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, June 27, 2011

Trader Joe's Pear Sauce

I've never had pear sauce before. I don't think I've ever even seen pear sauce before. Here's another chance for TJ's to set the bar for a previously non-existent commodity. And, if Trader Joe's Pear Sauce is successful, why stop there? Why not take a crack at peach sauce, banana sauce, papaya sauce, or blueberry sauce? I'm getting excited just thinking about the potential of the fruit sauce industry in coming years...

I found myself anticipating the taste of this product more than that of other TJ's products. Let's set up a logical analogy, shall we? The taste of an apple is to apple sauce as that of a pear is to pear sauce, or

apple : apple sauce :: pear : pear sauce.

Or so I thought.

As has been previously established by an older blog entry, I am indeed a pear fanatic. So I know the familiar flavors of Bartlett's, Anjou's, and Bosc's quite well. I thought I knew exactly what the sauce would taste like, however, I should have known that our good friend Trader Joe would have a trick or two up his sleeve as usual.

I certainly can't say the pear sauce didn't taste like pears, because it did. But, there was a thick, honey-like sweetness and consistency to it. Almost maple-syrupy. Now, I'm well aware that the pear is one of the sweetest fruits and that its juice is used to sweeten other 100% fruit beverages quite often, but I wasn't expecting such a blast of dessert-ish confection. It was actually a rather pleasant surprise, and the only thing I can think of to explain it is the presence of both pureed pears and pear juice concentrate. The texture of pears is barely detectable in the sauce, but it is there.

And another surprise was an unexpected, nearly-citrusy tang. As my wife put it, "This tastes a little tarty." I, of course, poked fun at her peculiar choice of words and asked her if she did, in fact, mean to imply that the sauce was late (tardy). Frustrated, she informed me that she meant to use the word "tarty, T-A-R-T-Y." Knowing full well she meant to use the word "tart," I looked up "tarty" in the dictionary and discovered that, according to Merriam-Webster, it means "resembling or suggestive of a prostitute, as in clothing or manner." Now that's some naughty pear sauce.

Along slightly more constructive lines, I also decided to look at the ingredients list on the pear sauce packaging to figure out where the aforementioned "tartiness" might have originated from. Lo and behold, they snuck some lemon juice and lime juice into the pear sauce to give it some tang. But no complaints from me. What could have been an overly sweet cup-o-natural-sugar type dessert was turned into an interesting combo of complex flavors and a good balance of complementary fruit juices.

Sonia isn't as big a fan of the pear as I am, and she gave this one a 4 out of 5. I've gotta say, although it wasn't quite what I expected, it was a pleasant surprise overall. I give it a 4.5, which happens to be the same score I gave to Trader Joe's Organic Apple Sauce with Cinnamon. Do I prefer the pear sauce over traditional apple sauce? Well, that's hard to say, but for right now at least, just because of the novelty factor, I would have to say yes.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

2 comments:

  1. I stumbled upon your blog looking for this pear sauce. My son fell in love with it and we bought the whole lot from the store shelf when we were in NY, but we live in a state which doesn't have a Trader Joes. How can I obtain this yummy treat in the absence of a store? Any thoughts on that?

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  2. I sometimes imagine this one was concocted late one night, after a mom or dad polished off the last of their baby's pureed pears. It's like that, only way more grown-up, and less embarrassing to eat.

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