Trader Joes Pound Plus 72% Dark Chocolate bar is half a kilogram (1.6 ounces more than a pound) of yummy.
Here's an experience that may be new to you, if you've been accustomed to lesser chocolate bars:
▪ Open one end of the wrapper.
Now seriously, is that chocolate, or what?
Okay, if it didn't look big enough in the wrapper, how about this?
This huge bar is scored into forty individual pieces. Although sometimes breaking it up can be a challenge.
My biggest complaint is that even the chocolate between the pieces is so thick that they are difficult to break apart.
I have to slam the bar on the edge of my kitchen counter to break it. This results in pieces that usually follow the score marks, but not always.
And the wrapper always ended up shredded in this process. (Allowing those annoying tiny fragments to end up on the kitchen floor.) Until I started transferring the bar into a gallon ziplock first.
Sometimes I end up with pieces that didn't break evenly and are either half-size or nearly-double-size.
If you look closely at the picture below, you can see that the pieces did not all turn out exactly the same.
Just to clarify, I'm not saying this is gourmet chocolate. It is not. But for a good quality nothing-but-dark-chocolate bar that's a great value, this is my absolute favorite.
I love the ingredient list for Trader Joes Pound Plus bar. Just four items:
▪ Cocoa mass (the whole cocoa bean core (nib), ground up)
▪ Cocoa butter (the fatty part of the cocoa bean)
▪ Soy lecithin (makes the chocolate pourable enough to go into the mold)
The Nutrition Facts panel on the label defines a serving as 3 pieces totaling 200 calories. For myself, I prefer to define a serving as one piece totaling 67 calories. That way if I lose control and have three servings, I'm less likely to be mad at myself later! Yes, I know this sounds silly, but it does seem to help, at least for me. Okay, sometimes.
I paid $4.99 for this 17.6 ounce bar (May 2013). For comparison purposes, that's $4.54 per pound. That's about half the price per pound of a typical chocolate bar you might buy at a convenience store.
In general, I think the more you pay, the better quality you get. But I believe Trader Joes Pound Plus bar is an exception. Let's look at how that can be:
• As a merchant, when you sell more of something, you can charge less and still make more money. Because it costs little more to handle a large item in your store than a small item. And this bar is so big, it's like selling half a dozen or more regular chocolate bars. Ever wonder why discount warehouse clubs have six gizmos shrink-wrapped together and won't sell us just one? Same reason.
• And (probably a bigger factor) unlike chocolate bars with famous brand names, no one spent millions of dollars advertising this.
I'm giving Trader Joes Pound Plus (72% Dark Chocolate version) my personal score of 3.9 out of 5 stars for Overall Enjoyment, 4.4 for Nutrition, and 4.5 for Value. Keep in mind this is just my personal opinion. Your mileage may vary, and there's no accounting for taste.
p.s. - The last time I was at Trader Joe's, they had their Pound Plus bar in five versions:
• This one - 72% dark chocolate
• Dark Chocolate
• Milk Chocolate
• Milk Chocolate with Almonds
• Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds (54%)