By Amy L. Schubert Food Writer Published Sep 09, 2007 at 9:23 AM

Well, admittedly far too long after it opened, we finally made our first trip to Trader Joe’s this past weekend.  And I saw several items that we will definitely be back for, notably some of the wines and fun cheese (although these days it is nearly imperative to compare wine prices on the more popular varietals -- while some selections were a steal, there were several others priced at least a couple bucks higher than some of my closer-to-home options in Bay View).

Regardless, what caught my eye more than anything here was the plethora of items available that are coated in dark chocolate.  I guess I should not be surprised since M&M’s candy just rolled out the dark versions that melt in your mouth, not in your hand, but part of me still thinks back to the days when Grandpa Joe and I would happily pull all the Hershey’s Special Dark miniatures out of the Easter and Halloween candies because we were the only two in the family who enjoyed the bittersweet love that dark chocolate bestows.

But these days, it seems that everyone and everything is gaga for dark chocolate.  Have peoples’ tastes changed that dramatically over the last 30 years, or are we being now influenced by the red-wine-and-dark-chocolate heart healthy craze that has gained recent media attention?

Whatever it is, I saw fresh ginger covered in dark chocolate, pretzels coated in dark chocolate, oranges in DC, and just about everything else under the sun, including the lovely, and now coveted plastic cube of DC blanketed espresso beans that have me awake late, hopped up on caffeine writing this blog, but, oh, they are so delicious and well worth it. Now if they start making those edible coffee spoons in dark chocolate I’ll be in heaven (oh, and by the way, we found the French Roast coffee at Trader Joe’s a steal at $8.99 a pound).


Amy L. Schubert is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in every aspect of bar and restaurant operations. A graduate of Marquette University (B.A.-Writing Intensive English, 1997) and UW-Milwaukee (M.A.-Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing, 2001), Amy still occasionally moonlights as a guest bartender and she mixes a mean martini.

The restaurant business seems to be in Amy’s blood, and she prides herself in researching and experimenting with culinary combinations and cooking techniques in her own kitchen as well as in friends’ restaurants. Both she and her husband, Scott, are avid cooks and “wine heads,” and love to entertain friends, family and neighbors as frequently as possible.

Amy and Scott live with their boys, Alex and Nick, in Bay View, where they are all very active in the community. Amy finds great pleasure in sharing her knowledge and passions for food and writing in her contributions to