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Trader Joe's

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Trader Joe’s Les Chocolats Belgique (Belgian Bars): Caramel, Chocolate Buttercream & Speculoos

Trader Joe's Belgian BarsFor the past few weeks running up to Valentine’s Day I’ve noticed quite a few ads for Cartier, especially in my New Yorker magazines. They feature three rings and extoll the virtues of this trinity: love, friendship and fidelity. Trader Joe’s has done something different with their new trinity, but I think they embody the same attributes.

There are three new petite bars at Trader Joe’s, sold under the banner of Les Chocolats de Belgique. They’re only a dollar each, so I figured why not try all of them. There’s the standard Milk Chocolate {filled with} Caramel, Dark Chocolate {filled with} Chocolate Buttercream and the most intriguing of the set, Dark Chocolate {filled with} Speculoos Cookie Spread. I’m going to go with Chocolate Buttercream representing love, Caramel represents fidelity and Speculoos represents friendship.

Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie BarI have to be honest, I had no idea what Speculoos was until about a year ago, and now it seems to be as trendy as bacon. In reality I actually knew Speculoos quite well. In the United States and Canada they’re known as Dutch Windmill Cookies. They’re just molded, rather thin, butter cookies that are not quite a shortbread, have more molasses or brown sugar in them and a touch of spices (usually cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger). The variety my grandmother always kept in a tin on her counter usually had sliced almonds in them and were less spicy than the German/Dutch varieties I’ve tried since. The cookies are common in Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands, especially before Christmas and the Epiphany.

Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Bar

Lately the confectionery trend has been to add crushed cookies to chocolate bars and now Trader Joe’s has a version that employs a spread made with Speculoos (think of it as a cookie version of Nutella).

All of the bars are the same format: a nicely molded long and thick filled chocolate bar. This one clocks in at 1.58 ounces (the others are 1.5 ounces) and a whopping 165 calories per ounce or 260 calories for the full bar.

Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Bar

The filling looks much lighter than the package, more like a light peanut butter than a chocolate spread. The filling is made from crushed cookies (so not gluten free) and some palm and coconut oils. It’s quite creamy with only a light grainy note to it of the cookies. The flavor is a lot like ground up shortbread with a light ginger and cinnamon spice note.

It’s comforting and pleasant, the texture is definitely fatty without feeling greasy. The chocolate is silky smooth with some light woodsy bitter notes that make the sweeter filling stand out. It’s a great change of pace for the price, but the calories make this one bar that I’m less likely to pick up.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Filled with Chocolate ButtercreamThe Dark Chocolate {filled with} Chocolate Buttercream bar is a little more traditional, but I must note that I was assuming that buttercream was going to be more ganache-like.

The buttercream center is actually made with something called “butter concentrate” and “milk concentrate.” If you’re dairy-adverse, steer clear of this bar. Even though it has lots of fat in it, it’s less calorie laden than the Speculoos bar, coming in at 230 calories for the 1.5 ounces or 153 calories per ounce.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Filled with Chocolate Buttercream

The dark chocolate is much more front and center on this bar. It’s silky smooth and melts well. The center is quite soft and reminds me a bit of the middle of a Lindt Lindor Truffle, but less watery tasting. The chocolate buttercream is not quite as intense as the shell but has an excellent full texture. There were a few sugar grains in it, but I didn’t mind (I find the graininess of some buttercream frostings to be a selling point).

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Filled with CaramelThe puzzling bar in the mix, and judging by how elections in this country go, the most popular is the Milk Chocolate {filled with} Caramel. (I don’t know why I have to keep putting those brackets in there, they were on the wrappers, so now they’re here.)

If you were to pick out one of the three based on calorie count, well, you’d probably opt for the Caramel bar because it’s only (only!) 220 calories and one more gram of sugar than the Speculoos bar. But many folks will like this because it features Belgian milk chocolate. So the concept is sound, but perhaps a little ordinary.

Trader Joe's Caramel Belgian Bar

The sugar is quite apparent. The milk chocolate is smooth and milky but so incredibly sweet that it’s hard to get any actual chocolate flavor from it because it seared my throat so badly. The caramel filling is wonderfully smooth as well and has a strong toffee flavor to it, it’s also salty and, well, sweet. It’s a tough bar for me to love. It’s certainly better than a Caramello, but it makes me realize that I don’t really like these sorts of bars much ... even when done well.

