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?"

Search This Blog

Monday, October 7, 2013

Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie and Cocoa Swirl

This is Shandra. This is not an awesome (or even "passably good") picture, courtesy of my new cheapo cellphone, but Shandra, and in fact the whole Salt Lake City Trader Joe's, is pretty awesome. As is our habit when we're out of state, Sandy and I were strolling thru late Sunday night, hoping to see anything new or different from our Pittsburgh base, and just as we sidled up to the sample station for a little cherry cider, she came running across the store to her coworker manning the slab, jar of Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie and Cocoa Swirl in hand, positively shrieking "OHMIGAWWD THISISNEW OHMYGAWDD WEGOTTATRYTHISRIGHTNOW OHMYGAWDD!!!" She cracked it open right in front of us and said "You guys want to try?" It's like she knew who we were! Except, ummmm.... she didn't. Anyways, I'll skip some of the nittygritty play-by-play, but the jar she grabbed was the last one and since it was opened we couldn't buy it but she asked her manager, the very nice impressively bearded Greg, who personally climbed thru the truck that was in the middle of being unloaded just to procure us a jar that we could, in fact, purchase. It kinda helped that he had heard of us, but no matter, we appreciate it all! I, for one, also appreciated the two women who were wandering around the store in knee high socks and what I'll generously call a two piece bathing suit. "Poor girls, having to choose between food and clothes," Sandy said. You never know what you'll see or experience at Trader Joe's, I guess. It's all part of the fun.

So.....Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie & Cocoa Swirl. The very existence of such a product begs the question: "How much awesomeness can one jar contain?" Unfortunately, neither has the English language coined the proper words to describe nor has the technology been invented that can compute such things can adequately attempt to answer. It's.....just go. Right now. Go get your own. You'll see.  

For those of you still here, let me flail and fail at trying to describe. It's a perfectly unparalleled union of two of the greatest inventions the junk food industry has ever produced: the mega-nommerific speculoos spread and Nutella, of which I can sing its praises all day. It's almost liked I wished this munchie matrimony into existence, because I've spread both cookie butter and Nutella on the same piece of toast before, and had the thought in the back of my head, "wouldn't it be great if these were combined into one thing?" It's mostly because I'm too lazy to use and/or wash two knives. And by "Nutella", I mean legitimately the real deal, hazelnuts and all. If it's not actual Nutella in this product, then it's pretty much the most convincing knockoff/imitator ever this side of Frank Abagnale Jr. Except for the occasional crispie here or there, it's a smooth mix that perfectly straddles the balance between the gentle gingeriness of the speculoos and the dark, decadent tones of the cocoa portion. My goodness. It's....again, just go. Trust me.

It's tough to imagine a more perfect condimental match than these two tasty lovebirds mashed into one. I've previously posited a "chocolate gum theory" that states that two things that are good separately are not necessarily good when combined. That is far, so far away from being the case here. Maybe it's just my sweet tooth going into overdrive but man....this is just a perfect product. Sandy agrees. After one taste she knew exactly what her score was going to be, and I could tell it just from the look in her eyes. A perfect five from her, and you can count on a perfect five from me as well. I almost feel like I'm shortchanging it, but ten's the max and them's the rules. For something like three bucks for the jar, you simply cannot beat it.
  

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie & Cocoa Swirl: 10 of 10 Golden Spoons

25 comments:

  1. Best review ever :) And I cannot wait until my next road trip takes me to TJ's. I sure hope whatever store I land at has it!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Russ, it was a pleasure meeting you and your family...especially that cute little baby. I'm glad you enjoyed your newest TJ treasure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Greg! Nice store with great people. If we're ever in SLC again we'll stop by!

      Delete
    2. I'm anxiously waiting for a TJ's to open in Tampa, FL. This means I'm doing my homework in advance by reading your blog. You are a hoot! Thanks for all of your wit and hard work to write this blog :)

      Delete
  3. It's so funny that you mentioned going to TJ's when visiting another state. I recently went to CA and stopped by to see what's different from my NYC store. I thought I was the only crazy person but I am glad to know I have company!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Too bad they both contain PALM OIL :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://rawforbeauty.com/blog/say-no-to-palm-oil.html

      Delete
  5. Hey Nathan and Sonia. I in in Denver where, after a many year wait, we finally have some stores opening. If you're up for a laugh, check out this music video of mine entitled "I'm Camping Out at Trader Joe's." It even features Cookie Butter! Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZanPK09eneQ

    ReplyDelete
  6. I recently saw this when I lined up at one of the registers, and saw this product. It's a new product - so I had to grab 2 jars - one for my family in CA. And the other one to bring it as a gift for my sister who lives abroad. This product has creamy cookie butter, and the chocolate has a similar hazelnut choco spread of Nutella. It was a good combination. In my store, they have to hide it because they only have a few cases per day. So a crew member can call back how many do you want. If they ordered more by near October until December -- I'm sure TJ Speculoos lovers will buy it like hotcakes. This cost $3.99 per jar.

    ReplyDelete
  7. BLAST! How did I miss this when I was there last week? I love the reviews, they totally add to my love of TJs!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I gotta say, I tried this and prefer the "straight up" cookie butter (creamy or crunchy!). This swirl isn't bad, but the cocoa flavor totally dominates the speculoos goodness. It tastes more like a Nutella variation than a cookie butter delight. (Interestingly, I like this swirl better than the straight TJ Nutella clone though.)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like the plain, Crunchy Speculoos much better. The chocolate, and I'm a chocolate fiend and baker, gets in the way. This is not a 10 in my opinion, more like a 6 in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I get that. After writing the review I had a few bites where the ratio was a little off. Still, overall, pretty dang good imho.

      Delete
  10. I actually like just the plain crunchy cookie butter without chocolate.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think the swirl is phenomenal. I completely agree with your assessment, and think that the balance is perfect. I may or may not have described this as, "the best food ever invented in the history of the world."

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh Hades!!! I need this now. NOW. RIGHT MEOW!!!! I love smooth. I love crunchy. Now I need the swirl. All is right in this world.

    www.jaimelovesstuff.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was at the SLC TJ's just a few days later, and I did not see this product! I cant believe I didn't check your blog before going, so that I would have known to ask for it. But it makes me happy that you visited "my" Trader Joe's, I use your blog to guide my shopping experience, and now I will feel more connected to you when I am there. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, well, I *did* feel something a little extra in the air there. Must've been the start of our connection ;)

      Delete
  14. Ahh, picked some of this up the other day. So, so good!

    ReplyDelete
  15. First ingredient is canola oil, aka GMO. Has HFCS clone, "wheat syrup". WTF? This toxic sludge of chemicals, you can eat it, or you can jump off a cliff face first. Same difference. Except the 2nd death will spare you the Morgellons<----youtube that if you dare!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love the cookie butter by itself, but I did not like it combined with hazlenut spread. A 3 out of 10.

    ReplyDelete