Bring it on, 1994

My chocolate eating swung into high gear in 1994. As friends and family heard about my collection, I began to receive chocolate bars as gifts whenever anyone would travel. My roommate Larry found this German bar when he went home to Chicago for Christmas.

The chocolate was just OK, being kind of bland for a dark chocolate, but the wrapper was gorgeous! I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Dove bars

I bought this bar to eat on my flight home for Christmas in 1993.

I have no idea what all of the fuss over Dove chocolate is about. It’s really not that good. I mean, it’s dark chocolate so already it’s better than 99% of the milk chocolate out there, but it’s no better than the cheapest dark chocolate at Trader Joe’s, and it cannot hold a candle to the best imported stuff. Sometimes I am sad that good PR can trump good quality in the U.S.

Chocolate and espresso

Chocolate and coffee go together very well, as any mocha drinker will tell you. I like mocha’s, but I had no idea how much I would love dark chocolate covered espresso beans.

These were crunchy and great tasting, with a generous amount of dark chocolate to counter the astringency of the roasted espresso bean. I shared them with co-workers, and they were gone in one day. I went back to Trader Joe’s the next weekend and discovered they sold them in bar form too!

I ate many of these delicious bars.

Mint Chocolate

I like mint and chocolate together. I cannot pass a Girl Scout booth outside of a local grocery store without stopping to buy some Thin Mint cookies. They are just too good to pass up. So when I saw this bar at Trader Joe’s, I had to buy it.

This bar was OK. By that, I mean it was dark chocolate and it had mint crisps, so I enjoyed it. But there was something missing, some “umph” that was lacking that made it a great chocolate bar. In the end, that disappointed me.

Trader Joe’s

Over the years, I have purchased a lot of chocolate from Trader Joe’s. I used to buy ten pound blocks of Ghirardelli dark chocolate to bake with, making chocolate chunk cookies or chocolate mousse every night. When I was buying my third block in as many months, the cashier asked me if I was buying them as gifts. “No, they’re for me”, I replied. I think she blanched a little.

This was one of my favorite chocolate bars from TJ’s.

I love Belgian chocolate, and any chocolate with almonds gets an added bonus. So eating them together was a sure win in my book. My “Chocolate I Have Known” book, that is.