I’m more likely to buy these Belgian bars again than ever be interested in Cartier jewelry, but neither are quite to my style. The quality of ingredients is good and the price is excellent, but they’re just not for me. I’m hoping if they’re popular we’ll get some other variations.



Name: Dark Chocolate Filled with Speculoos Cookie Spread
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Laguna Woods)
Price: $1.00
Size: 1.58 ounces
Calories per ounce: 165
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, Cookie, 7-Worth It, Belgium


Name: Dark Chocolate Filled with Chocolate Buttercream
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Laguna Woods)
Price: $1.00
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Belgium


Name: Milk Chocolate Filled with Caramel
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Laguna Woods)
Price: $1.00
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 147
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Caramel, Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Belgium

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:00 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sCaramelChocolateCookie7-Worth ItBelgiumComments (7)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Covered Joe’s O’s

Milk Chocolate Covered Joe's OsTrader Joe’s has its own version of a lot of standard food items. One that’s quite popular are the Trader Joe’s Joe’s O’s Cereal. I’ve never had it. It’s probably been 20 years since I’ve eaten Cheerios as well. I’m not a breakfast cereal sort of person, I prefer eggs and other more savory and protein heavy items in the morning. But I’ll go for some chocolate covered breakfast cereal, so that that’s exactly what Trader Joe’s did, with their Milk Chocolate Covered Joe’s O’s.

They come in a tub, which is rather light at only 6 ounces as it has lots of the airy cereal in it.

Milk Chocolate Covered Joe's Os

They’re really shiny.

They smell like milky and a bit like sweet breakfast cereal.

Milk Chocolate Covered Joe's Os

The chocolate has a light glaze on it, so it doesn’t melt immediately, but I’m a cruncher so that didn’t bother me. The chocolate is sweet and does have a creamy texture once it starts to melt. The Joe’s O’s are a little malty and not too sweet or salty. It’s a good snack, but it didn’t quite rise to the level of candy for me, even though there was a enough fat in it to bring the calories per ounce up to 131 (more than a 3 Musketeers, not as much as straight chocolate).

I’m enthusiastic about trying everything covered in chocolate at least once, but this wasn’t quite it. I’d eat them if you put them in front of me, I certainly had no trouble finishing the tub. But looking back on it, I didn’t find it a notable experience. Maybe some Chex style cereal (especially one of the gluten free varieties) would work better. The ultimate cereal and chocolate is still chocolate covered Corn Flakes.

The Joe’s O’s use a confectioners glaze, so are not vegetarian. They may also contain traces of wheat, peanuts and tree nuts plus contain dairy and soy and GMO ingredients. There is no indication of the ethical sourcing of the chocolate or other ingredients on the package or Trader Joe’s website.

Related Candies

  1. Organic Moo Milk Chocolate with Crisped Rice & Corn Flakes
  2. Belgian Milk Chocolate Thins
  3. Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips
  4. Cracker Corn Choco
  5. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Crisps
  6. Q.Bel Crispy Wafer Bars
  7. Theobroma Chocolate y Maiz
  8. Wheat Chocolate
  9. Ritter Sport Assortment


Name: Milk Chocolate Covered Joe’s O’s
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silver Lake)
Price: $2.99
Size: 6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 131
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:06 am     CandyReviewTrader Joe'sChocolateCookieKosher7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (2)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter CupsI’ve been having a ridiculous time with these Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. They’re not new, I believe they’ve been around for a few years in the tubs. But for some reason the masterminds of impulse purchases at Trader Joe’s headquarters decided to change the packaging.

For the past two months these little 3.5 ounce bags of the peanut butter cups have been priced at 99 cents and featured in barrels by the registers in all the Trader Joe’s I’ve been in. It’s hard to resist the sub-buck price for something that’s such a good value. About half the price of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup per ounce.

