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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Trader Joe's Italian Bomba Hot Pepper Sauce

Fermented Italian condiments? So hot right now.

So, so hot.

And so, so good.

Case in point: Trader Joe's Italian Bomba Hot Pepper Sauce. Mama mia, this sauce is especially speziata.

Take for instance the very first ingredient and the entire base of this new intercontinental condiment from all of our's favorite purveyor of such things: calabrian chili peppers. Not familiar? I wasn't overly as well. Look 'em up on the Scoville heat registry though. Jalapenos start around 2,500 Scovilles and range up to maybe 8,000. That's kinda spicy for most folks. Calabrians? Try 25,000 to 40,000. So these bad boys, just to start out with, are anywhere from 5 to 10 times spicier than the common American standard. Hoooo boy.

But that's not all, of course. Nah. Crush 'em allllll up, but make sure you keep in all the seeds with the capsaicin/ And let it sit, and sit, and sit, and ferment. That's not gonna make anything more mild in terms of flavor. Definitely not the case here.

The result? Full blast heat, with a good dose of fermented funkiness to back it all up and add a lot of depth. That's precisely what's going on here. And it's spicy in a genuinely chili pepper kinda way, and not some cheap vinegary mode. It's spice in a very authentic form. But although spicy, it doesn't completely overwhelm or linger too long, at least for me. It's just the right amount of burn.

The actual sauce is mostly the peppers in a kinda crushed/shredded/generally decimated form suspended in sunflower seed oil. Kinda odd, I would have expected olive oil, but I digress.  Texturally that might a challenge for some, but not me. Love it. Love everything about the TJ's bomba sauce.

Please, please, please share all the different ways to implement the bomba sauce in different dishes. I'm imagining mixing some in pasta sauce, some paired with mozzarella and fresh tomatoes, on pizza, on grilled chicken, with eggs, with crusty warm bread, with crackers...yes to all. Love it.

I have not a single complaint and will be stocking up every trip I can so help me God. Absolute, unqualified perfect five from me. This might be a mistake but I'm going to assume my lovely bride loves it as well - she tried only a bit, then had a couple bites of ice cream and said she could still taste the bomba afterwards. Then we both pretty much fell asleep and here I am having to finish this review. I'll say 4.5 from her and if I'm wrong, it won't be the first time.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Italian Bomba Hot Pepper Sauce: 9.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Beary Tiny Gummies

Mmmm. Beef byproducts—something I always look for in a candy.

Bovine gelatin. At least it's a certified organic bovine gelatin. Am I right? Also, I'll take cow gelatin over pork gelatin any day of the week. At least we've got the potential of being kosher here, too. Plus, it's French beef gelatin. Ooh la la. 

No, seriously. This product is imported from France. I couldn't tell you why it's imported from France. That seems to be the case with quite a few selections at Trader Joe's—they come from Europe or Asia when there's no obvious reason why they couldn't come from the good old US of A. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a big problem with European imports, I'm just waxing philosophical here. But that's probably not why you're reading this review. So let's talk about the candy for a moment.

First impressions: they're tiny, true to their name—like maybe half the size of a normal gummy bear. That just means you have to shovel twice as many into your mouth to get the same flavor impact as you might with traditional gummy bears.

There's a fresh citrusy smell and flavor to all the bears. The ingredients list mentions a bunch of fruit and vegetable juices which are there "for color." I'm pretty sure I can detect slight differences in the flavors, but I guess that's due to the unspecified "natural flavors." There's almost a grapefruit essence I'm tasting here. I kinda like it. These bears are extremely similar to the ones that had a "chocolate pool day" not long ago.

Sonia likes the taste even more than I do in this case. However, we both feel like gummies such as the T's and J's that employ tapioca syrup and corn starch not only taste better, but have a little less of a weirdness factor. Yes, I know most gummies contain gelatin—that's one of the many reasons we don't eat them that often, and one of the many reasons why the T's and J's were my favorite gummies of all time, bar none.

Final observations: there's a grotesque bear on the cover art cannibalizing other smaller bears. The bag has three servings, which could easily be consumed all at once, which, I believe is being demonstrated by said grotesque bear. 99 cents for the bag. 

Three and a half stars from Sonia. Three from me.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

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