Target Chocolate Taste-Test

Chocolate is my Waterloo. I could make serious life-choice mistakes while under the influence of chocolate. So when my local Target began to carry dark chocolate flavored with amazingly exotic flavors, I grew weak in the knees and strong on directional instincts. My car knows the way to Target all by itself. All I have to do is wave an empty Lindt wrapper under its nose and it’s off.

Target has a house brand called Choxie. It offers a variety of flavors in light and dark. Being a dark-aholic, I tried the dark Key lime flavor. I also purchased a Lindt dark bar flavored with Orange bits, a dark with chili peppers, and a Frey dark chocolate with lemon and pepper. I really like the flavors of peppers, although I am not a fan of spice so strong that my mouth hurts.

chocolate comparisonThe Choxie Key Lime had an interesting filling–bright taste, which might be limey. Had I not had the bright green package to remind me it was lime, I might have simply thought “sour,” or maybe “lemon.” But the greatest disappointment on this bar is that the chocolate doesn’t taste like dark chocolate. It tastes like white chocolate, which is to say, not like chocolate at all. I remember in the 70s someone told me that carob tasted just like chocolate and was much better for you. I bought a carob bar and thought I’d bitten into the wrapper. Nope, it was the carob, which, to paraphrase Douglas Adams, tastes completely not unlike wet cardboard.

If you are a white chocolate aficionado, my apologies, but white chocolate has less chocolate flavor than the skin tanning coco butter, which it resembles in taste, if not smell. Coco butter tan cream smells more like chocolate. There are a few white chocolate producers who substitute solidified vegetable oil for coco butter in their white chocolate. Makes it easier to work with. Which sums up my interest in white chocolate.

Back to Choxie. For the price, not so bad, if you are not deeply into chocolate. Unfortunately for Choxie, it’s got no Moxie. Not for me.

Lindt is a Swiss chocolate maker for whom I have deep respect. Their dark chocolate is deep, rich, and avoids the pitfalls of many of the darkest chocolates–sour, sharp aftertastes. Their intense Orange is just that–it tastes intensely and unmistakably of real orange–the slightly bitter pulp and the rich, sweet juice. The bar is thin and the orange bits a bit crunchy. At less than $2 a bar, this is worth driving to Target for.

Lindt also makes a dark chocolate with Chili peppers. So far, it’s a clear favorite. The peppers make their presence known as a warm heat on the tongue and palate, balanced by the intensity of dark chocolate. It is absolutely perfectly balanced. Even the picture on the wrapper is wonderful, with a pure red chili pepper against dark chocolate–exactly what to expect.

Frey (the bar tells you to pronounce it “fray”) is another Swiss chocolate maker. I purchased their Lemon/Black pepper bar. How could a pepper love like me resist? I was hoping for a tang of tart lemon, followed by the floral spice of good pepper. It didn’t happen. The dark chocolate was fine, no complaints, but the lemon was simply sour and I still haven’t found any evidence of pepper.

I’m willing to give Frey another chance with another flavor, but so far Lindt is the quality winner. Guess I’ll just have to head over and pick another couple of bars.

–Image: Choxie Key Lime bar and Lindt Intense Orange photograph by Quinn McDonald, who is loving the idea of reviewing chocolate. As she buys wine by the graphic design of the label, she may be better off as the chocolate critic. She also teaches writing, journaling, and is a certified creativity coach. (c) 2008 All rights reserved.