Part of me knows I have two months of US travel adventures still to write up, and that I’ll be kicking myself later if I don’t take the time, now, to record my memories before the details become more blurred than they already are.
But it’s summer in Toronto, and there is nothing I would rather be doing than going for long walks outside, catching up with friends, drinking iced coffee, lying on the grass by myself in the park by my house with the sun thrumming through me and the sounds of myriad other contented park devotees lulling me to sleep. I want to capture these long summer days in my hands and store them in my heart for the approaching heavy winter. I want to soak it all in, I want to breathe it in deep. That part of me is stronger.
I’m eating raw corn and summer squash and roasting new potatoes and salmon and buying doughnuts and red velvet cheesecake and I’m listening to podcasts because I miss the constant near-24/7 company of friends and I’m singing a wealth of Broadway musicals to myself as I wash the dishes and of course, of course, I’m still reviewing chocolate.
Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Coconut Caramel Bar
This Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Coconut Caramel Bar is not the first fancypants Trader Joe’s chocolate that I’ve reviewed, but it’s the first I bought for myself. (My brother gave me Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Caramel with Black Sea Salt and Trader Joe’s 70% Dark Chocolate Bar with Toffee, Walnuts and Pecans.)
As with the previous bars, the illustration on this chocolate’s packaging makes no sense. Unless, of course, someone can explain to me why “coconut” and “caramel” translates into “flamingo-fern hybrid” and “crab dancing with what looks like the Broadway poster of The Lion King”? (Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)
What does make sense, however, is that this 70% dark chocolate bar filled with gooey coconut-flavoured caramel and coconut shards had a rich chocolate aroma sadly tinged by suntan lotion, that demon created by fake coconut flavouring. But when I broke off a square, a thick glossy ribbon of caramel burst out, happily bringing with it a burnt butter caramel perfume.
Before taking a bite, my heart was conflicted. The dark chocolate and caramel both enticed, but the coconut made me nervous. Regardless, I soldiered on. (Speaking of soldiers, has anyone else watched Bomb Girls? I quite enjoyed it.)
My worry dissipated upon tasting Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Coconut Caramel Bar. Sure, the coconut tastes more like flavouring than genuine coconut, but it evokes Malibu Rum more than suntan lotion. Interestingly (and welcome…ly), there’s a generous lick of salt to this chocolate, too, which intensifies the caramel’s butter notes and the dark chocolate’s hot fudge sauce-like qualities. The tiny bits of coconut add textural interest, and you know what? Maybe the island image on the packaging does make sense after all, because the Malibu Rum notes remind me of a beach trip to Moruya with friends back in high school.
And here I am, ending this post with talk of memories, just like I started it.