Trader Joe's 72% Chocolate Bars...

jonny
@jonny
02/01/08 08:00:23PM
2 posts
Has anyone tried Trader Joe's 72% Chocolate Bars? They come three 1.67 oz bars for $1.50. Imported form Belgium. The chocolate is not bad!
updated by @jonny: 04/10/15 11:36:02AM
Chocoflyer
@chocoflyer
02/01/08 09:40:04PM
71 posts
I agree Trader Joes chocolate is really very good for the low LOW prices it charges- how do they do it?? Must be the volume of sales---- they are not in very state yet, but they are VERY popular on the west coast....hope they come south to FL!!
Sera
@sera
02/01/08 11:50:49PM
39 posts
Wish I could give them a try, sadly there's no TJs near me.
ChocoFiles
@chocofiles
04/21/08 06:54:02PM
251 posts
I keep my chocolate review notes in a database, and so far I've tasted and rated over 175 bars. I give ratings in two categories: Class (such as 69 or less, 70-79, 80-80, 90-100 and various flavored) and Overall. I also developed a scale to give a number that shows what I call the "Value Index". It is a ratio of the Overall Rating to Price (multiplied by a factor to put it on a 1-100 scale.) The formula works pretty well and the factor seems pretty accurate to me. Well, with TJ 72%'s ridiculously low price yet relatively good taste it's Value Index is off the chart at 214! The next highest is Chocovic Ocumare 71% at 95 (also sold at Trader Joe's for a low price!).
cybele
@cybele
04/21/08 10:36:43PM
37 posts
Well, I really can't beat that price! Fifty cents for 1 & 2/3 ounces of chocolate? I don't think you can find real dark chocolate for that price (those big brands usually have added milk fats) anywhere else unless you buy a huge block.I think it's a nice little treat to tuck in your bag and feel free to share. It's not quite as buttery smooth as I like (at TJs I'll opt for the Chocovic Ocumare or if I want "candy" I'll go for the organic Pecan & Raisin bar) but it's certainly a good dependable product.
donna3
@donna3
04/23/08 07:13:33PM
7 posts
we buy the large bars...i think they are about a pound and a half- whenever we are near a trader joe's...the extra dark and for eating daily they are not bad....it is not the quality i want to make eventually and sell- and i agree it is not as smooth as i usually like... but for the common everyday chocolate 'fix' it works for me! and the price is right for a low budget at like 3.99 a bar!
Susie Norris
@susie-norris
04/29/08 12:20:07PM
21 posts
I love this couverture; very flavorful and competitively priced. Here's my beef: Trader Joe's won't release any information about their suppliers, so we don't know where it is from in Belgium (although the packaging used to say a chocolate company outside Brussels), don't know where the beans are from, fair trade status...nothing!! We want to know where our food is from, don't we?? Of course we do. The corporate spokespeople (I called them) won't speak, and they are not interested in outside promotion, and they don't have to tell us anything because they are a privately held company. But whoever is making this courverture (does anybody out there know??) is doing a fine job. The milk chocolate is tasty, too.
cybele
@cybele
04/29/08 12:26:50PM
37 posts
Trader Joe's does carry other fair trade and organic chocolates (and products in general) and they're pretty good about passing along that information.With a little detective work with the list of ingredients I think someone could probably figure out who the Belgian chocolate bar company is (looking at the list of Belgian chocolate makers there aren't that many).I do know who several of their other chocolate/confection suppliers are. (The organic pecan & raisin bars are made by Terra Nostra in Canada as are some of the fair trade truffles they offer around the holidays. I suspect that some of their other Irish specialty chocolate items are made by Lily O'Brien, but I haven't been able to confirm that.)
Susie Norris
@susie-norris
04/29/08 06:07:18PM
21 posts
"Belgian Chocolate" is a tricky phrase which covers chocolate bon bons or pralines made in Belgium but not necessarily with courverture from Belgium (maybe they use French or Italian or Swiss). It also covers couverture made in Belgium. Google lists 371,000 entries for Belgian chocolate companies! The other thing is that Pound Plus, that very nice 72% brand, is the only one Trader Joe's sells iin bulk; all the fair trade & premium brands are small size. I just wish they would make public, as most companies do, some details about the production. But that's just me.
donna3
@donna3
04/29/08 06:31:54PM
7 posts
i am looking at the package on the pound plus bar right now and it says " pound plus chocolate bars are imported direct from belgium. they are made exclusively for trader joe's in a small town outside antwerp by confectionary artisans known for producing perhaps the finest chocolate in the world. "that's it!
cybele
@cybele
04/29/08 06:59:44PM
37 posts
"I just wish they would make public, as most companies do, some details about the production. But that's just me."Many companies have special deals with repackers and house brands that mean that they are not allowed to disclose that information. They're usually selling it to Trader Joe's at far below their regular retail, mostly because it's a guaranteed contract for a huge amount of product and is supposed to be repackaged in a way that does not detract from the exclusiveness of their regular brand.At one point TJs was carrying specialty sized Scharffen Berger for just that reason, so that people couldn't really do an apples to apples comparison. (I think that stopped when Hershey's bought SB.)The cheaper the chocolate though, the more likely it is to come from a bean to bar company, as too many middle men mean too much markup.Trader Joe's probably feels that it's far better for them to get the merchandise at low, low prices for their customers than the full disclosure of who is actually making the chocolate ... as I suspect that price is the first thing a consumer is looking at, not the origin of the product.The way that I've figured out some of Target & Trader Joe's suppliers is to keep an eye on the recall notices. You'll find that when someone gets their package of X bars recalled because of undelcared nuts, it'll be for their brand and then perhaps three other house brands. (Most recently this was how I found out that Veritas is doing some of Target's Choxie products.)
