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Friday, April 24, 2020

Trader Giotto's Glaze and Trader Joe's True Belgian Brussels Sprouts

Here's a fun, exciting review to leave you with over the weekend: Brussels sprouts. Hooray. Joy. Elation.

Honestly, I don't think I ever had Brussels sprouts as a kid. My parents loved to make me eat weird stuff that I didn't like, so I'm not sure how I avoided these salubrious spheroids of sustenance. I truly don't think I ever ate a Brussels sprout until just a few years ago. In that first instance, I had them with a balsamic glaze that absolutely blew me away. Also, they were cooked to perfection—slightly charred and crispy on the outside; warm, dense, and planty on the inside.

Sonia grew up with a French family as neighbors. When she'd visit their daughter Natalie to play, her mother would often provide snacks or meals, occasionally in the form of steamed, salted Brussels sprouts. While Natalie would happily pop the sprouts into her mouth like candy, Sonia, secretly disgusted by the greens, would choke down one or two and then slip away from the table under the guise of not being hungry.

Her view on sprouts has changed dramatically in adulthood. She now loves them when prepared correctly and served with the right condiments.

Since these True Belgian Brussels Sprouts came frozen, we might not have left them in the oven quite long enough. They weren't raw or cold on the inside, but they might have benefited from another 10 minutes or so in the heat. I like my veggies well-done.

Still, the glaze made them pretty tasty, at least on the outside. Trader Giotto's Glaze is moderately sweet and has a fermented essence from the "grape must." It's not unlike a port wine, but a bit thicker in texture. It's less vinegary than a typical balsamic dressing, but there's still a hint of vinegar underneath the grapey goodness.

We found that the glaze wanted to slide off the sprouts and wind up on the baking tray, so we reapplied it a couple times during the heating process. The finished product was definitely more flavorful that plain Brussels spouts, but we both wished we had found a way to get more glaze to stick. We applied some post-baking, and it helped a little, but the portion that had baked on to the sprouts was more flavorful and beneficial to the vegetable within. All in all, the glaze paired well with the earthy, nutty bitterness of the sprouts. We'll probably try it with oil and bruschetta in the future, and maybe some tilapia, too.

We both liked the glaze and think the price is fair at $2.99 for the bottle. Sonia may have been even more enamored with it than me, as I feel like any old balsamic dressing would serve as a flavorful condiment in instances such as this. At 99 cents, the large bag of Brussels sprouts is an even better bargain. That's a lot of nutrition for less than a buck. Your personal score for a bag of sprouts will largely depend upon your feelings about Brussels sprouts in the first place. I'm well aware many people are disgusted by them, no matter their age. In our case, Sonia will give it four stars, and I'll give it three. Sonia will throw out the same score for the glaze, and I'll go half a star higher.

Trader Giotto's Glaze: Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Trader Joe's True Belgian Brussels Sprouts: Bottom line: 7 out of 10.


  1. Try fresh sprouts, trimmed and halved, then tossed in the glaze before cooking. Frozen sprouts are...difficult, sometimes.

  2. The glaze is my fave for sure. I love it drizzled over strawberry sorbet. Balance out the flavor well.

  3. These brussels are a freezer staple of mine, but haven't figured out how to roast them.....Do you put them in the oven frozen or do they need to be thawed first? Also wondering if air frying would be feasible for the frozen version..


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