Tahitian Vanilla Caramels - Trader Joe's
I absolutely loved the little bags of Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Mints. I've bought...I don't even know how many bags of them by this point. They are just so damn good! When I really like something I tend to stick with it and not stray, like my Bacon Turkey Bravo addiction at Panera, but sometimes sticking with what you know means you're missing out on something you could like even more. There are two other products available in these tiny portioned packets, so I figured I might as well give them a try to see if they are as equally addicting.
For me, this purple hued color doesn't pop as much as the Tiffany's blue-green bag that the mint candies use, but it has the same layout and yellow-labeling. It's nice, and the purple stands out in the check out lane, but it just doesn't pack the same "POW" as the teal-y mint bag. Other than the color swap, the bag design is the same, which is nicely laid out with crisp font choices. Not too shabby, I'm just picky about the color.
Inside the bag is a healthy portion of dark chocolate spheres with a glossy sheen. They are slightly smaller than a Whopper, but more perfectly shaped than a Milk Dud. Visually, they're really perfect looking and appealing, but they don't really smell like much. Must be because of the food-grade wax or whatever they used to make them look so shiny.
I bit the chocolate caramel in half to get a closer look and the chocolate coating is pretty thick, but it surprisingly doesn't overwhelm the subtle vanilla notes in the caramel. The outer shell is sweeter than I typically go for, and definitely sweeter than the dark chocolate used in the mints, but it's still enjoyable. After you get through the glossy coating it melts on your tongue mixing nicely with the soft chewy caramel which has hints of actual vanilla bean! Not just extract, or vanilla flavoring, but real legit vanilla! Part of me wants to call these "grown up Milk Duds" but that would be an insult to how good these caramels are. (Milk Duds are notorious for ripping out fillings and being stiff, while these are fresh, soft, and chewy without sticking to my teeth.)
Let me go on record here and say these are NOT as good as the Dark Chocolate Mints, but that's because of my personal tastes. I much prefer a tingly vanilla'd peppermint mixed with bitter dark chocolate to a sweet vanilla'd caramel, but that's just me. If you like your dark chocolate on the sweeter side of things, and you're a caramel lover, like my mom, or Cybele, you'll absolutely love these! (They did.)