Sarah Hart
@sarah-hart
04/30/08 10:44:00AM
63 posts
I thought I heard somewhere that the TJ pound plus was Callebaut, though I can't say where or when or even why I think that. I could've just "decided" that myself long ago and then it became "Truth" in my head. Anyone able to verify?
Susie Norris
@susie-norris
04/30/08 11:26:05PM
21 posts
Good info, thanks!
ChocoFiles
@chocofiles
05/10/08 09:52:52AM
251 posts
Donna,Thanks for telling us about the Pound Plus bars! Previously I never looked at them assuming that they were low quality because of their large size. Lo and behold, what joy to find out that it's the same 72% bar!So I now have a 72% Pound Plus and a Bittersweet with Almonds Pound Plus sitting right in front of me. 1000g (1Kg) of chocolate for $8!! I'm getting ready to gorge myself silly....
Jim
@jim
05/18/08 07:20:27AM
3 posts
Hi Johnny I recently did a load of reviews on my site about Trader Joe's stuff. I live in the UK so its pretty hard for me to get hold of but luckily I have a nice friend in American who sent me a massive box full of the stuff. I must say the Chocolate covered coffee beans are to die for!!! Take a look at my reviews and let me know what you think. http://www.chocolatemission.net/2008/05/may-17th-trader-joes-chocolate.html
donna3
@donna3
05/18/08 10:28:30AM
7 posts
no problem...enjoy! we are also hooked on their dark chocolate covered almonds with seasalt.....they are AWESOME and a must try - if you have not....we stock up on several tubs of them whenever we go....hmm...we are out of them now :-(- guess we are due for a trip!!!
donna3
@donna3
05/18/08 10:33:23AM
7 posts
i forgot to add....they also have these dark chocolate pistachio toffee- type clusters that are REALLY good too...i thought they might be too sweet for our taste but we love them....they are very nice to serve with a good chai or black tea or really good coffee for guests...also addictive...can't remember the name of them but maybe pistachio crunch or something like that...if you look for them tho you will find them in the little clear plastic tubs-like the almonds....worth searching for!!
Andrea2
@andrea2
05/21/08 11:47:04AM
2 posts
They are very good quality. In an interesting summary and rating report by Consumer Reports earlier this year, the Trader Joe's product was rated 10th in this crowded sku of Dark Chocolate (just below Dagoba.) If anyone knows for sure who's co-packing the Trader Joe organic dark, I'd love to know. I'm thinking it's from Maramor who does some End. Species and other organic products (Newman's Own) but not sure if the chocolate comes from Blommer or Debelis. Don't think it's Barry Callebaut organic. (Which is the Dagoba bar.)Information appreciated !
cybele
@cybele
05/21/08 12:41:20PM
37 posts
The organic dark (at least some of it) is from Terra Nostra in Canada. But I'm not certain if they're bean to bar ...
ChocoFiles
@chocofiles
05/21/08 05:56:29PM
251 posts
On a tangent--Andrea said, "Don't think it's Barry Callebaut organic. (Which is the Dagoba bar.)"Andrea (and others who might know),I'm reviewing a Dagoba bar at the moment, so are you saying that Dagoba is a fondeur who uses Callebaut organic? I always like to know if a company is bean-to-bar or not.
Lorna
@lorna
05/28/08 05:36:39PM
15 posts
Yes, the purple ones are my standby grab packs. They have accompanied us on many picnics and been tossed in many backpacks. Plus, they imenseley impress anyone to whom I offer a chunk.
updated by @lorna: 09/12/15 12:09:52PM
Jane
@jane
08/31/08 05:02:54PM
3 posts
Not to bum anyone out, but at my local (N. Cal.) TJ's, the supply has been slim. When I asked this week, I was told the supplier is backing out--unhappy with price. Now, this is hearsay, but from a TJ's employee.I've been relying on the pound plus (and 10 pound bars in December) for my hobbyist/nonprofit projects and am thus very disappointed.Anyone have any further scoop?
donna3
@donna3
08/31/08 05:30:22PM
7 posts
OMG i will have to buy them out next trip....we don't even have a TJ here yet and we get them when we travel to long island...this would not be good!!!!
ChocoFiles
@chocofiles
08/31/08 08:28:44PM
251 posts
This would be a tragedy indeed. I've developed a "Value Index" that has the ratio of my Overall Rating to Price. It uses a factor to adjust it to a 1-100 scale and the 72% Pound Plus is off the chart at 197! Second place is the TJ Bittersweet with Almonds Pound Plus at 165.
Jane
@jane
09/02/08 07:34:03PM
3 posts
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.
donna3
@donna3
09/02/08 07:35:04PM
7 posts
YAY!! i wonder if the price will go up....thanks for letting us know...i can sleep tonight :-)
Jeannette Keefe
@jeannette-keefe
12/20/08 08:26:47AM
1 posts
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?
Kyre Adept
@kyre-adept
06/22/09 01:39:34PM
1 posts
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!
David A. Fromke
@david-a-fromke
07/01/09 12:48:30AM
1 posts
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.
jonny
@jonny
07/01/09 12:55:49AM
2 posts
Awesome! Great info.
Roxanne Browning
@roxanne-browning
07/08/09 03:58:21PM
12 posts
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; its a very thick smooth tasting artisan bar with a hint of fruit, not sweet at all.

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