Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Lover’s Bar

Posted by in Chocolate Reviews on December 11 2009 | Leave A Comment
Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Lover's Bar

Trader Joe’s has a unique style with their quirky, half-funny cartoons on chalkboards throughout the stores and on their newsletters. I’ve grown fond of it all; this chocolate’s design is also in keeping with that style. Dark brown against bright green and orange with an off-beat font. It draws the eye in differently from most of the usually more formal 85%’s. The potential problems from a name like “Dark Chocolate Lover’s” never really have a chance to form; there’s no blurb on the back explaining why this bar is so great or why it’s only for the dedicated. It’s just there as a simple attention-grabber.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Lover's Bar

Inside the box are two 50 gram bars, individually clad in brown and lime green. It’s nice to see the design work carry through on the inside. I’m a little puzzled by the logo on the twelve squares, though. The best I can make out, it’s the initials “ChL” inside a circle. “Chocolate Lover’s,” maybe?

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Lover's Bar

It’s Columbian cacao we’re dealing with here, from the Tumaco Region. If there was only one word I could use to describe this bar, it would be “s’mores.” Chocolate and marshmallow are what it reminds me off. It hits that line where it isn’t sweet, it isn’t bitter. (At least not to me – there is a dry taste that gets close and may very well go over the edge for some palates.) The “smooth” description is an apt way of putting the balance it finds. It’s funny because it’s fudge-like while still a serious chocolate. You get a taste of both angles, which I’ll repeat is singular for such a high percentage.

Another chocolate that matches its packaging design well, the fun colors paired with the cacao vine. At $1.49 for the 100 gram total, it’s also a great deal for a chocolate fix.


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Comments On This Post

  1. Violette

    Alas, I don’t think they are carrying this any more (and after such a short time!) and I am heart-broken because I think this is one of the best–if not THE best–chocolate bar that TJ’s has ever carried.

  2. Yeappie

    Lately I could not find them in TJ’s around the SF Bay Area either. Am going to miss them terribly.

  3. NinaG

    I agree guys, definitely my favorite TJ’s chocolate, and one of the best among all chocolates imho. I really hope TJ is going to bring this yummy treat back.

  4. marc

    Nice Post. I see them featuring this in their latest circular, so maybe it will appear back in stock to the people who can’t find it. I eagerly await trying it out for myself since it’s a great price for what sounds like an interesting bar.

  5. James

    Yech. This chocolate bar was horrid. I can understand why they’d be taking it out of rotation, if that was the case. However, I just bought and consumed one of these last week so I don’t think they’re discontinuing it. Shame, really. I love dark chocolate; I am a dark chocolate lover. And this bar was *maybe* the only chocolate bar I’ve ever stopped eating half way through and thrown away. I agree with the review inasmuch as the bar I had wasn’t sweet or bitter. In fact, it was near flavorless. The experience of chewing it was like eating the tile flooring out of a doll house.

    • Rob't

      James, I respect your personal taste. However, I think you are overreacting to the fact that you didn’t find or appreciate the subtle tones of this chocolate. I’m not a fan of dark chocolate but this one got me precisely because of those delicate fruity subtleties, almost like perfume. Maybe you should try again, with no anticipation.

  6. Ann Ozan Willis

    Where can I purchase the 85% chocolate lovers bar in Oklahoma?

    I think the chocolate tastes wonderful & I like that it has fiber in it. I’m happy to say my husband didn’t like it, so I don’t have to share it with him.

  7. Letta

    This chocolate bar is not for everyone–it is true that the flavor is not as strong as some bars, but I would argue that this is because other chocolate bars counter a strong bitterness with a strong sweetness. The cocoa that went into this bar must not have been so bitter- as the packaging suggests, its just smooth and fruity. A remarkable feat for such a high percentage, to use such little sugar and achieve a bar which is not overwhelmingly bitter.
    The bar also does not leave that bitter taste in your mouth that even lower percentages often do.
    I would not recommend this bar to someone who does not seek out very dark chocolate, but I also do not think it is prohibitive to someone like me who enjoys milk chocolate and even white chocolate, too 🙂

  8. This could be my favorite chocolate ever! Has a very tangy, fruity flavor, and also does melt like butter! And very low sugar! And the price is just amazaing: $1.5 for 3.5 ounces! just an amazing bar! But the title is apt: my Mom, who hates dark chocolate, tried it and said it tastes like soap! -f

  9. Alex

    One of the greats imho, I think I prefer it to valrhona that Tj’s also carries. Smooth fruity and not overly bitter.

