Can you feel it? The days are getting longer, and the selection at Trader Joe’s is getting, well, a bit extra too. Sure, the winter holidays have their own magic (and Jingle Jangle), but it’s the shoulder seasons that often yield new regular items and seasonal sleeper hits (ahem, Raspberry Kringle) that are well worth loading up on.
The first buds of spring are starting to pop up, and the same is true of those tried-and-true flavors I can count on year after year — candy-sweet strawberries awash with cream, those late-winter baked casseroles that are the equivalent of a light sweater, and any excuse for a mouth-puckering bit of brightness. No surprise, Trader Joe’s delivered all three of those this week. So what made it into my cart? Let’s find out.
1. French Onion Macaroni & Cheese, $4.99 for 18 ounces
Yes, believe your eyes. She’s back! I’m not entirely sure why early spring = french onion macaroni and cheese season, but it is a seasonal shift I can absolutely get behind. If you’re unfamiliar, the Trader Joe’s mac & cheese flavors are no joke (see: butternut squash, pizza, hatch chile, even the gluten-free one). And much like their other seasonal favorites, this is one you’re going to want to run, not walk, to your store to grab a few boxes.
The combination is a no-brainer, and each bite perfectly captures the complexity and richness of both dishes: the cheese-pulling-magic that is French onion soup, and the edible weighted blanket that is macaroni and cheese. If you don’t eat your way through your stash, this would make an incredible side for any Easter spread, too.
2. Double Cream Amarena Cherry Goat’s Milk Cheese, $2.99 for 4 ounces
I’m a cheese-seeking missile when I enter a Trader Joe’s. After all, cheese is actually pretty ultra-seasonal, so it’s always worth it to check if there’s anything fresh and exciting in the cheese case on your way to pick up your stand-by string cheeses. So imagine my delight when I spotted this new goat cheese log, laced with tart Amarena cherries.
Much like the classic blueberry-vanilla goat cheese log, this double cream goat’s milk cheese is the cheese board equivalent of adding a series of exclamation points to a sentence. If you’re new to the world of goat cheese, this one is an excellent gateway cheese; the richness of the milky double cream tempered with the bright cherry flavor makes a perfect spread for graham crackers, brioche toasts, or Trader Joe’s Fig & Olive Crisps. My next mission? Whirring a couple of these into a next-level goat cheese cheesecake.
3. Strawberries & Cream Gelato, $3.49 for 16 ounces
Having grown up near strawberry country, spotting roadside stands studded with berry-filled baskets was my favorite way to know that winter was finally on its way out. The same is absolutely true of Trader Joe’s newest Strawberries & Cream Gelato. From the first scoop, this dense but light gelato is eminently spoonable (none of that spoon-bending thickness that you might get from any traditional ice cream).
Each pint is split down the middle with a sherbert-adjacent strawberry side loaded with chewy, crunchy candied strawberry pieces, alongside a velvety vanilla bean-freckled cream side. I ate a third of the pint one evening this week just on pure nostalgia alone, as it really brought me back to the swirly vanilla-strawberry soft-serve cones of my childhood, but with a grown-up complexity all its own. Without a doubt, I see a lot of brioches con gelato and affogatos happening with this new treat.
Spot anything new at Trader Joe’s this week? Tell us in the comments below!