Trader Joe’s always has interesting items near their checkout lanes, little impulse buys that you might want to pop into your cart at the last minute. Most of these items tend to be chocolate, so I suspect that quite a few people end up picking something up on their way out. I’ve been eyeing the Trader Joe’s Organic Stone Ground Salt and Pepper Dark Chocolate, but held off on buying it for a few weeks until I came up with something to do with it.
The Salt and Pepper Dark Chocolate comes with two discs in each package. They’re Mexican-style, stone ground chocolates, which means that they have a more rustic texture to them and aren’t as smooth as other chocolates are. You can break them into chunks and eat them as-is, but Mexican style chocolates are often used for baking and for making hot chocolate. The chocolate here is rich and fruity, with a coarse and somewhat crumbly texture that melts into your mouth. You can really taste both the salt and pepper that are mixed into it, as they are generously included, though there is enough sweetness in the chocolate to still allow this to taste like a treat. Salt and pepper with chocolate may not sound like the best combination, but the pepper is more subtle than the salt flavor and just seems to make the chocolate a bit spicy and a lot more complex.
I would say that this particular chocolate is more for adults than kids, because it has a somewhat sophisticated flavor to it, but it sure is fun to experiment with. The discs make great hot chocolate, for instance. I used 1/2 of a disc to turn some coffee into a Salt and Pepper Mocha and a whole disc for a cup of indulgent hot chocolate. It also works well in brownies and could add a whole new layer of flavor to a batch of chocolate cupcakes or chocolate chip cookies.