Gingerbread on first bite, but there’s much more here. Second bite, read the ingredient label. This is a mini fruit cake without the bad reputation. It’s like eating a puzzle as you try to match the flavors in your mouth with the ingredients. Third bite, this cookie has history. It was created by 13th century monks in its present form. Where would foodies be without monks? Think about it. But before the monks the history goes back to the Roman legions. Where would men in short skirts be without the Legions? Maybe, don’t think about it.
Archive for the ‘Trader Joe’s’ Category
Can organic grapes make an inexpensive California wine good? On first opening, the cork had a fairly strong scent of vinegar reminding me of our first-generation next-door neighbor when I was growing up, who used to press his own grapes and make large barrels of wine in his backyard. He’d give my parents some bottles which generally turned to vinegar in a few weeks. But man, those few weeks were fun.
I doubt this one will turn to vinegar even if it has no sulfites added. And that, no added sulfites, is another reason I picked this up off the shelf. How many wines do you see with no, added sulfites?
Being a blend per the label, the wine is non-vintage and non-varietal (although a 2015 Trader Joe ad claims this is 100% Merlot). Umm, well, if we go with the label, that leaves out cutting and pasting from some Merlot review. But that’s another reason this wine reminds me of that backyard brew so many years ago. There’s no telling exactly what went into the bottle
What came out of the bottle is a fairly smooth mildly dry red table wine that’s very drinkable once you realize that red wines don’t really have to taste the same. This one will puzzle your taste buds into saying, what is that? When they give up trying to answer that question they’ll say, I like it. The only possible negative is a strange earthy taste that’s really not very objectionable once you get used to it. Maybe the taste is a bit of young tannins or maybe they do ferment in old wooden barrels? I don’t know if being organic had anything to do with it, but this inexpensive wine is good.
Growing up, we ate a lot of pasta with a thick red sauce that started as canned whole tomatoes and olive oil in tins, both from the old country, washed down with the backyard wine. This wine brings back pleasant memories. Price $5.99.
This is another fine wine from Italy at Trader Joe’s for a very reasonable price considering the quality. The wine is dry and totally smooth with an earthy mouth feel and enough bite/character to separate this from a lesser Chianti. This is possibly the most enjoyable wine I’ve had in 2016.
You may ask, what does the word Classico add to a Chianti? Chianti Classico specifically refers to an official area within the Chianti region of Italy. That specific area was also the first in what’s now the Chianti region to attempt to define and regulate its wine. Being the first to define the Chianti wine, and predating the official Italian regulations, the wine gets to wear the “classic” designation. Along with the geographical requirements, a Chianti Classico wine has a different set of production regulations which separate a Classico from the standard Chianti designation. After that it’s up to the skill and pride of the winemaker to produce a quality product. In this bottle, there is an overabundance of skill and pride producing a very very nice wine. Price $9.99.
I wonder if the jar was mislabeled? Except for on the label, what seems to be missing is the pineapple. There are plenty of references in the ingredients to pineapple. But if they’re in the jar, I missed them.
To be fair, wash away the red stuff and there really are pieces of pineapple in the salsa. Take a spoonful of the salsa by itself and there’s an interesting complex blend of flavors. On a chip, the complexities are muted.
Aside from expectations, this is a nice tasting mild salsa. If that’s what you’re looking for give this a try. But if you’re expecting a pineapple experience, move on.
Calories 15 per 2 tablespoons (30g) Price $1.99 -12 ounce jar (340g)
It’s Swiss, but it’s French. Hmm? Well it’s a Swiss-style cheese made in France. But saying that would probably get me thrown out of the country. Both countries!
Let’s just say that if the word Madrigal was misread as Magical, that would be a good description of this cheese. At $5.99 a pound this is a very good semi-hard cheese that actually tastes like a Swiss-style cheese, albeit a milder Swiss cheese. The only thing to be careful about is the thin wax covering that sort of blends in with the cheese and tends to stick between the teeth if measures aren’t taken to avoid it. Don’t ask me how I know.
The medium-dark brown fairly oily beans produce a nice aroma on opening the can. Once brewed, the coffee produces a strong taste which is mildly bitter on the tongue. As it cools, the coffee transitions to an earthy taste and the bitterness declines. The bitterness is a good bitterness, like a good beer has some bitterness to it. However as with many things, bitterness is an acquired taste. If you’re adverse to bitter tastes, this may not be a coffee for you. There’s some sense of acidity on the roof of the mouth and in the stomach.
This is a good coffee for people looking for a stronger tasting coffee without going over the edge. The coffee is labeled as both organic and fair trade. Price $7.99 (14 oz can)
This one is different. Read on.
There’s very little aroma when first uncorked. On first pour, the wine is ruby-red and much lighter than a typical red wine. The first sip reveals a mild semi-sweet fruity wine as the bottle claims. There’s nothing intricate in the taste and at the same time nothing bad in the taste.
This wine is all about your expectations. If you’re looking for something to savor and spend the night discussing the intricacies of Merlots and where this stands in that continuum, this wine is not for you. If you’re looking for something to have at home with dinner, or just want something to sip, relax with, and not have to in any way think about what’s in the glass, this will serve that purpose. With some mild red-sauced pasta, the wine worked well.
The key difference here, if you haven’t picked up on it, is the word semi-sweet. This is a style of wine not usually found on the shelves outside of Hungary where this wine is made. The sweetness of the wine is noticeable but not sickeningly sweet like some really horrible wines. This is a nice good quality wine with a different flavor profile. Price $5.99
A tale of two Goudas. Yes, this is not the way Charles Dickens started.
Here we compare two Gouda cheeses, not two cities. We’ll compare this cheese and the more mature (aged) Gouda cheese here.
But first, this is a nice mild soft cheese. It’s good by itself. I’ve also tried it melted with cheddar cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich and melted on onion soup. Both worked well. But if you’re looking for a stronger more mature cheese taste, this is not what you’ll want.
This cheese is soft, has little or no rind, is very mild in taste, has no crystals, is aged around 6 months, and has a red wax covering which helps tell its age. Our older Gouda has much more flavor, is semi-hard, has a noticeable rind, contains calcium lactate crystals, is aged probably twice or thrice as long, and has a black wax covering indicating a more aged cheese.
In a nutshell, the difference between the two is the taste and texture which changes the same cheese over months of controlled aging from a soft mild cheese (this cheese) to a harder tastier cheese (here). Oh, and, the older cheese is twice the price. That’s the story of a tale of two Goudas.
Price 5.99 per pound Calories 110 per ounce (28g)
This cheese has a creamy, but not soft, texture in the mouth. There’s a nice nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness. There’s some crystallization in the cheese which you can feel as the crystals come in contact with the teeth. That’s typical of an aged Gouda. This is a very good cheese.