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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Trader Joe's Cranberry Chevre

Crantastic. Tarterrific. Chevtacular.

Move over, cranberry sauce. I don't know how well this cheese would pair with turkey and stuffing, but I'd rather see this stuff on my Turkey Day spread, personally.

In my opinion, this is the best fruit and goat cheese pairing possible. It's the double dose of tartness that gets me. Sure, there's a good bit of sweetness from the cranberries—both natural and added, but by and large, this is a mouth-puckering, tart, tangy, sour patch people, spread-on-bread but preferably water crackers kind of snack here. Pairs nicely with a malbec or merlot. I just looked it up right now and wine people are telling me that it goes best with a Cabernet Franc. If they say so. I've never even heard of it. Cabernet Sauvignon? Sure. 

I'm learning to appreciate sweeter chevres like blueberry vanilla more than I did in years past, but every time I try them, there's still this notion that "blueberry vanilla" should be an ice cream flavor, not a goat cheese flavor. 

When I taste this stuff...I feel like this is why God invented goats. 

There's the perfect amount of smooshed, dried cranberry matter all around the outside of the cheese. If it's straight outta the fridge, it's a bit difficult to spread. I think the flavor comes across a little better, too, when the cheese has been left at room temperature for a spell. Most of the time, the cranberries stick to the cheese pretty tenaciously, yielding a well-balanced cheese to berry ratio in each bite. Water crackers provide the best neutral venue for this chevre to shine—not just flavor-wise, but the crispness serves as the perfect foil to the cheese's smooth creaminess.

Sonia liked the cheese, too, adding that the product has a melt-in-your-mouth quality that she wasn't expecting. "It feels like a fall food since it's so cranberry-ish," she said.

Four stars from her. Four and a half from me. 

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Trader Joe's Mini Stroopwafel Ice Cream Sandwiches

"I-C-E C-R-E-A-M S-A-N-D-W-I-C-H P-L-E-A-S-E."

"Great job, M, Now spell 'stroopwafel.'"


"It's okay, baby. I don't know how to spell it either."

So it goes these days with my oldest daughter M. She's just a few months into first grade but knows how to spell most anything we can throw her way...and the thing is, she actually enjoys it. Weird kid. But she insists on spelling things at random, including when requesting her dessert the other night, which, of course, was one of Trader Joe's Mini Stroopwafel Ice Cream Sandwiches.

There's been a buzz about these recently. And with good reason. I mean....stroopwafels. Who can hate on them one bit? And ice cream too! These seem to be a match made in heaven.

I'll have to admit that I'm underwhelmed here, unfortunately. I kinda hate when something seems to be so built up, so buzzworthy, and purported to be something so amazing and divine, just for my experience to be so lacking. Is it me that's wrong, or is it all of you? Hate those questions.

Where to start? The taste. Yes, as one would expect, there's a fair amount of caramel here. But it's flat, very flat. The layer in the stroopwafel is frozen and hard and kinda bland, and it's not a strong flavor out of the ice cream either. There's none of the purported saltiness.

Also, frozen stroopwafels aren't particularly fun to bite through. Which I guess shouldn't be surprising - they are a wafer meant to be placed atop a hot cup of coffee, and we're at the other end of the spectrum here - but it's a little stiff cardboardiness going on. Ice cream layer is just fine.

I'm not impressed to be honest. These mini ice cream sandwiches could have been better with some stronger flavor and softer caramel. A serving size is two of these buggers but I was happy enough with just one - a second didn't seem worthy of my caloric indulgences for the day. I cannot be any less excited about them, which pales in comparision to how I felt pre-purchase. it's just meh all the way around, no matter how you spell it. Meh meh meh.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Mini Stroopwafel Ice Cream Sandwiches: 5 out of 10 Golden Spoons 

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