J. D. Gross Plain Chocolate

Posted by in Chocolate Reviews on March 15 2007 | Leave A Comment

J. D. Gross Chocolate

When is posh chocolate not posh? Does good quality chocolate have to be expensive? Do you really only get what you pay for?

As part of my unstinting quest for the best chocolate, I decided to visit… LIDL.

For those who are unaware, LIDL is a ‘pile it high, flog it cheap’, no frills supermarket chain which sells what can only be described as a bizarre assortment of goods. For example, last week we had a LIDL flyer advertising equestrian goods and accessories!

So what prompted me to consider this as a potential source of quality cocoa-based goodies? Well, LIDL import a lot of their goods from Germany, and Germany – being part of the European continent, and neighbour to France and Belgium, has a good choccy pedigree. This despite the fact that as a boy my Polish grandmother would give me bars of the worst tasting ‘ersatz’ chocolate ever created – stuff that doesn’t even deserve to be called chcocolate (and which probably had never seen a cocoa bean in it’s short and tragic life)

So in I went, on a mission to see:

  • if there was anything worth getting
  • if it was worth eating
  • would it be expensive?

Would I come home with something gloriously tasty, or would I find the Victoria Beckham of chocolate – posh in name only?

Well I can report that there’s an awful lot of confectionery to be had there, and most of it consisted of bags of garishly coloured sugar based stuff, the likes of which fuel the ASBO accumulating hyperactive offspring of council estates across the UK. There are also the usual Twix-alikes, Kinder bars, and Euro-copies of well known UK bars. Not very appealing at all.

However – nestling in among the nastiness, I espied a selection of tall packages embossed with gold writing. What appeared to be Ecuadorian single estate chocolate, 70% cocoa. Bingo!

A quick look at the blurb on the back told me that it was indeed Ecuadorian plantation chocolate, made from the Arriba bean, and that “The varying tropical climate together with a wealth of experience in the cultivating of this high class cocoa bean, gathered over generations, and not least the the excellent combining and perfecting of the best wholesome ingredients, are all factors which make up the secret hidden in the blissful depths of the fine J. D. Gross Plain Chocolate.”

Phew – a big enough mouthful in itself!

J. D. Gross Chocolate

So let’s get down to a hands-on analysis. The packaging is very high quality. Rather than a standard ‘box’ you get a ‘book’ type package with a front flap that opens to reveal a gold foil covered bar, which slips out to the left. The bar itself is a very good looking product. Large, thick squares embossed with the J. D. Gross name and crest.

The Sniff Test confirms the blurb – dark, rich coca smells with a slightly bitter edge. Yum!

The chocolate itself is, quite simply. delicious. As good as any I have tasted recently – and that includes the stuff wrapped round the Hotel Chocolat selection I was given at Xmas. (Admittedly, the HC fillings were what sets them aside from all other chocolates). There is no denying that this is the Good Stuff. Proper, cocoa rich dark, bittersweet loveliness – and all for under 90p.


My advice – hit your local LIDL as soon as possible. There are some real treasures in there, folks.


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Comments On This Post

  1. Under 90p? Does that mean that this was 89p?

    I’ve got a LIDL down the road from my nan’s house where I am at the moment (on my weekend break from Uni). I think I might pop down there and stock up on strange German chocolate. Not sure if I want to though, I just got a box of chocolate from Cybercandy that needs to be worked through.

    Oh, the life of a chocolate blogger isn’t easy, is it?

  2. Simon

    That’s why the refrigerator was invented.

    And dentists.

  3. I’m living in a University dorm mate. You put anything in the ‘community’ fridge and it’s gone before you know it.

  4. Merlin

    Can also recommend the kul-kul chocolate (78%) from Papua New Guinea, and the 77% San Martin choco from Peru.
    Same brand of course. Here, it’s 1.19 euros.

  5. Frank

    I’ve been eating high cocoa content chocolate for some years now. Following Simon’s post I too went to a recently opened branch of Lidl, and was amazed at the array of J D Gross chocolate products. The one that caught my eye was an 81% Cocoa 125g Arriba Superieur Ecuador(with cocoa nibs)£1.28.
    (nibs are cocoa bean bits) Which for the price, I would have paid a lot more, was one of the wildest dark chocolates I have come across. (a powdery very slightly gritty texture)
    The down side is that Lidl do not stock this product as a standard line, apparently Arriba Superieur is only sold on special occasions…like the opening of Lidl’s new branches….Ho Hum!!

