May 17th: Trader Joe's Chocolate Covered...Coffee Beans / Sunflower Seeds / Edamame

A Chocolate Mission first!! Three in one here. Dedicated readers may recall that last month I was the recipetent of a HUGE box of Trader Joe's goodies from the US sent to me by one of my favourite and most kind readers Esther. Contained in this box were several plentiful 497g containers of different chocolate covered goodies of which myself and my family have been nibbling our way through for the last few weeks.

Having finished three of these containers this week it seemed relevant to write them up in the same review :) One thing that is worth noting with all Trader Joe's products is the ingredients they are made with... looking at the ingredients list for the all the chocolate in these items its all very pure. Simply cocoa mass, cocoa butter and a few other simple natrual ingredients...its no wonder the taste is generally so clean and natraul as it contains none of the chemichals or enhancers that all our day-to-day mass confectionary items contain - as you will see the quality of chocolate never fails to deliver.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans:

Kcal 170 Fat 8.0g Fat(sats) 5.0g Carbs 21.0g (per 40g)

Theres no two ways of putting this...these were tremendous!! Simplicity seemed to be the key to these - they were simply just coffee beans dipped in Trader Joe's Dark chocolate..but boy did it make for a fabulous mixture. Asthetically as you imagine they arent anything special just small dark coloured blobs...generally smaller than your average malteaser, but larger than M&Ms or smarties - they varied slightly in size due to the nature of the coffee beans.

Aromawise they were stunning...I dont think I have ever smelt a better aroma coming from any product whilst reviewing for Chocolate Mission. Upon opening the small container every time I was met with a glorious 'freshly brewed' coffee smell with just the slight hint of cocoa - heavenly.

Texturewise each bean combined a smooth but thick outside layer of chocolate with a crunchy coffee bean inside. My preffered method of eating them was letting the chocolate slowly melt on my tongue and then biting into the crisp coffee bean.

Tastewise these wernt a disappointment. The chocolate was sinfully luxurious - it had a dark cocoa rooted tartness of which the longer it stayed on the tastebuds transformed into a rich creamy slightly coffee noted flavour...I havent come across much better tasting chocolate. Beneath this delicious chocolate of course were the coffee beans which literally just exploded with flavour once bitten into. As you can imagine the coffee taste was very strong but luckily it was equally as good as the chocolate. Each bean had a fresh roasted flavour that although was very rich provided a sumptuous coffee hit like nothing i have tasted before.

Overall these are the perfect accompaniment with a morning cup of coffee - a hand full of these with a dark black freshbrew and theres simply no better way to start the day. Simply delicious and its score is only held back by its limitations in its appearance and hunger fufilment far as taste goes these are the best chocolate/coffee flavour combination I have had on Chocolate Mission.

8.5 out of 10

Trader Joe's Chocolate Sunflower Seed Drops:

Kcal 140 Fat 8.0g Fat(sats) 1.5g Carbs 14g (per 27g)

To be honest I always thought that Sunflower seeds were things that birds or people on weired faddy diets ate...this seeds thing was a whole new concept to me and I must admit to being partially wary of these before I ate them.

Looking up sunflower seeds on the internet it was brought to my attention that they do have health benefits in that they are a good source of vitamins E,B and fibre -interesting.

There was no doubting the uniqueness of the appearance of these seeds. As you can see above they came in a variety of crazy yet friendly colours which slightly put my apprehensiveness aside. From the tub they offered very little aroma which was slightly disappointing as this gave me no clue to what they would eventually taste like.

Texturewise these were suprisingly intricate. One small seed contained three layers - firstly a crisp layer of sugar coating, then a very thin layer of chocolate and then of course the seed. This layered effect gave each of the seeds a very crunchy texture - one that was really quite pleasant.

Tastewise the seeds had an initial sweet sugary flavour due to the cripsy sugar coating. Once bitten into the slighty nuttyness of the seed was released along with a very subtle chocolate flavour - the flavours wernt overly strong but incredibly moreish.

Overall these arent overly imposing interms of flavour - I guess if your looking for a healthier chocolate alternative these are a good option but in truth these simply wont cure an urge for chocolate or hunger. These are a nice unique product and if you need another source of fibre in your diet then you can go little wrong here. I would reccomend these as a nice middle ground for people that find chocolate covered fruit too sweet and chocolate covered nuts to calorific.

7.1 out of 10

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Edamame Soya Beans:

Kcal 200 Fat 11.0g Fat(sats) 6.0g Carbs 21.0g Protein 7.0g (per 40g)

These were another slightly new proposition for me. I must admit to already buying ino the whole 'Soya Bean' consumption trend already...sure soya bean salads, soya beans with pasta, in tomato soup....chocolate covered soya beans errrr no.

Now all the instances I have mentioned above have involved me having boiled/steamed soya beans; these were slightly different in that they had been roasted. Like the sunflower seeds im sure we are all aware there are associated health benefits with Edamame..(its even classed as a 'superfood' here in the UK!). Another quick look on the net suggests that these beans are a great source of protein and also have associated links with prevention of colon cancer. Now I know its rather naive to ever try and argue that chocolate is 100% good for us but by the looks of it these beans arent too far off providing a decent argument.

Appearancewise these looked exactly the same as the coffee beans - though on average slighlty bigger in size. Aromawise they offered little more than a slight cocoa smell - no sign of any other elements here which I guess was due to the roasted nature of the Edamame.

Texture and tastewise the chocolate had the same qualities as the above coffee beans. A thick viscosity that still had a pleasant melt in the mouth element with a creamy yet deep routed cocoa taste - delicious. The soya bean element was slightly unusual, due to their roasted nature. They had an initial crunchyness; though this transformed once through the initial outside layer as the inside of the bean was slightly soft and chalky. Unfortunately this wasnt the most benefical to the taste as it rather diluted the flavour of the chocolate. The edamame themselves were rather non descript in true flavour but had a slight salty taste with nutty soy notes which was really neither overly pleasant or unpleasant.

Despite their relatively weak flavour they did have a real hunger fufilment aspect - just handful proved to be more than adequete for a snack.

Overall these are another unique concept from the people at Trader Joe's. As far the marriage of health benefits and chocolate go im still relatively unconvinced - and wouldnt overly recommend these as your part of your diet plan to increase your protein intake. The chocolate element is glorious though suffers a little due to dumming down texture effect of the soya beans. For an on the go snack these would provide a nice alternative to diversify a persons usual repetoire. Though not the stongest in flavour they really do fill a gap and worth definately worth checking out if your in to the whole superfoods craze.

7.6 out of 10