Supermarket Sweets

Taste-test, Aisle 1.

Les Chocolats de Belgique: Trader Joe's 3 New Chocolate Bars

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[Photographs: Carrie Vasios]

I'm no stranger to Trader Joe's chocolate. Their 100 Calorie Dark Chocolate Bars are a personal favorite—the bars feel substantial, have a pleasant snap, and though the chocolate isn't exactly Valrhona, it's way better than Hershey's.

So when these three petite new bars showed up on the "What's New" shelf at my local TJ's, I knew I wanted to give them a try. The bar stuffed with Speculoos cookie spread immediately drew my attention—let's be honest, I'd try a turkey stuffed with Speculoos cookie spread, it's that good—but at a modest $1 a pop, I figured I could splurge on all three.

Dark Chocolate Filled With Chocolate Buttercream

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This bar seemed the least enticing up front. Lesser quality chocolate can have an odd, tongue-coating effect; one that would only be made worse when paired with bad quality buttercream frosting.

Though the buttercream is the slightest bit grainy, it is still fluffy enough to provide a pleasing textural contrast to the sturdy dark chocolate shell. Best of all, each section of the bar (there are six) tastes like a chocolate truffle. It's the perfect solution to my problem with Lindt Lindor Chocolate Truffles; namely that I can't justify eating six in one sitting. With TJ's little bar, I've already gone all in, and savoring six individually snapped squares feels pretty indulgent indeed.

Dark Chocolate Filled With Speculoos Cookie Spread

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In an ideal world, Trader Joe's would partner with Nutella to create a Nutella-filled candy bar that only cost one dollar. Unfortunately, Nutella is expensive and elusive; the golden fleece of supermarket collaborations. At least the product designers at Trader Joe's are on the right track.

Enter Speculoos cookie spread, an under-appreciated Belgian breakfast spread made from caramelized, spiced gingerbread cookies. Speculoos is absolutely delicious, and its spiced sweetness makes the perfect counterpoint to the slightly bitter dark chocolate. Best of all, the chocolate shell is pretty thin, meaning you get enough of what you really want (i.e. the spread).

Milk Chocolate Filled With Caramel

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Though it's no longer trendy, I'm still a fan of milk chocolate. This bar reminded me why: the sweet, creamy flavor of milk chocolate is comforting and pleasantly, plainly sweet. This bar is filled with caramel—one that stood out from its Milky Way cousin for having a deeper, toffee-like, flavor. In fact the caramel tasted just a few steps away from being burnt, which I liked, because it provided a contrast against the mellow milk chocolate.


Overall, Trader Joe's new Chocolats de Belgique won me over for their ingenuity and taste. These will definitely make it into my shopping bag again.

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