    • Salidee

      I’m there with you Frank – Lidl in Littlehampton had a ‘special offer’ of the San Martin with cocoa nibs mmmmmmm this really does rival a £3-4 bar…why don’t they always do them??

  6. H C Page

    I love this chocolate, but there’s one thing troubles me about the Peru, Equador, Brazil etc. “plantation” chocolate. Are these plantations on land that was once Amazonian rainforest, cleared to plant cocoa trees? If so, I wouldn’t touch it, no matter how good it tastes.

    • Fernando Ruiz

      I love chocolates as well and the most important im ecuadorian so I can answer that at least in Ecuador the cacao plantations are in the coastal area, closer to the pacific ocean, and why we have good cocoa because those places were planted since a long time ago some more 100 years and continue with the tradition, so no ecuadorian cacao is not produced in the Amazonia.

      • Julieta Granados

        There is cacao in Amazonas is one of the most important activities native people does, all these land have been clear for oil not for the plantation. In fact cacao plantations, for the way the cacao grows are a relive for all the ecologic damage did it by the oil extraction and one of the very few options of a economic activity for the native. this link is for one of the products from the ecuatorian amazonia

  7. Ulli

    Here in Germany, we know some more outstanding dark chocolate products, produced by Rausch, labelled as J.D.Gross, sold by LIDL.
    My favorite is “75 % Trinidad”, three small stripes of chocolate – sold all the year at 1 Euro/125 grams. This choc is melting in the mouth softer as the described ECUADOR.
    As a seasonal product, last month, we got an ECUADOR 70 %, filled with nibs either of orange, caramel or raspberry. The orange chocolate is one of the best I have ever eaten. Unrivalled at a price of 1 Euro 20 or 30.

  8. Simon

    Oddly enough, I have the Trinidad selection here, teed up and ready to be published.

    Great minds – or great stomachs?

  9. Frank

    Thanks for the info Ulli. I have flagged Rausch and they are the J D Gross manufacturers. Apparently they are by coincidence in negotiations with someone in the UK for general distribution of their products.
    If they are not the manufacturers who are J D Gross?
    It’s Lidl brand name used presumably in an attempt to “own brand” and hide the source of a product…is this sneaky or what..with a name like J D Gross!! Anyway it looks as though Rausch products will be in UK general supply soon!

  10. I just bought a package of Lidl minis in Germany. My favorites are Trinidad and Madagaskar. They’re all quite good, but I made a more detailed review on my blog site http://talkalotachocolate.blogspot.com/
    Rausch has a great site in which you can buy their chocolates online too.

    Miss Charlotte

  11. beegeekuk

    I have been buying this stuff for quite some time now – discovered it over a year ago I think. the trinidad sticks are fantastic – i have recently picked ups some 81% mixed with chilli – it was fantastic but they have now sold out 🙁 anyone know where else sells this fantastic choc so i can pick up some more? – get to Lidl and pick up the selection packs they are currently doing btw – heaven.

  12. mk

    I’m French.
    i must say that I can never be wrong when I buy chocolate at lidl. It can be whatever kind of chocolate (dark, milk with almonds &/or nuts), you’ll get a great taste!
    In fact, I guess my favorite chocolate bars come from lidl

  13. Bolshoi

    In Norway the Lidl stores are much reviled. Their products they stock are supposed to be inferior to Norwegian products. Just goes to show that the Norwegians don’t know what they’re talking about. After spending a fortune on foreign chocolates (Norwegian chocolates are rubbish), I can’t tell you what a relief it was to a chocaholic like me to walk into a Lidl shop and find these wonderful chocolates. Deutschland über alles!

  14. Beth

    I bought a wonderful bar of dark chocolate in a minimarket in rural Norway. It had “nibs” of dried raspberry in it and was wonderful. I cannot remember the brand, and have been searching for it ever since. I think the shop was a Spar grocery, but I’m not sure. My Norwegian relatives have failed to track down any more of this wonderful chocolate. Perhaps it was some of this Rausch/Gross chocolate you are talking about? It was in a 200gm bar, similar to a Lindt chocolate bar. Any suggestions?

  15. Simon

    Well I had a 70% dark chocolate and raspberry bar from Marabou when I was in Sweden. The UK equivalent is made by Cote d’Or and is available in many UK supermarkets. Give that a go.

  16. Jennifer

    Can anyone tell me if it’s possible to get JD Gross items in the US – My friend brought some home from Germany for us – and now I’m addicted. I can’t find it anywhere. Is there a store online I can buy it from? I tried the Rausch site, but couldn’t see where I could actually purchase it. Please help.


