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Monday, December 4, 2017

Trader Joe's Scandinavian Tidings

You might remember some other Scandies we reviewed on here a while ago. This time, Trader Joe dropped the chuckle-inducing title of "swimmers" and went with "tidings," as in: tidings of comfort and joy or something like that. 

TJ's holds the holiday theme high here, as this product features a bold Christmassy red resealable bag, snowflake art on the packaging, and three ultra-merry colors/shapes/flavors: green trees, red ornaments, and yellowish stars. I say yellow-ish because, well, they're somewhere between yellow and off-white. That's just fine, because they went with vegetable-based coloring in this product, as we've seen from TJ's in the past. We don't need our candy to be electric-neon-radioactive yellow. I'll take the blackcurrant, carrot, and pumpkin colorings any day over "yellow number five" or whatever carcinogenic nonsense the other guys use.

As far as flavors go, there are three distinct tastes. The red ornaments are my favorite, and they taste just like classic Swedish Fish if you ask me. The stars are slightly softer than the other two shapes, and they taste like...I dunno...something sweet. Call me crazy, but I feel like the green trees taste slightly appley. There's no apple listed in the ingredients, so...I guess I could be wrong.

Both Sonia and I would have enjoyed these more if they were sour, in the manner of the legendary T's and J's. And honestly, I think I prefer the swimmers over these. 

Why? Well, at least three out of the four flavors present in the swimmers were pretty tasty. Here, I don't think the flavors are quite as unique or memorable. Plus—there are only three shapes, as opposed to four. I guess you could make a big tree shape out of all the trees in the bag and then pretend to decorate it with the stars and red balls, but that's not nearly as much fun as staging battles between dolphins, giant lobsters, seahorses, and rock fish. 

I mean...not that I actually did either one of those things.

There's certainly nothing wrong with these candies, but they're neither the most fun nor the best tasting gummy candy we've seen from Trader Joe's. It's a decent bit of gummies for $2.99, and the overall quality is on par with what we've come to expect from TJ's. I'll go with three out of five gummy candy Christmas stars. Sonia gives them three and a half.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Trader Joe's Chocolate Peppermint Almond Beverage

Holiday shopping season. Hurrah.

If it's not Black Friday then it's Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday or Giving Tuesday or it's any of those extended for one whole week or more. And of course it's complete with the TV ads and jingles and must-buy lists and all that. Apparently this year I am supposed to find a good deal on something called "Fingerlings" for my kids. No, not play potatoes....something like some sort of animal toy that hangs on to your finger. Flamingos and sloths or something like that. It's another must buy item at a must buy time of year...because someone is telling us so.

Well, I can't be too opposed to the whole notion behind all this holiday buying nonsense....because you must go buy Trader Joe's Chocolate Peppermint Almond Beverage! Right now! While supplies last! Your holidays will be incomplete without it! Go! Go! Gooooooooooooooo!!!!

Alright, alright, let's catch our breath a little bit. I mean, this seasonally festive TJ's drink is a pretty decent beverage after all. There's a little extra creaminess that most almond-based milk-type substances seem to lack that's a real nice touch. It's smooth and very non-chalky, with a small hint of almond taste to give away that it's not the usual cow juice type deal for its base. That nuttiness certainly isn't too heavy handed. The chocolate part is fairly rich and somewhat decadent - it'll hit your sweet tooth for sure.

It's the peppermint part that could be construed as problematic. If consumed cold, the mint is bit much, like these matching Christmas pajamas. There's nothing too wrong with it, and it's kinda cute, but it's just a bit much. Yet when heated to hot cocoa-type temperatures (i.e., it's prime consumption mode) a lot of the mintiness just disappears. It's still there, but the chocolate really kinda takes over, with only a hint o' peppermint. I wish it'd be more minty then.

Regardless, for a dairy-free holiday option, the chocolate peppermint almond beverage is a pretty good and reasonable buy. It's only $1.79 for the quart carton, so it's a good product at a reasonable price...and since it's shelf stable at room temperature, hey, stock up if that's your thing. Just no trying to charge five times MSRP on eBay for it. I'm thinking of you, you Fingerling hucksters, you...grumble. Both the wife and I are gonna hit it with a fourspot.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Chocolate Peppermint Almond Beverage: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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