Not only have I fallen prey, so has everyone else in my office. So once my little supply (I’ll buy two or three bags and put them in a jar on my desk) has dwindled, someone else will come by and plop another bag on my desk to replenish.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Inside the simple packet are eight miniature sized dark chocolate peanut butter cups in foil. Each weighs about 12 grams (.42 ounces) and has 60 calories. The ingredients are decent, no partially hydrogenated fats in there. But there are milk products (milk fat in the chocolate and lactose in the peanut butter filling) so it’s not vegan and no good for those with dairy sensitivities.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

The cups are classic, they come in little fluted paper cups and pull away easily from the candy. While some peanut butter cups will have leakage issues around the sides, the peanut butter was always completely enveloped in chocolate with every one I ate.

The chocolate is semi sweet (50% cacao), not terribly dark but still with a strong bitter note to it. It’s smooth and rather fatty, so it stands up well to the fats of the peanut butter center.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

The peanut butter center is rather sweet and a bit on the fudgy side. It’s smoother than most, but not silken or whipped. It’s sweet but nutty, the roasting gives the peanuts a bit of a bitter and woodsy note to them that stands up to the dark chocolate. The peanut density though is a little thin, it was more like I was eating a peanut butter frosting than actual peanut butter. There’s a hint of salt in there. They’re Kosher but may contain traces of tree nuts, eggs and wheat (so they’re not gluten free).

It’s a good iteration of the peanut butter cup, though not my favorite treatment for the peanut butter center. I can’t argue with the price or the portioning. I don’t know if I’m going to pick them up in the big tub, even though it’s probably a better price per ounce, but I’ve got to hand it to Trader Joe’s for their inspired stealth marketing on this one.

Related Candies

  1. The Joycup Co. Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Trader Joe’s Soft Peanut Brittle
  3. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels
  4. Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups
  5. Snickers Peanut Butter Squared
  6. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Powerberries
  7. Dark Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  8. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate


Name: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silver Lake)
Price: $.99
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, Kosher, Peanuts, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:44 am     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sChocolateKosherPeanuts8-TastyUnited StatesComments (0)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Trader Joe’s 2011 Holiday Candy

Did you notice the theme this week was all Trader Joe’s candy for the holidays? Here’s a roundup of what’s at Trader Joe’s this season.

New for 2011

:

Trader Joe's Classic Holiday Candy MixTrader Joe’s Classic Holiday Candy Mix - classic hard candy straws & pillows made with all natural ingredients. $1.99 (read review - 7 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Eggnog Almonds - $3.99 (read review - 9 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Minty Melts - it’s peppermint bark for people who don’t like the crushed candy canes in it - $4.99 (read review - 7 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Mosaic of Chocolates - squares of different kinds of bar - $3.99

Trader Joe’s English Toffee with Nuts (Tall Can) $7.99 (previously in a box like this? It’d call it a step above Almond Roca)

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Liqueur Cherries - the name says it all - $4.99

Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Coal - dark chocolate covered candy cane bits - $1.99

Trader Joe’s Merry Mingle - caramel with pecans and cranberries dipped in dark chocolate -$7.99 (read review - 8 out of 10)

Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel Caramels

Returning for 2011

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Minty MallowsTrader Joe’s Peppermint Bark $9.99 a tin - an great bargain for a very well made product.

Trader Joe’s Peanut Brittle - $2.99 - I haven’t tried this yet, mostly because Los Angeles tends to be very humid in the winter and brittles just don’t do well when they get sticky.

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Minty Mallows $2.99 (2010 review - they’re quite moist and dense 7 out of 10)

DSC04140rTrader Joe’s Chocolate Palette (a beautiful stack of single origin bars - they’re only okay, but a beautiful introduction to the idea of single origin at an excellent price) $9.99

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate After Dinner Mint Thins $2.99 (made in England)

Trader Joe’s Brandy Beans - these have been coming back on and off for years, they tend to sell out really early - $2.99

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels $4.99 (2007 review - more of a flowing caramel than the chewy style of the Fleur de Sel - 6 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Cocoa Truffles - inexcusable fat bombs - (Imported from France) $2.99 (see my review - I gave them a 3 out of 10, though I think the ingredients have changed a little bit, they’re still quite thin tasting yet stupidly fatty)

Rabitos RoyaleTrader Joe’s 9 Rabitos Royale $6.99 (2010 review - quite decadent and elegant but doesn’t use all real chocolate - 7 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Assorted Chocolates - I have no idea about these, the boxed items from Trader Joe’s are hit or miss with me, at this price I might stick to See’s - $9.99

Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramels (wood box) $6.99 (2006 review, still the same packaging. Classic, nicely done but a little pricey for boiled sugar. 7 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Old Fashioned Sweet Sticks - barber pole candy sticks in classic and new-agey flavors - $2.99

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate OrangeTrader Joe’s Milk Chocolate & Dark Chocolate Oranges $2.49 (Reviewed in 2009 as Florida Tropic Oranges. Good quality & price plus always charming package and dark is vegan 7 out of 10 & 8 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Rings with Sprinkle - they’re just little disks of dark chocolate with sprinkles, like giant SnoCaps - $1.99

Also returning are the chocolate covered Peppermint JoJos and a variety box of other chocolate covered flavors. Though I reviewed the JoeJoe’s before, I can’t really call them candy.

What have you picked up that you liked this year? What do you miss from years gone by? I miss the Trader Giotto’s Soft Almond Nougat and the Dark Chocolate Covered Gingersnaps.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:56 am     CandyNew Product AnnouncementTrader Joe'sHighlightShoppingComments (6)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Trader Joe’s Classic Holiday Candy Mix

Trader Joe's Classic Holiday Candy MixTrader Joe’s often does classic looking candies but with a “too hip for the room twist” on the flavors.

The Trader Joe’s Classic Holiday Candy Mix qualifies as classic solely in its looks. They’re cute little pillows and waffle pieces of hard candy but come in a curious array of flavors that are as much tropical as they are wintery. Pomegranate, Cherry Cream, Passion Fruit, Cranberry Orange and Lemon Ginger. The flavors are all natural and the colors are created with vegetable and fruit extracts.

The packaging is simple, the box is a little smaller than a box of raisins or prunes. Inside is a half pound of hard candy in a simple cellophane pouch.

Trader Joe's Classic Holiday Candy Mix

The pieces have that classic Holiday Mix look to them. Most are the standard pillow style of hard candy. The hard candy is briefly pulled (either by hand on a hook or by machine) to add air and a silky shine to it. That is then wrapped around a slightly aerated but not as attractive center. The the log is then rolled down into a rope which is then put into a cutter that gently squeezes the candy as it cuts it. Other pieces are rolled through a mold that give the waffle weave before they’re cut.

Trader Joe's Classic Holiday Candy Mix
(I’m reviewing the candies from right to left)

Cherry Cream is deep red with amber stripes. The cream flavor is a little artificial, like a butter flavor instead of a real creamy note. Kind of like a cream soda. The cherry flavor is good, like a black cherry but with a sort of burnt berry pie note to it. Sometimes I thought that it tasted like Dr. Pepper.

Cranberry Orange (orange and dark red) was easy to spot, as the pieces were mostly half orange and half red. The orange flavor was front and center, the cranberry was just a tartness in the background with a little strawberry floral note.

Trader Joe's Classic Holiday Candy Mix

Pomegranate (pink, white & deep red striped pillow) It’s enchanting to look at an a nicely rounded pomegranate flavor with a lot of raspberry notes.

Trader Joe's Classic Holiday Candy MixPassion Fruit (peach and yellow waffle)  is a lot like fruit punch. It was tart and has a light berry note to it along with sort of syrupy melon flavor and some deep honey perfumes.

Lemon Ginger (yellow and white) were the easiest to figure out. This one tasted a little sparkly. Most of the pieces were the flat waffle but there were a few short straw ones too. The lemon is quite zesty and the woodsy ginger has a very slight warmth to it.

The candies are made in Mexico. I believe this is the same facility that also makes the Trader Joe’s Old Fashioned Sweet Sticks and the Life Savers all natural knock-off Sweet Story (and probably also the Organic Lollipops which are also sold as Yummy Earth). They’re made with glucose syrup which is from wheat, so they may not be suitable for gluten-free folks. There’s no other statement about allergens such as nuts or dairy products. They’re made with cane sugar but no other animal products so it’s up to you if you think they’re vegan. Kosher.

