Monday, November 15, 2010

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla CaramelsA generous reader alerted me to the new Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels, which were easy to find near the checkout by The Man who does nearly all of our grocery shopping.

The little bite sized caramels come in a two ounce bag. I appreciate Trader Joe’s making more small single-serving packages available. The little tubs of candy are often a good value, but tough to portion. This one is a medium lavender and a simple design featuring a very accurate depiction of the candies on the front. The package describes them as Creamy vanilla caramels covered with premium dark chocolate. The ingredients appear to be all natural, though I never know quite what to think about “fractionated palm kernel oil” except that I’d probably like it better if it was spelled “butter.”

The ingredients also list two different kinds of vanilla, the advertised Tahitian Vanilla (Vanilla tahitensis) and Bourbon Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia). Both have different flavor profiles.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels

The pieces are about the size of a shelled hazelnut. The chocolate isn’t particularly dark, in fact when I was eating them during the photo shoot I thought they were milk chocolate because of the dairy flavors of the caramel.

The chocolate shell is nicely panned, thick and glossy with a snap upon biting. The caramel center is chewy and soft without being gooey. It has a good pull to it, which is the way I prefer my caramel, just slightly stiff. It’s a smooth chew, especially when combined with the creamy chocolate. The caramel has a lot of buttery notes to it along with a strong vanilla flavor, sometimes I even detected vanilla seeds in there. It’s a well rounded vanilla flavor, sometimes with extract notes (a bit alcoholic) and sometimes more on the raisin and banana side. The chocolate is very sweet but has an excellent slick melt.

Overall the texture combination is great and they look fantastic. The light salty hit and complex flavors aren’t quite enough to offset the overt sweetness of both the caramel and the chocolate. I found eating these slowly and with other items like nuts or pretzels was the way to go.

If you’ve ever hoped for a more decadent version of Milk Duds, these may be for you.

The package says no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. It’s also gluten free. May contain traces of peanuts or tree nuts (and of course has dairy and soy ingredients).

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Classic Chocolate Bars
  2. Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Malted Milk Eggs (Plus a Bonus)
  3. Trader Joe’s Sweet Story
  4. Trader Joe’s Lumpy Bumpy Bar
  5. Dove Caramels & Chocolate Covered Almonds
  6. Fran’s Gray Salt Caramels

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:43 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sCaramelChocolate7-Worth ItUnited States

Comments
  1. I love these! Did you try the mints?

    Comment by Michelle F on 11/15/10 at 7:46 pm #
  2. ok, once i heard about all 3 of your finds i had to try them for myself. i loved the brittle ones. but i really didn’t like the caramels and i’m a caramel freak. i found the chocolate coating was waaaay too thick. and the whole thing had this weird kind of sour/salty flavor that totally turned me off.  i threw the whole bag away in fact.

    the brittle ones were much better. the toffee was really good. again i felt the chocolate coating was way too thick but i liked them and ate all of them.  just my 2 cents!

    Comment by chefamyj on 11/22/10 at 8:28 am #
  3. These are fantastic. We did a blind chocolate tasting over the holiday weekend with friends and I was completely blown away these were from Trader Joe’s. They finished second place (only to a chocolate caramel from Michael Recchuiti).

    Comment by chocolatemaven on 11/29/10 at 9:54 am #
  4. Adore these…saw them at the checkout line and had to give in. Tahitian vanilla??!?! A total must have. So delicious and for under $2? Sold.

    Comment by Lily on 6/10/11 at 7:10 pm #
  5. If you haven’t tried it yet, stick them in the fridge first. The caramel gets thick, but not solid due to the cold. The extra melting time in your mouth gives the flavors a lot better chance to be appreciated.

    Comment by PM on 12/18/11 at 8:18 pm #
  6. These are w-a-a-y too sweet in my opinion.  Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered caramel squares in the clear plastic box are better, but have too high a caramel to chocolate ratio.  I am still looking for the perfect dark chocolate covered caramel.  (Jo’s is pretty good, though they are salted.)

    Comment by Susan C on 4/25/13 at 8:42 pm #

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