  17. sewil

    extra bitter harika bi tadı war thanks j.d gross hayatmda yediim en süpper çikolata bu too tastes //turkey

  18. Ilkin

    I occasinaly bought 81% chilly one in the Lidl. I liked it so much so decided to google it and found this.
    It is really advisable to go and pick one. It is really unforgettable experince!

  19. Tomas

    Even in Slovakia customers dont see Lidl as “serious” store brand. So walking by Lidl one day I got idea to come in and look around what kind of junk food they sell. I was surprised with wide variety of good loking fresh vegetables and then I spot JD Gross products on the shelf. Reluctantly I took one with idea to taste a little bit and throw it to the waste bin. Wrong! Next day I was back and bought all types of chocolates of this brand( about 6 or 7)and since then they are my favourite ones.
    Unbelievably cheap- 1 Euro, very good quality and attractive packing,wide choice of tastes. Take it- it is worth to buy it.

  20. Benett

    Lidl is considered to be the worst market chains in the Czech republic. I agree, but I must say you can find there some outstanding goods like theese chocolates or Camambert cheese.

  21. Nev

    Ive been eating the J D Gross Lidl bought chocolate for a few month now, and as a serious chocolate addict ( I only ever like over 70% and single source chocolate when i can gt it) I can heartliy reccomend this to other real chocc fans, word of warning though buy in bulk when you find a favorite (Just NOT in my local lidl okay 🙂 ) because they only ever get a single box of each in at a time, single estate chocolate doesnt come in Nestle style bulk!!!!

  22. Gill Barker

    My hubby has been buying chocolate (and lots of other equally yummy things) at Lidl for some years. I can also recommend the Fin Carre 74% Edel Bitter Schokolade (dark chocolate). For those who prefer milk chocolate, their Fin Carre range in the purple paper sleeve is also good (particularly the fruit and nut).

  23. Harry

    I discovered JD Gross chocolate a few months back in Lidl. Currently I’m on the San Martin (Peru) bar, which is really very nice and possibly my favourite of the lot. I think it was about 1.20 GBP, but still pretty good value at that.

    The Ecuador is also great, and the 81% I found was fantastic for making hot chocolate (a bit too intense to be eaten neat, for my taste). I’m really quite impressed with the whole range and will definitely keep stocking up when I go back. Now I just need a horse to take advantage of the equestrian goods.

  24. sophie

    wow i love this brand, i moved to portugal from the uk with my mum and dad, im not really into chocolate but when i found this i had to have it, i watched a tv programe called willies wonky chocolate and ever since then was on the look for a high coca content bar and i also discovered this jd gross as i walked around the lidl my mum had draged me in!!! i got the 81% chilly and wen i ate it i found myself looking it up on the internet, sooo it must be good beause i now like chocolate and its good for you and the taste buds!!! go get someeee!!!

  25. yocheved grosfeld


    i loved this chocolate very very much
    where can i find this chocolate in Tel-Avia city.
    it can be an adress or a telephone number

    it is a pity that the stor dont put an stickeron the box


  26. Ruth

    I was recently in Spain and purchased Fin Carre 74% chocolate. I loved it but could not find it again.
    Now I am back in the US and looked for it online. The only thing I came up with is your blog. where is Lidl? Do you know where I can find it online?

  27. Margaret

    For the past few weeks I have been unable to find the 70% Ecuador at my local Lidl store,have they stopped selling it or where could I get it in bulk; it is the only chocolate I like

  28. Colin

    Last Saturday, I found the JD Gross Ecuador chocolate bars with bits of raspberry and orange in a UK Lidl. Both are good – far better in my view than the chilli and pepper they offered earlier in the year. They also had the plain Ecuador 70%, hiding behind the much less nice 46% Amazonas. The price is 99p these days.

  29. SueH

    I also am hooked on JD Gross chocolate from Lidl. A couple of months ago I went to Selfridges in London, Oxford Street, and to my amazement the had a counter selling JD Gross chocolates but much, much more expensive than in Lidl. So all you choc lovers enjoy your trip to Lidl!

  30. Vilma

    I love JD Gross chocolates…expecially dark(70-80%).but recently i bought Collection ‘superieur’ 200g for 2.49euro (in Ireland). it contains 8 types of chocolates and it is realy delicious.

  31. Asdrubal Santana

    hey im from Ecuador Vinces- Los Rios -Ecuador , i bought a JD gross chocolate, defenitily is delicious , but i got one quire , suggest however u wanna take it , but the map showing as a publicity in the front is from peru intead of being there the map of ecuador pointing the city or province which is called Los Rios and thus , ,if the history hasnt gone away from my mind Los Rios Province is called the cradle of the Cocoa you know the best cocoa in the world anyway , the only thing that is wrong in the chocolate bar is the map, keep an eye on that,,,should change it,….