  10. Boris

    The best chocolate bar ever!! I cannot get enough if it!!

  11. Kurt

    I just picked up a bar two days ago in the NYC Union Square TJoes. It does have a marshmallowey taste. I also pick up a little maraschino cherry. Very tasty.

  12. Anne

    I absolutely LOVE this chocolate and I eat four squares everynight after dinner. I can’t get enough of it. It’s so tasty and I love the texture as well.
    I hope that it won’t be discontinued: it would be really bad news…

  13. Rob

    I’m eating a bar right now. I think its excellent for an 85%. I’ve tried a lot of different chocolate over the years (dark) and while this isn’t the best, its really good for a high percentage cocoa. My favorite snacking bar is probably Chocolove 77% bar.

  14. ScubAzz

    I was curious to read what others thought of this bar when I found your blog. I recently tried theDark Chocolate Lover’s bar and LOVE IT! I am happy to say it’s available as of June 2012, at least in the Phoenix area. It’s dark, smooth, and not too sweet. I normally buy Trader Joe’s 3-pack of Belgian 72% Dark, and will continue to stock that in our pantry, along with the Espresso Pillows. I have added the Dark Chocolate Lover’s bars to the regular rotation, but probably won’t leave them out in the open for the general population. Hubby prefers the 72%, but will eat this one in a pinch, while complaining that it’s too dark as he munches the last square. Time to find a better hiding place…

  15. eli

    I tried this last night and gave my kids 2 squares each as a reward – one had a reflexive response and spit it right out over the table; the other gave it more of a shot but then said he didn’t like it. My wife couldn’t eat it either. Anyway, my family of 4 were all shocked at how bitter and gross it was. I’m the only one that may give this a second go. It really just had no sweetness whatsoever. Kind of like the taste of very bitter black coffee.

  16. Ellies

    The Dark Chocolate Lover’s bar has the best ingredients – for your heart health: no milk fats, only cocoa butter, which is a vegetable oil. And a small amount of sugar, what is excellent too! The price $1.5 is fantastic.

  17. JimB

    If you’re not used to really dark chocolate, you need to work your way up. Start with 70%. More percentage chocolate means less percentage sugar. Most people will find this very bitter.

    I found this to be pretty outstanding. Sweet when compared to a Lindt 90. Described as “fruity” on the package, a note of dark cherry comes through before even taking a bite. For $1.50, I really enjoyed this – a couple of squares at a time.

  18. Martin Kubota

    Tasty product. I certainly ope this product can prevent heart disease. Plenty of info on the net that says Cocoa is great for heart health as well as other health issues.
    I need to buy a case. LOL

  19. Rob't

    Yes, I think we all coincide on this point. I’m not a dark chocolate lover; however, this one surprised me, and got me, precisely for those delicate, subtle fruity notes, so unusual, almost like perfume.
    And I don’t think it is or will be discontinued.

  20. Seb

    Just wanted to let y’all know, this chocolate bar is still out in the wild. I just bought it at HEB in Texas (Labeled HEB Select Ingredients 85% Dark Chocolate Bar). It has the same ChL logo printed on the squares, very similar packaging. It has that same smooth, not bitter, not sweet flavor. I think it’s good. I want to know who ChL is and how they’ve managed to produce this chocolate so consistently for all these years.

  21. Winston

    Still available in late 2022! I’ve loved this product for many years — up to half a bar a day — but recently got very sick from heavy metals and this bar is the main suspect. It turns out to contain more lead and cadmium than almost any other chocolate bar out there.

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