throwback thursdays – tropical source chocolate chips

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omg, you guys, remember these? if you’ve been vegan a long long time, you probably even remember when they looked like this. so quirky! (i’m using links there because i don’t want to steal anyone’s pictures. sorry if that’s goofy.)

when i first went vegan, i wasn’t sure what the heck to do about chocolate chips. my lifelong g0-to had been hershey’s semi-sweet, and they don’t make a vegan option. boooo. i knew there were plenty of vegan chocolate options out there (and i made it my mission to try pretty much every single one, har har), but i wasn’t sure about chocolate chips, per se. growing up, my mom was serious about chocolate chips. i use to think of it as “fridge door chocolate” because we always, always had a bag in the fridge for chocolate emergencies. sometimes, you just need a little handful of chocolate chips, am i right? i carried this habit into my own adulthood, so i was in a mild panic when i wasn’t sure how to find vegan chocolate chips.

eventually, i learned about the tropical source chips, and i found them at my local hippie co-op grocery store. when i tried them, i was so excited — they were SO GOOD! i mean, the perfect amount of semi-sweetness and so creamy and perfect. just top notch, for real. my only mini-complaint was that they were sold in 10-ounce bags (most chocolate chips come in 12-ounce bags), so the first time i tried to make my veganized peanut butter bars, i was in for a little surprise when the chocolate layer didn’t go as far as i’d expected. whoops. lesson learned.

anyscoot, at some point the tropical source bags started to become more and more scarce, and then they disappeared entirely. vegans all over the country commiserated and hoped for the best, but apparently they were gone for good. boo!

i ended up switching to the ghirardelli semi-sweet chips, which were available much more widely (and usually at lower prices), so it wasn’t a total loss, but to be honest i always preferred the taste of the tropical source. there was this whole weird transition time toward the end there, where tropical source “improved” their formula (air quotes definitely there for a reason), but i won’t bother dredging all of that up right now… i was sad to see them go, regardless.

so anyhow, my staple is now the ghirardelli chips, BUT i just remembered this as i was writing… there are new-ish chips out there that erik bought for me once, which are made by sunspire (who bought tropical source eleventy years ago, around the time of the “improved” formula), and they tasted very reminiscent of the tropical source chips! they’re called chocolate dream and they look like this. i ate that entire bag as snacking chocolate, and i can’t believe i forgot about it until this very moment. i need to buy some more. i think i’ve basically become so used to the ghirardelli ones (and the typically lower prices) that now they’re my new habit. but i resolve to buy a bag of the chocolate dream on my next grocery trip to have another taste test. maybe we can all recapture the magic of the good old days.

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