By Alex Gryciuk
Known for their abundance of great snacks and positive staff members, Trader Joe’s never fails to entertain shoppers with a completely different shopping experience. Interesting snacks, foreign goodies, and silly packaging make the atmosphere inside the store especially relaxed and interesting. The most popular attribute inside the store fuels sleuthing amongst shoppers: finding unusually delicious snacks and weird flavor combinations that join two unlikely ingredients together. Although Pickle Popcorn and Mango Joes (Mango Blonde Oreos) enter carts throughout the year, the average TJ’s enthusiasts rejoice at the illustrious seasonal items that introduce new flavor combinations. This years’ pumpkin season is no exception to the “new items” lists. With my mouth watering and my pumpkin-fever raging, I bought five items to try.
Greek Nonfat Yogurt: Pumpkin (1/5 Pumpkins)
Honestly, I had high hopes for this yogurt; yet, all it did was fall extremely flat. I really had to search for a sliver of seasonal flavor when I was yearning for a strong pumpkin taste. There was also a weird spicy, nutmeg aftertaste. Even with a high sugar content, I was struggling to go back in for another spoonful. The only redeeming quality I attribute to this snack is it’s super creamy texture.
Pumpkin Butter (4/5 Pumpkins)
The Pumpkin Butter had an interesting texture that paralleled that of apple sauce. There was a very nice pumpkin flavor that wasn’t too overpowering but also didn’t disappear. As a person who likes pumpkin, this was really yummy. The butter also has a strong nutmeg, cinnamon flavor that paired really nicely with the pumpkin flavor. At times, the spicy taste was a little too strong but I attribute that to lax mixing. Finally, as the label states, Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter was delicious on plain toast or a piece of toast with cream cheese. I suspect that it will also be a great addition to baked goods. Very versatile and overall, pretty good.
Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce (5/5 Pumpkins)
As one of the most delicious items that I have ever eaten at Trader Joe’s. It really nicely mixes squash, pumpkin, and cheese together. There was just the right amount of pumpkin and no pumpkin spice that introduced a more veritable side to pumpkin: a savory treat. Perfect for any pasta dish, the texture was thick and creamy. 100% recommend this sauce to anyone who likes good food; even those with adventurous or conservative palettes.
Pumpkin Spice Batons (2/5 Pumpkins)
The flavor was honestly, again, pretty underwhelming in taste. I really had to focus to try and taste the “pumpkin spice”. When I tasted it, the flavor was sweet and had a nice herbal, spicy twang. Great texture, flakey cookie exterior, and creamy interior all came together for a nice cookie. Sadly, the most important factor fell short and I didn’t really want to go back for another bite.
This pumpkin walks into a bar… Cereal bar (4.5/5 Pumpkins)
The exterior was really soft and was perfectly crumbly. The pumpkin jam had a mild pumpkin flavor that didn’t overwhelm with pumpkin or spice (nutmeg and cinnamon) flavor. As a nice addition to the cereal bar collection at Trader Joe’s, the pumpkin bar was pretty delicious. However, the cereal bar was slightly too sweet; I had to drink water or milk to cut the sweetness. Definitely would come back and purchase again as an emergency breakfast or yummy snack.
Overall, I enjoyed walking through the store to find cool snacks and eating fun fall flavors. I definitely recommend having your own Trader Joe’s taste test if you ever have the chance. My favorite item from my pumpkin haul was the pumpkin alfredo sauce. It was really delicious and an interesting take on the seasonal ingredient. My least favorite item was yogurt. Do not get this if you enjoy tasting good food.