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, September 15, 2016

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn

Labor Day is usually considered the cultural end to summer here in the US. School starts, summer schedules end, and most folks have taken whatever summer vacations they're going to take. The technical, astronomical end of summer is most definitely the autumnal equinox, this year falling on September 22. 

But personally, I consider fall officially underway when two things have happened: I've consumed a new pumpkin or pumpkin spice product from Trader Joe's, and the weather gets a little cooler. After a high of 92 degrees yesterday, yet a high of only 78 degrees today here in South Jersey, I'd say there's been a marked shift in air temps. That's not to say there won't be a few more warm days ahead, but for the most part, it's time to wear heavier clothing—both to keep warm, and to cover up the extra pounds I'll gain sampling most of the 60+ new and old seasonal pumpkin products arriving at TJ's.

As for our first new pumpkin product of the season? We're off to a pretty good start. 

Highly reminiscent in appearance and texture to June's Mango Coconut Caramel Corn, this is TJ's fall-themed follow-up to that summery treat. We enjoyed that previous product quite a bit, as did most of our readers. It's still crispy, crunchy caramel corn—not too waxy or stiff. But this version has a few tricks up its sleeve.

First, the taste is nice. The pumpkin spice flavor is there, but errs on the side of subtlety. It's sweet more than spicy, and slightly more caramel than pumpkin, I'd say. Pumpkin seeds add a nice nuttiness to the product and blend well with the salty aspects of the corn. 

The packaging alleges there are walnuts in this product, but neither Sonia nor I have seen much of them. I do think I've tasted hints of walnut from time to time. Maybe the walnuts are crushed into tiny bits and have simply eluded identification thus far. Or perhaps these reclusive nuts have congregated at the bottom of the bag. We'll let you know when we get there. (You won't have to wait long.) 

Rather than floating freely, the pumpkin seeds are "glued" to the corn pieces with sugar and caramel, so you don't need to worry about mixing seeds in with your mouthfuls of caramel corn in incorrect ratios. Trader Joe's has already measured them out for you, and they did a pretty good job of it in my estimation.

All in all, it's a well-balanced flavor. If anything, Sonia and I think it could use just a tad more pumpkin spice taste, but we won't complain about it as is. Double fours on this product, and happy fall to all of you.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

1 comment:

  1. In case any of you were wondering, YES, there were many walnut pieces at the bottom of the bag!