It’s a good price for all natural hard candy. It’s not extraordinary candy and probably only suitable for someone who actually like hard candy. The charming homespun quality does present a beautiful tableau in a dish and would probably be great as a decorative element on a Gingerbread House.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Candy Coated Licorice
  2. Papabubble Amsterdam & Pillow Fight
  3. Brach’s Christmas Nougats
  4. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Mints
  5. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels
  6. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Crisps
  7. Regennas Clear Toys
  8. Ribbon Candy


Name: Classic Holiday Candy Mix
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silver Lake)
Price: $1.99
Size: 11 ounces
Calories per ounce: 106
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Christmas, Trader Joe's, Ginger, Hard Candy & Lollipops, Kosher, 7-Worth It, Mexico

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:55 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChristmasTrader Joe'sGingerHard Candy & LollipopsKosher7-Worth ItMexicoComments (4)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Trader Joe’s Eggnog Almonds

Trader Joe's Eggnog Flavored Almonds covered with Creamy White ChocolateBack around Halloween when Mars introduced their Candy Corn flavored White Chocolate M&Ms, I mused what it would be like if they made Egg Nog M&Ms.

Well, Trader Joe’s has gone over the top with their iteration of white chocolate with nutmeg with their Trader Joe’s Eggnog Flavored Almonds covered with Creamy White Chocolate

They’re sold in a very simple plastic tub that holds 11 ounces and sells for $3.99 ... about the same price as Almond M&Ms ... but they’re all natural (but have no candy shell, unless you count confectioners glaze as a shell).

Trader Joe's Eggnog Flavored Almonds covered with Creamy White Chocolate

Trader Joe’s starts with premium almonds. I’ve noticed that a lot of other almond candies (Almond M&Ms) use the smaller almonds about the size of peanuts, but these are big, fresh nonpareil almonds at the center. The coating is real white chocolate with oodles of nutmeg. The combination is convincingly like egg nog. It’s sweet but tempered with strong vanilla and earthy/balmy nutmeg. The almonds are crisp and keep the whole thing from being too sweet (like actual egg nog tends to be). The white chocolate has an excellent melt, not quite silky but quite creamy without being sticky.

I love them, but I fully understand that they’re not for everyone. If you don’t love nutmeg, you’re not going to like these. However, if you do, the combination with the almonds is stellar. I can only hope they’ll have these year round, but I know that they’ll disappear in a few weeks.

It’s all natural and there’s not even any food coloring in there. There is dairy, soy and almonds in the ingredients plus it’s made on shared equipment with wheat, tree nuts and peanuts.

Related Candies

  1. Amsterdam on Foot: Three Chocolate Shops
  2. Ghirardelli Holiday Squares
  3. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds
  4. See’s Pumpkin Spice & Root Beer Lollypops
  5. Naked Chocolate Maltballs
  6. Chuao ChocoPods
  7. Ethel Holiday Assortment


Name: Eggnog Flavored Almonds covered with Creamy White Chocolate
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silver Lake)
Price: $3.99
Size: 11 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Christmas, Trader Joe's, Kosher, Nuts, White Chocolate, 9-Yummy, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:39 am     All NaturalCandyReviewChristmasTrader Joe'sKosherNutsWhite Chocolate9-YummyUnited StatesComments (10)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Trader Joe’s A Very Merry Mingle

Trader Joe's Merry MingleTrader Joe’s a very Merry Mingle is new for 2011 at Trader Joe’s for the winter Holidays.

I was pleased to see that Trader Joe’s managed to give this candy a name, as so many of their other holiday treats end up with nothing more than a functional description of ingredients or assembly.

The Merry Mingle is described as Cranberries, pecans and caramel don their dark chocolate apparel, creating a heaping helping of holiday candy. The box is large, holding 11 ounces, so it’s a good portion, and should be for the price.

Trader Joe's Merry Mingle

The packaging is interesting, the box is sturdy and the graphics are clear and attractive. The inside is a little less posh: a plastic tray insert with four sections filled with four to five pieces each. While I may not have found the inside very nice to serve from, it did protect the pieces well, as they were all in very good condition when removed from the box. The chocolate was glossy and the pecans and cranberries were intact.

Trader Joe's Merry Mingle

The pieces varied rather widely in size. Some were as small as one and a half inches while others were a full two and a half inches in diameter. The construction is interesting. The nuts and cranberries are held together with a little bit of caramel then they’re partially dipped in dark chocolate. There are a few zags and dribbles of chocolate on top of the pieces as well.

