Saturday, July 20, 2013

Trader Joe's: PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar

Trader Joe's shoppers should know this, but let me reiterate. The quality of chocolate and candy products can vary greatly since the store likes to provide quality for decent prices. So sometimes you'll find decent items for low prices. And sometimes you'll find uppity products, disguised in Trader Joe's wrappers, for low prices--like the time they had undercover Pralus chocolate bars. Because some of their chocolates can in fact be made by well-respected brands but Trader Joe's doesn't tell you who made them, I can't always tell the quality of something until I try it. I didn't look too closely at the PB&J bar; even just as as a reversion back to childhood thing, it was worth picking up.

Although the use of raspberry jelly is, I imagine, designed to give it more of an adult feel, I don't care too much for raspberry. And since I can't remember ever having a regular peanut butter and jelly chocolate bar, I would have preferred the more basic strawberry jelly. It isn't, after all, as if the colorful wrapper of this bar markets itself as very serious. 

I'm getting to that point now where I still like the candies and sweets, but they have to be good to be worth it. If I'm eating sugar, I want it to taste good. It only took one bite to decide that, no, this bar wasn't worth it. The milk chocolate is alright, if a little slippery in texture. But the filling is more buttery than I wanted and much more peanut butter than jelly. Maybe I shouldn't complain about not tasting the raspberry more, but I felt that it needed more presence. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich has equal parts peanut butter and jelly. Here, the jelly is more prominent in some bites than others. As you can see from the picture, my first piece hardly had any jelly at all; it looked like the raspberry flavor must have just been mixed in with the peanut butter.

No, that isn't the case: other pieces do have a dark jelly sitting on top of the peanut butter. It tends to hang out in the middle of each piece. Sometimes you taste it quite strong; other times it's barely there. More consistency, please. And that's my problem: the details. While there are no added oils in the chocolate portion, the peanut butter has palm oil (I guess most peanut butters that most people buy do have oil added, though, don't they?) and the bar also has corn syrup. At least the raspberry flavor comes from raspberry juice concentrate and organic raspberry flavor instead of artificial flavorings. It might all be good enough for a casual candy bar, if that's what you're looking for when you go to pay at Trader Joe's. But for me and my more thoughtful approach, it isn't quite enough. 

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