I am convinced the LTO product mastermind(s) at Trader Joe’s is Willy Wonka. That’s the only way I can explain the Chocolate Commendation Bar. Like Trader Joe’s current name variations, like Trader Giotto’s, I’m going to call these masterminds Trader Insane-But-Fan-Effing-Tastic’s.
Okay, maybe Wonka Joe’s has a better ring to it.
While most food companies are focused on smaller portions, Wonka Joe’s decided to flip the script for the holidays and make their existing one-pound bar over 300 percent larger. Why not 100 percent or 200 percent? Because Wonka Joe’s knows that in ‘MURICA, you go big or you go home. After all, “a little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”
At a solid 4 pounds 6.4 ounces, the Commendation Bar sounds more like something on a birth certificate, than a shelf. Apparently Wonka Joe’s considered naming this chocolate baby Super Size Chocolate Bars, Wicked Lahge Chocolate Bahs, or You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me With The Size of These Things Chocolate Bars, but ended up with Commendation Bar because it was worth celebrating. WTF? That’s like picking out names like Apple, Khaleesi, or Sparrow, but going with James.
Name nuances aside, here are my creds for tackling this four-pound beast: the one-pound chocolate bars are a staple on my shopping list. One time when I was purchasing said chocolate bar, the cashier asked if I was going to eat it all by myself. I looked at him indignantly, said “yes, of course,” and proceeded to go home to eat it all in one sitting. So, you can only imagine what the cashier was thinking this time with a four-pound chocolate bar. And, you can probably imagine that I thought I could tackle this bar in one sitting. Boy, was I wrong.
I picked the dark chocolate bar (61 percent cacao) over the milk chocolate (31 percent cacao) because I don’t like my chocolate too sweet. My typical one-pound bar of choice is the dark chocolate with almonds so I stayed in the dark chocolate family.
Opening the bar was like Christmas morning. The bar had 32 perfect rectangles with 11 vertical lines going through each, all wrapped up in silver foil. Given the amount of one-pound bars I consume, I consider myself pretty good at breaking off rows of chocolate but it took me forever to break off a single row on this one. I even smacked the bar on the floor a couple of times and it only dented the surface. A single rectangle was the size of my palm – at least this Commendation Bar is a really good value!
As indicated by the difficulty of breaking the chocolate, it was really hard to eat. I had to angle it sideways and bite like an Olympian biting a gold medal with their molars. Taste-wise, it was just like the one-pound dark chocolate bar – smooth with a perfect balance of bitter and sweet.
One rectangle down, 31 more rectangles to go. I began thinking that instead of a commendation, it was condemnation like the infamous chocolate fudge cake scene in the movie Maltida. I was Bruce Bogtrotter gnawing away at the chocolate bar with my molars. Trunchbull? My own gluttony.
Unlike Bruce, I couldn’t finish the entire bar. I shamefully only finished a single row or four rectangles. Yikes, at this rate, I’ll be eating this bar until next December. Overall, I am impressed that Wonka Joe’s nails quality and quantity.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 square – 330 calories, 200 calories from fat, 22 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 490 milligrams of Potassium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of dietary fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $14.99
Size: 70.5 oz. bar
Purchased at: Trader Joe’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Willy Wonka (aka Trader Joe’s LTO product mastermind(s)) had to have been behind this. Good value. Smooth with a perfect balance of bitter and sweet. Nails quality and quantity.
Cons: Really hard to break off – smacking the bar on the floor risks cracking your floors and not the bar itself. Secretly a condemnation bar if you try to eat the whole thing in one sitting.