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Seasonal Flavors Stock the Aisles

Seasonal galore at Trader Joe's (Photo Credit: Alexa Lampasona)

Seasonal products galore at Trader Joe's (Photo Credit: Alexa Lampasona)

Grocery stores strongest quarter is from October through December, according to Bloomberg Business Week. In an effort to outshine their competition, seasonal products are cropping up on the shelves of all major grocery stores. It seems like companies are bold when trying out new flavors for snacks, but shy away from imparting these twists to traditional foods such as meats or fruits. I prefer it that way.

The most intriguing and creative selection always shows up in my mailbox when Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer is released. We spent some time flipping through the newest “Holiday Guide” and found several interesting seasonal exclusives.

Tamales
Can someone tell us when tamales became reminiscent of the holidays? Maybe it is the green and red salsa colors.

2013 Vintage Ale
We are curious to know, what do you think of this year’s brew?

Peppermint Pretzel Slims
We love pretzels and white chocolate separately, but we just can’t combine salty and mint together.

Gingerbread House Kits
Let us know if you’ve made a successful gingerbread house. We have yet to master a house with any kit without it looking like a pasty, crumbled disaster.

Chocolate Peppermint Loaf
It seems like too much fluffy bread and a harsh peppermint crunch. The idea flies over much better on their Dark Chocolate Peppermint Joe Joe’s.

How does Trader Joe’s stack up to other store’s seasonal exclusives? Which seasonal favorites do you most look forward to and which cause you to roll your eyes and push your shopping cart onward?

-By Alexa Lampasona for the Food & More Blog

12_9peppermint

(photo credit: Alexa Lampasona)

Does your house look like the one on the box? (photo credit: Alexa Lampasona)

Does your house look like the one on the box? (photo credit: Alexa Lampasona)

13 comments Add your comment

art

December 9th, 2013
8:15 pm

Tamales have always been associated with the holidays because in their purest form it takes a long time to prepare them. Even as a Gringo, I incorporated tamales into our holiday celebration 5 or 6 years ago. I wrap each tamale in a corn husk and make it look like a present. They’re a fair amount of work, even with the modern day conveniences of prepared Masa Harina and lard but they’re well worth the effort.

PapaDoc

December 9th, 2013
9:36 pm

One of my best memories of Christmas came after we had moved from Atlanta to Texas. I was feeling sad and homesick, particularly as the holidays approached. To my surprise, the doorbell rang and there was the sexton from my parish standing in the doorway with a platter of the most delicious tamales ever made. He grew up in Mexico and told me that tamales were a family Christmas food, and he wanted to welcome me “to the family”, What a gift that began my enculturation into the Republic of Texas. I will have a plateful at Bone Garden Cantina the week of Christmas to remind me of that hospitality.

Theresa

December 10th, 2013
9:27 am

My late mother’s parents came from Mexico, and we had tamales every New Years.

Patrick

December 10th, 2013
10:13 am

Two things I always look forward to this time of year:

1. White chocolate-covered Oreos – They recently found Oreos to be highly addictive. You cover them in white chocolate and you might as well change your name to Walter White. I only see these out at Christmas.

2. Pillsbury peppermint-flavored frosting – I use this as the icing on my Christmas Spice Cookies. They’re basically a gingerbread cookie, but with more flavor. You’re probably thinking, “Gingerbread and peppermint? YUCK!” but they’re surprisingly good together. The frosting has just enough peppermint flavor to not be overpowering, but not so weak that makes you feel cheated.

rebelliousrose

December 10th, 2013
10:26 am

The chocolate peppermint loaf cake is actually brilliant- nice and damply crumbed, with a rich cocoa flavor and light mint.

I love their holiday toffee.

Jean

December 10th, 2013
2:17 pm

Tamales both sweet and savory are a long time Christmas tradition in Mexico. Perhaps the writer should travel more. Had a neighbor in California who made hundreds of tamales every Christmas. She always shared with my family. Nothing like homemade tamales.

Jessica

December 10th, 2013
4:34 pm

I love the peppermint pretzel slims! They’re a little overly rich, but that prevents me from eating the whole bag in one sitting, so that’s probably a good thing.

Baltisraul.....

December 10th, 2013
5:26 pm

Jean….nobody goes to Mexico at Christmas, maybe Duluth or Amarillo.

Kate Abney

December 11th, 2013
1:16 pm

Please see my tweet on the ale:
https://twitter.com/KateAbney/status/410575373147967488

I made the chocolate peppermint loaf cake on Sunday and it was very yummy with a lovely texture.

crackbaby

December 11th, 2013
6:21 pm

Tough to find excellent tamales in Atlanta. Suggestions?

AzCat

December 12th, 2013
3:16 pm

@crackbaby: Bone Garden Cantina has tamales every night (except Sunday, when they are closed), and imho, they are excellent. Have to get there on the early side though, or they’ll be sold out.

Baltisraul.....

December 15th, 2013
11:33 am

AzCat……..I have heard this before. Get there early, they could be sold out. Never understood that kitchen philosophy. If they know they are that popular, just make a bunch more. You know you are going to sell them. It reminds me of the time (when I was a recreational runner) that this store had the best shoe strings for my running shoes. Shopped there one day and they were out. Owner said he would not stock them any more because he was always sold out so quick. I told him he would be out of business in 6 mons. And he was!

AzCat

December 16th, 2013
8:18 am

Balt: Understand what you’re saying, but in the case of the tamales, my understanding is they’re made by hand fresh each afternoon. If that’s the case, it may simply be a function of one/two/whatever number of persons only being able to make x number of tamales before dinnertime. *shrugs* Nothing will change. Bone Garden has the same attitude as its sister/brother, The Vortex—This is the way we do things. If you don’t like it, the door is right there. It seems to work for all of them.