    • Adam

      Just bought that today!

      I went to Hotel Chocolat and tried a selection of Dark chocolates ranging from 65% to 100% cocoa and this Tastes just as good!

      Think i’ll have to buy a few more bars and also try the 70% ones.

  32. some random

    mmmmmmmm, yummmy!!!

  33. Ashley

    i never usually shop in lidl or aldi, but went into a local lidl store, i was amazed with the selection of dark chocolate! i wasn’t expecting much in terms of quality but the one i liked the most was a J.D.Gross 78% with bits of fruit and ground cocoa beans in it, stunning chocolate! will definately buy again

  34. Mari-Liis

    These chocolates are my favourites! They have them in different variations, from very milky to very dark and my favourite is Madagaskar, 46% of cocoa.
    To tell you the truth, from the day I tried these chocolates, I never bought any other brand again!

  35. Sean Gibbs

    You can not fault the product, JD Gross chocolate it a very superior product. The Kul Kul 78% & Arrabia 81% are just fantastic it just shows how we are ripped off by those that say they know better? So just like Mari-Liis I have never bought any other chocolate since I discovered the LIDL factor 🙂

  36. monica

    este…ciocolata…doar ca difera ca si calitate. in tara mea nu am gasit ciocolata din asta…am primit de la rude…:) si am fost placut surprinsa de gust..

  37. Åsmund

    Here’s the place for orders, only in german version web pages:

  38. blues

    ….. I agree with the others .. nevertheless, I thing that there is hardly anything that can beat Arriba Superieur 81% Edelschocolade … a true connoisseur would never put in his mouth anything called (supposedly) chocolate that has bits of orange peel or raspeberry in int ….

  39. Lala

    Lidl is considered an “inferior” shop in Slovenia too, but right now I’m enjoying 75% Trinidad and there is NOTHING inferior about it. Mmmm… Dark, tasty, melts in mouth…

  40. Alba Marquez de la Plata

    I love the chocolates…. special Ecuador 70% Karamell superb! delicioso! I am from Ecuador.. Guayaquil… we do have good products…. congratulations! where do i get it in Arlington, Texas???

  41. Françoise OLIVIER

    The finest and the best chocolate I know and I know a lot of these !!!, all the specialities are interesting but my favorites are the darkest : Barlovento and Arriba superieur and the so nice Kul Kul

  42. Alex

    Make the following experiment: close your eyes, put some of JD Gross chocolat in your mouth and let it melt. What do you taste after 3 mins? NOTHING. This chocloat is absolutely tasteless. Make the same experiement with any other known brand and the difference will become very clear. I can’t believe this is a website about chocolat. Franchement, ca me fait bien rire.

    • Francesca Flore

      I beg to differ. I am hooked to it and my husband who’s an executive chef in a 5 star Westin agrees

    • ahahah

      Mais ferme donc ta bouche, Alex, tes papilles gustatives sont probablement grillées à force de te bourrer à la kronenbourg tiède.

  43. Brazilian

    @H C Page
    “Are these plantations on land that was once Amazonian rainforest, cleared to plant cocoa trees?”

    Cant say for the other countries but some of the biggest plantations of cocoa in Brazil are around the coast line, far from the amazon forest if this is your concern. Of course it is not 100% fail-proof and you might find, here and there, farms that will use pieces of forest.

    But I assume that you are European, and I would like to ask what is the problem for us to plant what we want, where we want? You guys dont even have any forest yet but somehow come to lecture us what we should do with ours. Talk is cheap. If you are so concerned you should pressure your government to do more to improve life in poorer countries like Brazil/India/China/etc.

  44. Kelly

    I am currently enjoying the Ecuador (Equateur) 70% with caramel bits; it’s my absolute favourite. The Ecuador 70% with raspberry bits is also great, but I prefer the contrast in texture you experience when slowly degusting the one with the caramel bits… Enjoy!

  45. Francoise

    Help ! Help ! I live in France south ovest cost (near La Rochelle) and in my Lidl, I don’t find my best choice : the kul-kul chocolate (78%) from Papua New Guinea !!! For me it’s the best,why they don’t have that one ? The manager said to me that they depend of Bordeaux and perhaps I can find it in Paris

    I don’t find also Barlovento 92% which is perfect to make a delicious cup of hot chocolate with milk…

    Can you help me, Thanks

  46. Blade Runner

    The San Martin 77% Cacoa (mit kakao nibs) is great !!

