Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Trader Joe's Heart of Darkness Mango Passion Fruit Blend

This beverage was apparently inspired by the Joseph Conrad novella by the same name. Weird to name a beverage after any literary work, let alone one so bleak as "Heart of Darkness." Though I'm a fan of the film adaptation, "Apocalypse Now," it still hardly makes me want to partake of a drink derived from such a dark work of fiction.

And if there were any doubts as to whether they were alluding to Joseph Conrad's story, the artwork on the bottle depicts a ferry boat in the middle of a wide river, surrounded by thick jungle on both sides.

Although the film version takes place in Southeast Asia, the original story is set in the Congo, and I guess the title of the drink is to make us think of deep African jungles which, I suppose, are where the best mangos and passionfruits come from.

So, with a mental picture of some safari dude plucking mangos from a tree in a dense, humid rainforest in my head, I proceeded to read the label only to find that apple juice and white grape juice were the main ingredients. Hmmm. The mental picture quickly evaporated, but I remembered the last Trader Joe's mango beverage we tried, and I thought that the apples and grapes might actually be welcome, familiar flavors - and I was right.

Unlike Trader Joe's Organic Mango Nectar, this juice blend is highly chuggable and refreshing, but it still tastes like mango. It's much thinner than the mango nectar. I think the apple and grape juices simply serve to sweeten the blend. Mango is definitely more potent than any of the other flavors in here, but not overwhelmingly so. To tell you the truth, I can never taste passionfruit in anything. I'm not even sure it really has that much flavor. I think it's a marketing ploy. People see "passionfruit," they think "passion." Sex sells... you see what I'm getting at.

Anyway, whether you think of it as a sexy summer treat or a bleak ride through the Congan jungle, I think you'll like it. It's a very nice balance of sweetness and real mango taste. Yum.

Sonia gives it a 4. Me too. Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

6 comments:

  1. I don't think I saw this at my trader joe's, but I gotta look for it next time. Again though, I thought the Mango Nectar juice was amazing.

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  2. I find it kind of disturbing, based on the fact that in the past few years scholars have come to the conclusion that "Heart of Darkness" was and is a very racist and prejudice literary work.

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    1. I certainly don't see a need to name a juice after such a text, but I wouldn't say it's racist- for its time most especially, Heart of Darkness' condemnation of violence against Africans and of the colonial system in general was fairly progressive.

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  3. Sometimes it's the simple things that put a big smile on my face and a cold glass of this stuff is one of them. As you say, it's "chuggable."

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  4. Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
    mango fruit drink

    Keep Posting:)

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  5. I can taste the passionfruit. Ever had passionfruit juice?

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