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, January 14, 2016

SHOT O' JOE: Trader Joe's Oakwood Cold Smoked English Cheddar Cheese


So....how do you smoke a block of cheese so it doesn't melt? I mean, where's there's smoke, there's fire, right? I had no idea until Googling it, so if you're interested, here ya go.

We've had a somewhat spotty history with Trader Joe's Spotlight Cheeses of the Month. See Exhibit A and Exhibit B. But Trader Joe's Oakwood Cold Smoked English Cheddar Cheese is a winner. Unlike other English cheddars from TJ's I've had, this isn't of the cold and clammy variety. No, it's more of the traditional waxy/creamy hybrid of most other cheddars, and it's strong, too. It's not the sharpness itself that really sticks out - I'd say it's midrange at most - but the smoke. And it's definitely oak too...my dad smokes meats quite a bit, experimenting with different wood chips, so I can discern between oak and maple and cherry and whatnot. Very oaky, very smoky. It's almost a little too uniform, though, making me question a little if this cheese were truly smoked or just add smoke flavoring added - I'm giving TJ's the benefit of the doubt and saying the first.


Regardless, this is an excellent cheddar, and a good deal at $7.99 a pound. Pair with a pour of bourbon, some slices of pastrami or roast beef, make a killer mac 'n cheese - lotsa possibilities here. Go at it! Bonus points for the Flanders-esque "Oakely Doakely" on the label as well.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Oakwood Cold Smoked English Cheddar Cheese: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

5 comments:

  1. Wow that sounds like some great cheese. I will need to go get some. I think I might try it on a grilled cheese with plum tomatoes on sourdough bread.

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  2. Lol- sure thing. bring over some of those churros and some chocolate or caramel sauce for dessert.

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  3. This was very good a very strong smokiness which I liked. I put it in a Mac and cheese it was delicious :)

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