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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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Trader Joe's Organic Gingermints

It's pretty silly, the mental gymnastics and justifications that Sandy and I routinely do this time of year, and especially this year, when we're going without meats and sweets for a spell. It's part of that four-letter L word I pledged to not go on and on about. I think we've eaten more fake meat products in the past two or so weeks then we have eaten actual meat since the beginning of the year. It's close, at least. As for sweets...Sandy and I routinely have a "Is this or is this not a sweet?" conversation. Banana and oatmeal "cookies" made with just those two ingredients? Not a sweet. Fruit smoothie, made out of fruit? Not a sweet. Dunkin Donuts coffee? Probably, technically speaking, a sweet but uhhhh....nope. Chocolate milk? Yes.* Shamrock shake? Definitely, and sadly, yes. And on and on it goes.

Perhaps, just perhaps, Trader Joe's Organic Gingermints could be considered a sweet, as it is a hard candy and all. But for whatever reason, it hasn't crossed that artificial threshold we've determined. Not a sweet, and therefore, it's okay that we bought this for the buck or so it cost, and okay that I've more or less hoarded as a "Daddy's little helper" stash to get me through the work day.

It probably helps our justification that these gingermints aren't sweet (adjective) at all, really. Nor are they close to minty in a way I'd call anything minty. Nah, these fellas are pretty much straight-up gingery. They're moreso than the cookie butter (which we unwisely left a half jar-full in the pantry to taunt us) but much less than these candied bits o' napalm. It's ginger dore right, with a little bite but without the overkill. Looking over the ingredients, it was interesting to see maple syrup as an ingredient, because I don't taste it that much. If it's there, it's not too potent. Maybe it just helps keep the ginger in check. At least the tapioca doesn't do anything to screw up the flavor like it may have for these cheesesticks.

Since they're vegan, organic, and gluten-free, it's easy to chalk these up to being a crunchy-hippie cousin of an Altoid, because in all other aspects they're pretty similar. A brief skim over ingredients confirms these aren't made by the same company, though. The closest Altoid I can compare them to would be a cinnamon one, but a little less strong (at least in my memory), and of course more gingery than cinnamony. Whatevs. I like 'em. Sandy's neither overly impressed nor unimpressed, so she's going down the middle with a three. I see that and raise another spoon.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Gingermints: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons
* Sandy drank some about a week or so ago after a long training run for her half marathon. I'd call shenanigans on that, but she just ran about eight miles. Dang, girl!    


  1. Altoids makes a ginger "mint". Or at least they used to. I bought some about six years ago during my first pregnancy. They didn't help the nausea, in case you're wondering. :)

    I love your site! (And Trader Joe's, of course.)

  2. Yep, Altoids does make a ginger version, and they're delicious.

    1. Used to make. They've been discontinued.

  3. I thought these were fairly bland as they have a dissatisfying ginger flavor - I'd rather buy ginger chews from TJ's.

  4. I'm addicted to these. So yummy.