  47. Roger

    Just googled J D Gross to find out about their chocolates available from Lidl, and came across your website. Personally, I find the Ecuador 70% a little too bitter for my taste, but for me the Amazonas 60% (not 46% as Colin says) is absolutely perfect – neck and neck with Cote D’Or (seemingly available only from Waitrose now) in my view.

    Amazonas comes from the Tocache Province in Peru. If anyone has doubts about the Rainforest issue, keep an open mind and check out the Rainforest Alliance certification scheme on their website:
    and their blog about cocoa farming in south America:

  48. Françoise

    I just discover the chocolate with piece of caramel, it is marvellous !!

  49. D. Gabriel

    Shhh – as a chocolatier for one of the worlds leading brands I really must applaud Lidl on this exceptional product – Possibly could do with a tad more vanilla, but you would be hard pressed to find a chocolate bar of comparable flavour for under €17 – so as it is only €1.50 or so in most European states, if you are a bitter chocolate fan, just go get you some!!!

  50. Walter Calvert 2345

    My neighbourbt got back from a Med holiday. Brought me back a bar of J D Gross 60%. Never heard of him I thought. As good as any dark chocolate I can recall in my 80+ years. Tried searching and much to my surprise found all you young things with something to teach this old dog.

  51. Ali

    it is the best chocolate i ever eaten.

  52. The 60 percent Amazonas is probably the nicest chocolate I have ever had.

  53. Ravi Bakhshi

    After racking my brain for where I saw it on the net here it is!
    Antioxidant ORAC levels per 100 grams:
    dark chocolate – 13,120
    milk chocolate – 6,740
    prunes – 5,770
    raisins – 2,830
    blueberries – 2,400
    blackberries – 2036
    kale – 1,770
    strawberries – 1540
    spinach – 1260
    raspberries – 1220
    brussel sprouts – 980
    plums – 949
    alfalfa sprouts – 930
    broccoli – 890

  54. mike

    i just found this blog post and enjoyed reading thru all the chocolate comments^^ i buy this chocolate too at LIDL here on canary islands / spain. i hope i will also be able to buy the chocolate with beans and chili, that sounds interesting. since some people (americans) were asking about an online shop, they do have an english webshop and website now, its not perfect but i guess it works.

    its at http://www.rausch-schokolade.com/index.html

  55. I would love to know how to get this chocolate in Canada. I was recently in Portugal and discovered it at Lidl and it is the best chocolate I have had. I need to find it in Canada or online so it can be shipped.

  56. Areeba

    CAn anybody tell me plz is it halal or not?

  57. What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It absolutely useful and it has
    helped me out loads. I hope to give a contribution & assist different
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  58. Marlene cruz

    Amei este chocolate!!! Tudo de bom quem não provou esta perdendoooooooo

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  61. Tony edwards

    In the UK as well as Lidil 81% Gross dark chocolate,Aldi sell a similar chocolate though in my opinion not quite as good ,similar price. Sainsbury own brand preferable in taste though unless on special more costly unless on special,recently at £1 a bar.

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  63. Tanni the mysterious traveller


    Popped in to lidl with a pal who shops there on a regular basis. Not the most eyecatching of displays but that’s not the point of lidl…it’s there to provide a no drills service. Anyways I had a good look around and noticed the 81% and 90% JD Gross chocolate bars. Bought a few as I remember having some a couple of years ago at a pals party and never knew that lidl sold them.

    The Arriba 81% is absolutely yummy and I believe the entire range is suitable for veggies….brilliant and best value chocolate on market. Had some ‘posh stuff’ from another source and I can tell you that this Lidl brand can hold it’s own against some of the finest chocolates in the world.

    Well done Lidl

    Ps they had official World Cup t shirts on for a fiver, brilliant!

  64. Ria

    I love how the writer of this article feels they have to be disparaging about people who live on council estates as an aside to waffling on about chocolate. How very superior of them!

  65. Shez

    Just finished a jd gross dark chocolate chilli 56% , took me three weeks , awful

  66. caz

    Just consuming a block of JD Gross dark choc with raspberry now. It was cheap (in Lidl) and the quality is OK. The Lindt with raspberry I ate a few days ago was better, with real raspberry. The raspberry bits in this bar are chewy and presumably made from the citrus fibre, carrot concentrate, rice flour, palm oil, rice starch or glucose-fructose syrup that is listed among the ingredients for this chocolate. The choc I usually eat is made of sugar, cocoa solids and cocoa butter, with maybe a stabiliser, and I think this is the kind of choc I prefer.

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