Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Trader Joe’s Classic Chocolate Bars

Trader Joe's Classic Milk ChocolateTrader Joe’s usually markets house branded products that are a bit upscale. Their candies usually emulate something you’d find at Whole Foods or the imported bars you’d find at a gourmet shop. This is the first one I can recall that seeks to compete head-to-head with a mass-produced consumer product. In this case they’re going up against Hershey’s, the most popular plain chocolate bar in the United States.

Their new Trader Joe’s Classic Milk Chocolate Bar has some nice looking lines. The plastic/mylar packaging is a comforting shade of milky brown with silver swirls and the word CLASSIC emblazoned across two thirds of the face. It’s 1.55 ounces and retails for 69 cents ... that’s identical to the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar.

Trader Joe's Classic Milk Chocolate

While Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry any Hershey’s products, they do carry Scharffen Berger, which is owned by Artisan Confections, which is a subsidiary of Hershey’s. I find it a little odd that they’d make a product that’s supposed to be better than the Hershey Bar, but it’s nothing Hershey’s should feel threatened about since Trader Joe’s aren’t ubiquitous and never sell their products at other stores.

Here’s what the Fearless Flyer had to say:

Classic Chocolate Bars • 69¢ “Thanks to Joseph Fry, who discovered that he could make a moldable chocolate paste by adding melted cacao butter back into Dutch cocoa, the first Chocolate Bars were born in 1847. They were an instant classic. And the bar took a once-exclusive luxury and made it an accessible, much adored treat. As their name implies, our Classic Chocolate Bars hark back to their original roots. They are simple, luscious bars of Classic Milk or Dark Chocolate, molded into 12 easily breakable sections. And they are made with chocolate “real chocolate” without the use of artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Whether you prefer the creamy Milk Chocolate or the rich, smooth Dark Chocolate, these Bars bring on satisfied smiles. Especially at the great price of 69¢ per bar. Classic.

Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate

The bar looks pretty good. The sections are easy to break and it has a satisfying snap. It’s not as fudgy or bendy as the Hershey Bar tends to be, but the molding design isn’t quite as compelling.

It smells like sweet cocoa, not rich and not much of a dairy note at first. Biting into it, it’s soft and creamy but very sweet. There’s a nutty and caramel note to it with a light milk flavor. But the chocolate punch is missing for me. While Hershey’s doesn’t have much of a chocolate punch either, it does have a strong tangy, chocolate cheesecake flavor. This just tastes like Easter chocolate to me.

I bet this would make great S’mores and because it’s all natural and Gluten Free, there are a lot more options for who can eat it. I can’t see myself buying it again when they have so many other great chocolate options in the store.

Trader Joe's Classic Dark ChocolateIf Trader Joe’s is competing with the Hershey’s Special Dark Bar, it’s not much of a competition. I knew this was going to be better before I even opened the wrapper, I just can’t imagine Trader Joe’s seeking to duplicate a Special Dark. The Trader Joe’s Classic Dark Chocolate Bar has a similar wrapping to the Milk Chocolate version, the color is just a little darker and has pink text instead of citrus colors.

They missed the boat here with the ingredients. Though it’s marked as gluten free, like the milk bar it’s processed on equipment that handles wheat, peanuts and tree nuts - so this is not a solution for folks with allergies. But the substantial issue I have is that it has dairy in it. Way down on the list, after cocoa butter and before the soy lecithin there’s some butterfat. If that wasn’t there, this would be a dairy free and vegan bar. What an awesome achievement that would be.

Trader Joe's Classic Dark ChocolateThe back of the package says that it’s a 53% cocoa solid bar. So we’re not talking extra dark, we’re in the realm of sweet chocolate or perhaps semi-sweet. The bar isn’t as attractive as I’d hoped. Though the top looks pretty good, the bottom is swirly and has an inconsistent color. There are quite a few air bubbles. The snap is good, though softer than many dark chocolates I usually eat.

It smells like hot cocoa and marshmallows, the vanilla scent is strong. The snap is good, but a little bit softer.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate

The cocoa profile is hard to discern. It’s a bit fruity and has a touch of coffee. The finish is clean - it’s not bitter, chalky or dry. It melts well - though not entirely silky it has a satisfying mouthfeel. It has a much fattier melt, in fat there’s more fat in here than a Special Dark bar (14 grams of fat versus 12 grams in a Special Dark).

The package doesn’t say where the chocolate is made, though it doesn’t say that it’s Belgian or French, so I’m going to assume that it’s American. It’s Kosher. If I’m at Trader Joe’s though, I would still go for something else of theirs before this (usually the dark chocolate almonds) and probably these Belgian 3-bar stacks if they still had them.

If Trader Joe’s set out to make a better bar for less than 70 cents than Hershey’s, I’d say that they succeeded. They didn’t actually make one that I’d want, but I’m sure these will appeal to lots of folks.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s PB & J Bar
  2. Trader Joe’s Sweet Story
  3. Trader Joe’s French Truffles
  4. Trader Joe’s 100 Calorie Chocolate
  5. Nestle Milk Chocolate
  6. Hershey’s Miniatures
  7. Dove Chocolate


Name: Classic Milk 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: $.69
Size: 1.55 ounces
Calories per ounce: 155
Categories: All Natural, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States


Name: Classic Dark 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: $.69
Size: 1.55 ounces
Calories per ounce: 148
Categories: All Natural, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:04 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sChocolateKosher7-Worth ItUnited States

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