Wegmans supermarkets are located in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland. They are known for attractiveness, good quality, and appealing merchandising. I’m not a fan of all their products, especially, their “fancy” boxed chocolates—just reading the ingredients made me forego the pleasure—but, when it comes to chocolate, I’m always the optimist. They have four new bars: two milk and two dark. The milk didn’t call to me but I have two of the dark to tell you about.
Their Dark Chocolate with Almonds (61%) bar is really excellent. There are just the right amount of crunchy almond pieces and the chocolate, a blend of “mostly Madagascar Criollo” beans and god-knows-what-else is sublime. If you like your bars with mix-ins this would be a great one to try. I had to actively stop eating it, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. The price is more than fair: $2.50 each for three ounces.
In their magazine they say these bars have a more earthy, tannic flavor than their fruity, floral counterparts. I disagree. If you’re used to high quality dark chocolate you are getting far more intense earthiness than you’ll get here. I found them dark and mild. This is excellent chocolate for a supermarket, but it’s not Pralus, or Domori. If you keep your expectations in line with that caveat you’ll be happily surprised.
The 72% is a lovely nuanced bar with that unmistakably balanced Criollo flavor. I’ve spoken about Criollo before vis a vis Valrhona’s Palmira bars. This is not the same quality, but for $2.50 it’s certainly worth tasting. What’s different is the complexity. The Wegmans is far better than any other supermarket brand chocolate I have had, including Trader Joe’s. It’s probably unfair to compare it to Valrhona, but their Criollo bars are the apotheosis of that bean, as far as I’m concerned, and I thought it might be interesting. The idea that you can even get a mostly Criollo bar for such a modest price is noteworthy. If you happen to live near a Wegmans I would give these a try.