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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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Jumbles

Appropriately enough, my thoughts regarding one of the newer TJ treats out there, Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Jumbles, are kinda...well...jumbled.

Follow along with me here, if I can be coherent enough. Imagine you purchased a pint of ice cream (say, vanilla-based) with milk chocolate swirls, pecans, caramel, toasted quinoa (more on that in a bit), and to really kick up the flavor, some sea salt all swirled in. Sounds delicious, right? You bet. Now, think if while digging thru your bowlful you happened to get a particularly thick, concentrated swirl in a rich vein where all the swirled-in flavors converged in one particularly tasty nugget of goodness. Taste jackpot? You bet. But that'd be like a once in a pintful experience, at most, and as good as it is, how many rich spoonfuls could you really muster and truly enjoy to the fullest? Isn't there something to be said for an unintentionally perfect surprise morsel that makes the other bites, the random thisses and thats that converge, that make that one bite even more enjoyable, that if it were to be repeated over and over again, somehow becomes less enjoyable? Talking like Law of Diminishing Returns-type stuff here, I guess. Make any sense? Sandy said I did, but she's also been hanging around me for over seven years now, God bless her, so either she's used to me or it's a coping mechanism.

Anyways, thanks for listening to me make a mumble grumble about these Jumbles. I don't mean it as a complaint, it's just something I thought about a lot while sampling a few of these the other night. They're just so rich, and so nicely balanced, without any variation from bite to bite, that it's almost like they try too hard to be perfect.

Although, I'll say it, they're not. While there is plenty of gritty crispiness from the quinoa (similar in taste to crisped rice but much different texture - gritty is best word I could come up with, it's not meant negatively), the pecans are indiscernible in the crunch or the the taste. I cannot honestly confirm or deny the existence of any nut in this product based solely on my taste test.

Other than that, the choco-jumbles are pretty tasty. Milk chocolate was the right choice here - although I generally prefer darker chocolate, it would have been too much. The caramel is rich and soft and creamy, and the quinoa adds just the right textural touch while serving  as a bit of an initial intriguing oddity - I'll 'fess up, it's one of the main reasons why I bought them. But quinoa + chocolate = YUMZ. And the seal salt on top? Listen, I'm not a salt snob, I can barely tell Morton's from gourmet, but pink Himalayan sea salt: 1) sounds exotic-y and 2) taste right at home on top these candies. Take me to the heights of tastiness, salt sherpa.

They do seem to quite quite rich after the second - a serving size is three and that took some convincing for me to have that many, and these are good enough that I know (my lack of) willpower is not the main issue. Goes back to that ice cream thing I talked about above. Anyways, they're worth a shot overall. Sandy and I both hover around a 3.5 and 4 for them, so we're gonna call it one of each.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Jumbles: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

2 comments:

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  2. It sounds like maybe you should sprinkle some on some ice cream! That being said, I'm the one who eats the swirls out of the ice cream first, so these might be perfect for me! I'm new to your blog so am in the archives - any idea if these are still available? They might prompt me to try quinoa for the first time!

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