2012 was a another banner year for Trader Joe’s. I did about 106 reviews this year, not as many as I wanted, but for every review you see here, I probably tried 2 more products that I didn’t review. Trader Joe’s release many new products and some of them made this list, but mostly the ones that made the Top 10 list are products that have been out for a while, I just finally sat down and reviewed them this year! We all have our favorites but this is just the Top 10 from the reviews I did this year.
Trader Joe’s seems to be upping their game, especially in the frozen section which always seems to be one of the best selling areas of the store, except the wine section (if you have one). Many of the ready to eat meals in a bag are becoming as good as cooking from scratch. The frozen ricotta filled ravioli is a good example of this.
Here is the list!
This product was the only one I gave a perfect 10 score to this year. Many disagreed with me, but I was blown away by the Salt and Pepper Dark Chocoloate and I loved the crunchy little bits in the chocoloate. Not sure if it’s still in the store, but if you want a super interesting dark chocolate, you can’t go wrong!
This pizza caught me by surprise at how good the flavors are and the fact that it’s Gluten Free! You would never know, either way I really loved the pizza for what it was, one of the best frozen pizzas I have tasted in a long time. Still not as good as a fresh pizza, but we don’t get to make those every time we want a pizza!
I found these Pumpkin Macarons to be quite ethereal. I really liked the mild pumpking pie flavors that just melted in your mouth. Much better than the Peppermint Macaronst that I just reviewed at the end of 2012. Too bad they only came out before Thanksgiving! Look for them around Halloween next year!
I was quite surprised at how good this frozen Ravioli was and how simple it was to make. It really tasted like something that I had slaved over for hours making my own ravioli and sauce. You simply dump it in a pan and heat through and serve! Also makes a great vegetarian dish.
This was an old time favorite of mine and I never had done a review on it. We use this blend on just about anything that needs cheese. Mainly we use it for pizza cheese. The complexity of the four different cheese makes a far more interesting flavor that mozzarella on it’s own. We also sprinkle it on salads and pasta dishes. Trader Joe’s really nailed this one!
At my Trader Joe’s they put the egg case way in the back of the store and I am usually only focused on the eggs and forget to poke around. Well, wouldn’t you know it they have fresh chocolate chip cookie dough. I grabbed a package and made some of the best double chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted. I know Becky says she makes them better, but these are way easier to make!
Here is another one of those products that I pass by all the time and didn’t give a 2nd look until my son grabbed a bag and wanted to try it. I said, what the heck! and threw it in my cart. I had pretty low expectation, but I was quite shocked at how good these freeze dried oranges were! Unfortunately, that’s also part of the problem. They are pretty expensive as a snack and a bag will not quench any kind of hunger, but still surprisingly good Jeju oranges!
8. Trader Joe’s Japanese Styled Fried Rice with Edamame, Tofu and Hijiki Seaweed
If you are a long time reader, I am a nut about Asian foods and I frequently buy the frozen fried rices that Trader Joe’s carries. I haven’t really rated them because they are just OK in my opinion but not nearly as good as real fried rice from a good Chinese or Thai restaurant. I’m not sure how authentic this dish is but considering that it’s vegan and super delicious was an extra bonus. I make this dish frequently it so easy to make!
I was kind of surprised to see this on the shelf at Trader Joe’s this past year. As I’ve mentioned before, I spent three years in Germany an lived in Munich for almost 2 of those years. I ate so much Bratwurst it became part of my DNA. I can remember so much grilled bratwurst, especially at places like Oktoberfest it was enough to make me get on a plane! I was eager to try this to see how good it was and I was not disappointed. To me this is what authentic Bratwurst tastes like. Serve with a good mustard and a hunk of bread and it doesn’t get more Bavarian than that!
10. Trader Joe’s Apple Smoked Uncured Bacon
I think Trader Joe’s uncured Apple Smoked Bacon is simply one of the best bacons out there right now. It has a nice thick cut, not too much fat and has a fairly good amount of apple smoke, which to me is less intense than hickory smoke. Either way, it’s just really great! I can’t buy bacon anywhere else.
We are looking forward to another year of reviewing and enjoying Trader Joe’s products in 2013 and hoping that Trader Joe’s comes out with even more interesting and current products for us all to enjoy! Happy New Year!