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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Trader Joe's Jalapeño and Honey Chevre

This might be my favorite cheese in the world right now. The taste zings across your tongue like a bolt of lightning. I feel like I hadn't ever truly tasted a jalapeño pepper until I had this cheese. The tang from the chevre, the sweetness of the honey, and the heat from the peppers set one another off so perfectly—in a manner I'd never have imagined. 

But beyond just the heat of the peppers, you can taste the green, planty, earthy part of the peppers, too. There's a miraculous way the goat cheese allows you to taste it separately from the spice of the jalapeno. Yet the cheese is surprisingly sweet. It does taste like real honey.

Although I don't want to downplay the heat, because it is significant. This cheese is not for the faint-of-heart. The fire is there right from the first bite, but it also builds up on the tongue in a subtle, yet powerful way. After a number of bites in a row, you need to breathe through your mouth for a moment to cool it down, maybe take a swig of whatever beverage you're enjoying, and hold for a few beats before going back to the cheese. But don't get me wrong, it's not too hot. It's just right if you ask me.

We had it with some nice light crackers, neutral in flavor. I wouldn't want to pair this cheese with anything too strong because the main attraction should most definitely be the flavor of this amazing chevre. Sonia thinks it might go well with some kind of lightly-sweet honey bread. I'd eat this stuff with anything as long as it's relatively muted, flavor-wise. 

Once upon a time, I may have slapped a different TJ's chevre product with an unusually low score, and it may have been suggested that I don't appreciate goat cheese. Au contraire. I'm just not huge into goat cheese for dessert. Despite its sweetness, this cheese, at least in my mind, is a complex, savory side dish or appetizer that deserves a perfect five stars. Sonia gives it four and a half.

Bottom line: 9.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Trader Joe's Semi-Dried Green Figs

There's really not a whole lot to Trader Joe's Semi-Dried Green Figs. Nothing added or subtracted, but simply a fig, partially dried, and frozen. That's it. That could be the end of the review pretty much right there. But that's not how we roll...because while they do "taste...similar to fresh fruit" they do feel a little different. Had to leave out the "amazingly" because that's a bit too strong of a statement.

Anyways, if you're already familiar with their tried and true semi-dried formula first tested out on apricots, you can expect something similar here.  Those particular fruity tidbits have become a family snacktime favorite around here for 75% of our clan - I don't care about them one way or another, but Sandy, and particularly the kids, can polish off a bag for lunch. In fact, it was those apricots we were looking for when we found the figs and figured to assess them instead.

For taste...yes,  a fig. What we you expecting, a rutabaga? Tastes like a fig. The feel, though? I'm a dried fig aficianado - everytime we go to Costco I need to get me a bag, it lasts me maybe 10 days. I'd say these are much more similar to fresh figs, except I had those recently...too soft, too fleshy, too wiggly, too...I don't even know the word. That was another Costco purchase, and we made our way through the Montana-sized package, but with much less gusto. So I guess these fall fairly squarely in the middle. There's not the tough, chewy, fibrous bite of dried, but not the super soft mouthfeel of fresh. The seeds maintain their crispy qualities as well for a nice textural variant.

Sandy prefers these semi-dried guys straight from the freezer, because she's a little odd, but even when thawed a bit they retain a lot of their middlin' qualities. The kids seem to like them to, maybe not as much as the apricots, but their little chompers have less work to do than with dried, and I couldn't get them (or Sandy) to eat their fair share of fresh. Not a bad purchase for $2.99, we bought two bags and will happily finish them and likely go back for more.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Semi Dried Green Figs: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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