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Taste test: chocolate chips

We found eight brands of semi-sweet chocolate chips on grocery store shelves.

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We found eight brands of semi-sweet chocolate chips on grocery store shelves.

When it comes to holiday baking, most of our judges say they reach for familiar ingredients mostly out of habit. Chocolate chips are a perfect example. I always grab the yellow bag because that's what I'm used to doing. But we wanted to see if the options really taste any different. We found eight brands of semi-sweet chocolate chips on grocery store shelves, and, after testing them all, I will be reaching for a different bag of chips when I start making cookies next week.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Publix 73Trader Joe's 72Ghirardelli 70
Judges'

comments
Although these chips were a little irregularly shaped, judges said they packed great flavor. "The top tips are droopy," said one panelist. "But the flavor is deeply chocolatey and the texture is very plush." Another liked the creamy texture and the hint of semi-sweetness in the taste. "This would make a great cookie!" The biggest fan of these chips on our panel called them "the Lexus of chips." He said, "These would be a contender to my old favorite Ghirardelli."One judge described these chocolate chips as "nice and squat, like Edward G. Robinson." He liked the smoky, roasted aftertaste of the chips, saying, "That's always a good indicator of a good chocolate." A couple judges didn't like the white bloom developing on some of these chips, but they enjoyed the pronounced chocolate flavor at the end. "The flavor has depth and richness that is not too sweet," said one judge. "The bitter edge on the finish is very welcome."Balanced flavor gave these chips an edge among our judges. "There's a good chocolate-to-sweetness ratio and the finish is pleasantly biting," said one judge. "These are not too assertive with the chocolate profile," another said. "However, they are a perfectly gentle chip." One panelists detected a slight, appetizing coffee taste in the chips.

Would

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.69 for a 12-ounce bag. $1.99 for a 12-ounce bag.$3.99 for a 12-ounce bag from

the Fresh Market.


Also Sampled: The Fresh Market ($2.99 for a 12-ounce bag, 51 points); Great Value ($1.98 for a 12-ounce bag from Walmart, 65 points);

Hershey's ($3.29 for a 12-ounce bag from Winn-Dixie, 47 points); Nestle Toll House ($2.58 for a 12-ounce bag from Walmart, 60 points);

and Plymouth Pantry ($1.86 for a 12-ounce bag from Walmart, 38 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director Studio@620; Janet Keeler, assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to mstark@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.

Serving size33 chips1 tablespoon32 chips
Calories808070
Fat/Fiber5g / 1g4g / 1g4.5g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium8g / 0mg8g / 0mg8g / 0mg
Carbs/Protein10g / 1g10g / 1g10g / 1g

Taste test: chocolate chips 12/05/16 [Last modified: Monday, December 5, 2016 10:51am]
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