The base is mostly caramel, and it does a good job of keeping everything together. The caramel flavors (salt, burnt sugar) are lost in the toasty maple flavors of the pecans and the tart cranberries. The textures are great though, the caramel is smooth and chewy without being sticky or flowing. The chocolate, as the bottom, hits the tongue first, so it makes a bold impression on me as being deep and dark. There are coffee notes and probably some others but they’re lost in the flavor riot of the turtle.

Everything tasted fresh, each element was distinct (though the caramel a little lost). It also felt lighter then a traditional fully enrobed turtle (which actually do clock in at about 20 more calories per ounce). I get the impression from readers that they don’t look so good in the photos, but I thought they were great. If you’re a fan of Trader Joe’s trail mix but would like it dressed up for company, this might do the trick.

It’s Kosher but with so many ingredients, there are a lot of potential allergens: soy, milk, pecans plus traces of wheat, eggs, peanuts and other tree nuts.

Related Candies

  1. DeMet’s Turtles: Pecan & Cashew
  2. Fannie May Pixie
  3. Robitaille’s Presidential Inaugural Mints & Turtles
  4. Nestle Cranberry Raisinets
  5. Christopher Elbow: No. 6 - Dark Rocks
  6. Sweet Earth Chocolate Cups
  7. Hotel Chocolat Crostini Fruit & Nut Slab


Name: A Very Merry Mingle
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silver Lake)
Price: $7.99
Size: 11 ounces
Calories per ounce: 127
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Christmas, Trader Joe's, Caramel, Chocolate, Kosher, Nuts, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:59 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChristmasTrader Joe'sCaramelChocolateKosherNuts8-TastyUnited StatesComments (8)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Trader Joe’s Minty Melts

Trader Joe's Minty MeltsTrader Joe’s always has a wide range of holiday candies with a balance of new and novel with classics.

Their new Trader Joe’s Minty Melts sound a bit on the classic side. Dark chocolate squares with a festive minty stripe.

The box holds 7.5 ounces and was $4.99. They’re Kosher and gluten free. There is no ethical statement about the origin of the chocolate.

Trader Joe's Minty Melts

The box is long (11.5 inches) but opens easily to serve. The inner box bottom is actually fully printed so you can pull it out and put it on the table or buffet if you don’t want to put them on a plate. The pieces are stacked, two high and two wide.

I was pleased with the ingredients, it’s real dark chocolate at the semi-sweet level of 56% cacao. The mint stripe is made of real white chocolate as well, with cocoa butter and real peppermint oil. There’s a touch of coconut oil in there, but it’s very low on the list, falling into the less than 2% area.

Trader Joe's Minty Melts

They’re almost perfect cubes, about 3/4 of an inch all around, though just a little shy on the height. The stripes aren’t equal. The base layer is thicker than the top and mint white chocolate middle. The appearance is a little rustic. They’re a bit scuffed on the edges and the sides aren’t always straight/square/plumb.

Trader Joe's Minty MeltsThe dark chocolate is rich and has a good cocoa flavor. There are little gritty moments every once in a while. The white chocolate center is a little dry and chalky feeling, just not quite a fully chocolate smoothness that I was hoping for. The flavor is very well balanced, milky sweet but not throat searing, with an appropriate touch of peppermint that doesn’t overwhelm the dark chocolate.

The texture doesn’t quite hit it for me, but perhaps that’s because I was hoping for something a little creamier. However, I like the fact that it’s a Peppermint Bark without the crushed peppermint candies. While that’s a nice candy, too, I wanted to taste the smooth textures together. The name Minty Melts led me to believe that these were meltaways, but they’re not, they’re a solid chocolate product. Nothing wrong with that ...

These are sure to go over well in social settings, just the right size portion for guests or for snacking.

Related Candies

  1. Peeps Peepsters (Milk & Dark Chocolate)
  2. Christmas Mint Round Up
  3. Trader Joe’s Mint Joe Joe’s versus Mint Oreos
  4. M&Ms Premiums
  5. Smooth n Melty
  6. Hershey’s Mint Truffle Kisses
  7. Trader Joe’s Peppermint Bark White Chocolate Bar


Name: Minty Melts
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silver Lake)
Price: $4.99
Size: 7.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 162
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Christmas, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, Kosher, Mints, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:37 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChristmasTrader Joe'sChocolateKosherMintsWhite Chocolate7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (6)

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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