeping with the rule outlined above, this bar was really average, and not at all exciting or surprising. The cocoa content lurked in that murky, unnecessary space between milk and dark, where the creaminess has vanished but the texture has no snap to speak of. The bite was thick and chewy, the flavor kind of dusty and dry, and the ingredients uninspired. In fact, I don't think I even really tasted any pecans. But the raisins, as always, made this bar into more of a trail mix experience.

I think I've learned to stick to the chocolate covered confections when it comes to Trader Joe's. This bar gets a C.

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