Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar – Caramel with Black Sea Salt

May 2nd, 2012 by Rosa

This Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar comes with fun old-timey art on the front and a lengthy narrative on the back of the box. Ready?

“Exotic Hawaiian Black Sea Salt hails from the Pacific seawater that surrounds the Hawaiian islands. This stunning black salt is evaporated in above ground pools that form naturally from lava flows. Together, its smoky aroma and intense caramel complement this sophisticated dark chocolate experience.”

It seems like Trader Joe’s was trying to emulate a classier/more expensive chocolate bar with this one. The Vosges Black Salt Caramel Bar (black Hawaiian sea salt, burnt sugar caramel, 70% dark chocolate), perhaps?

It succeeded on emulating Vosges in one annoying sense: this bar was incredibly messy. I didn’t get a shot of the whole bar because it was all crushed and sticky and oozing when I unwrapped it.

The dark chocolate shell was segmented into squares, but it was so thin that it broke anywhere that it pleased, releasing its amber liquid caramel all over the place. It did, at least, have with a nice snap and crunch when chewed.

I thought the flavor of the 70% dark chocolate was a bit one-dimensional and muddy in its finish. The caramel was so intensely sweet that it was almost sour. Alas, I found it to have no burnt complexity, though the salty finish was quite nice.

When eaten altogether, the combination of sweet, sour, and salty was nice enough, but I found that it lacked oomph. It just felt flat.

Part of me wonders if it is just a rebranded version of the Vosges Black Salt Caramel. I’m 90% sure it’s not – the Trader Joe’s chocolate didn’t have a nice melt or duskiness – but I could just be falling prey to marketing and cost cues¬†of quality and enjoyableness.

At any rate, I’d give this an O. Nice try but something’s missing here.

This entry was posted onWednesday, May 2nd, 2012 at 8:00 am and is filed under caramel, chocolate, O, review, Trader Joe's. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 responses about “Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar – Caramel with Black Sea Salt”

  1. Victoria (District Chocoholic) said:

    I had the EXACT same beef with this bar. I couldn’t even evaluate the flavor because it had just made such a mess all over. Hmph.

  2. meredith said:

    urgh yeah i think more of the caramel filling from this bar oozed into my desk drawer than made it into my mouth. never again!

  3. Annmarie Kostyk said:

    It was super messy, but I really enjoyed it. The smoky flavor was very subtle which I liked. Barry Callebaut makes all of Trader Joe’s chocolate. Think it is way better than Vosges.

  4. Rodzilla said:

    you know how I know you’re an academic? :p

  5. Rosa said:

    @Rodzilla – I wear my nerdiness with pride! And it’s such a cool study!

  6. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Caramel with Sea Salt Bar 70% « roodonfood said:

    [...] was given a Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Caramel with Sea Salt Bar (3 oz) as a present. It was actually hyped up to me quite a bit from big fans of dark chocolate so [...]

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