Oh, Trader Joe’s. You are the only grocery store I have ever patronised that employs a bouncer at the door, and for this you will always have a strange (and amused) place in my heart.
Did I ever tell you that story, readers o’ mine? When I was gadding about with Laura in New York City last October, we tried to visit the Union Square Trader Joe’s only to be rebuffed by the bouncer at the door who pointed us to the end of the line that was already snaking down the block. Every few minutes, the bouncer would let a few more people trickle inside to begin their shopping.
I mean, well, really, Trader Joe’s. Even when I was in Vegas I didn’t have to line up for clubbing. I was escorted into the dazzlingness of the club like a VIP, past the waiting lines of hoi polloi, as soon as I (and my posse) were spotted by the club promoter.
But none of this is relevant to today’s chocolate.
Trader Joe’s Organic Stone Ground Salt & Pepper Dark Chocolate
Described as “a traditional Mexican-style chocolate, stone milled in small batches”, Trader Joe’s Organic Stone Ground Salt & Pepper Dark Chocolate looks to be a repackaged version of Taza chocolate. Stone milled, in this instance, means that the texture is very rough, with clear sugar crystals crunching like tiny little gems beneath the teeth.
There are only four ingredients in this Trader Joe’s chocolate: organic cocoa nibs, organic cane sugar, organic cracked black pepper, and kosher salt. The aroma was deeply cocoa-based with faint spice, toffee, and fruity lime notes.
With each bite came the (expected) shock of the crunchy texture, and then the (unexpected) shock of a flavour I didn’t see coming: margaritas. I don’t know how, but somehow the tanginess of the salt, the sweetness of the sugar crystals, and the fruitiness of the cacao combined into a zingy-lime-tropical-zest-slightly-peppery-plus-always-salty taste that reminded me of a margarita. Somehow. I don’t know. I might be crazy. I may not even know for sure what a margarita tastes like. I don’t know. I’m confused. I’m so confused. I think I liked this. But I’m so confused.
A bit like how I was confused about having to line up to enter a long-established grocery store in the middle of the day in New York.