Entertaining&Gathering Groceries Holidays

Trader Joe’s Just Leaked Info on 12 New Holiday Products That’ll Hit Stores Soon

Mondays are usually not my favorite. But this morning, I woke up to find the latest episode of Insider Trader Joe’s, the podcast from the quirky grocer, and now I’m feeling a little less Garfield-y. (That reference still holds up, right?) This episode was all about, as one might expect this time of year, the holidays. Hosts — and real Trader Joe’s employees — Matt Sloan and Tara Miller spoke with fellow coworkers about family traditions, laid out holiday decorating tips, and talked about the year’s new holiday treats.

Last year, there were 472 seasonal holiday-related products. After the holidays (seriously, in January!), the Trader Joe’s team got to work evaluating how those products performed. They decided that 400 of those items could return for this year and then held a taste test to pick new, additional products. They tried 95 different products and picked around 56 of those. A follow-up taste test in March got them even more products to end up with 84 new holiday products. That’s 484 seasonal products for this year.

While the podcast couldn’t cover EVERY single new item, it did touch upon 12 of them. Here’s what I learned about this morning while I was still in bed.

1. Oven Baked Cheese Bites with Black Summer Truffles

“A walk through Trader Joe’s this season is going to reveal all kinds of savory truffles,” says Miller. “Umami truffles, the kind that you’ve gotta dig under the ground for. Every day we have these Oven Baked Cheese Bites and this year, we’re bringing in a version that’s Oven Baked Cheese Bites with Black Summer Truffles. I mean, they’re REALLY truffle-y.”

2. Truffle and Italian Mushroom Sauce

“This is an unctuous, thick, rich sauce. It’s intense,” says Sloan. “And you’ll notice when you see it, it’s not that giant jumbo pasta sauce jar. It’s smaller because this packs a punch.”

3. Truffle Powder Seasoning

“[This is] a dry seasoning powder,” explains Sloan. “You could really dress up a risotto. Even if you dusted macaroni and cheese with this, it would take it from oh hey, mac and cheese to fancy pants mac and cheese.”

Miller suggests gathering up all the new truffle stuff to make one super sweet (or should I say savory?) gift basket. And Sloan points out: “You would be absolutely bonkers to try to do this anyplace else because this stuff is expensive.” They didn’t elaborate on their prices, but I’m sure they’re Classic TJ’s GOOD.

“This looks like a decorated confection — like a candy snowman. But what you do with this guy is you actually drop him into a mug of piping hot milk. And he melts and it’s sort of terrifying and fascinating to watch this happen,” Sloan says. “Then when he melts, he lets loose, as it were, a bunch of marshmallows. There’s a different way to say that but that’s what’s happening. And you’ve got a white chocolate/milk chocolate, marshmallow-topped drink. And you’ve also watched the demise of Frosty the Snowman.”

“For years and years and years, we’ve offered a gingerbread house kit and it’s hugely popular and people buy tons of them,” says Miller. “This year, we also have an ornament cookie kit — so they’re cookies shaped like ornaments and you decorate them and you can hang them on your tree or you can just eat them.”

6. Chocolate Christmas Tree Kit

“This is a really neat thing because it’s a hollow chocolate Christmas tree,” starts Sloan. “It just looks like a giant chocolate Christmas tree. And what you’re able to do is there’s a little icing kit and chocolate gems. You can sort of glue, if you will, with the icing, all kinds of stuff all over the tree, decorating the Christmas tree. Its a pretty neat thing to do and it’s relatively easy.”

7. Hot Cocoa Cream Liqueur

“We have a partner to the Eggnog Liqueur that we’ve offered at a lot of our stores, those that can sell spirits. This year, we have a hot cocoa cream liqueur, I think it’s called. It’s that comforting, wintery drink, spiked with alcohol,” Miller says

“People just love the cinnamon broom,” says Maggie Meccia-Vogt, the Floral Category Manager at Trader Joe’s. “This year we are doing a pinecone for the Christmas season that is the cedar balsam scent.”

These are a riff on Trader Joe’s mini ice cream cones. “It literally inside has corn and seasonings,” Miller says. It’s a very crowd-friendly flavor, we’re told.

“[This is] just a little puff pastry with pimento cheese and caramelized onion and bacon,” Miller says. (I love that she doesn’t try to oversell these things because the ingredients really speak for themselves!)

11. Crispy Rice Salmon Bites

“Picture things you might get at a Japanese restaurant. Like yaki onigiri, a grilled rice patty. Maybe with some dynamite sauce, like a spicy aioli type thing with some salmon on top,” Matt says.

Also: Miller and Sloan teased that the next episode is going to be all about cheese. It’ll come out in the beginning of December. Hopefully on a Monday.

Which of these are you most excited about?

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