Trader Joes: An ideal market for multifarious wine and food matchings
Trader Joes, being eclectic as it is, stands as a go-to for hosting parties or intimate foodie nights in. It thrives in spin offs of its own products that expand boundaries in mainstream American tastebuds. That's why it's my UYOU for venturing food/wine pair-ers... (Remember those: "if you like CK One, you'll love UYOU perfumes?")
You can figuratively and literally go to town on a flavor. For example Rosemary and sea salt are an earthy, texture heavy combination that Trader Joes features in several ways. You can prelude a meal, or waltz a red or white wine with the pairings and your palate as the dance floor.
I love The Asiago, Marcona almonds and the flatbread crackers, together, before a meal for guests. So often we miss a flavor nuance, as we are bombarded with a parade of flavors before us in a spread of gnoches- it's indulgent and special to stick with one flavor and just ride it into the sunset.
Trader Joes also sells an array of truffle products that would be fun to plate alongside a stern, formiddable wine that will subtly take the ruler to the hide of wild truffles! Swide.com explains the ideal mate for truffles this way. " [Truffle's] characteristic aromatic elements, are reminiscent of sulphur, almost like a hydrocarbon. The role of wine in pairing must be to cleanse the palette of the harshest sulphurous notes that leave a bitter taste, and to balance the overly aromatic notes of truffle, without enhancing the roughness that may come with overly aggressive tannin.'' So a white with a delicious dose of minerality, or a red which brandishes a unique bouquet, trailed by a mild train of tannins would be maqnifique! You can really take your pick of textures in truffles as Trader Joes has truffle:
- cheddar, chevre, or brie
- flatbread pizza
as well as wild mushroom:
- gourmet, hand crafted french pizza
What do you think about keeping with one underlying flavor, opposed to complimenting?
Speak the language
Sometimes an imported wine deserves to take the trip with its friends. I respect regional wines, by pairing, whenever possible, with cheeses, crackers or other foods from that same region. Bourgogne is one of my favorite. Trader Joes offers a pleasant triple cream cheese called 'Le Delice de Bourgogne'. It is a cheese, not brie, so if you envy the dense creaminess of brie, but don't care for the pungent aftertaste, this is the cheese of your dreams. It's like buttermilk between rind as far as I'm concerned and I chase this decadent, eye-rolling rich, and cheeky cheese down with any or all of the Blason de Bourgogne wine brothers: the Cremant, Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir. It feels so appropriate to keep the pairing in the same vein. It's another vicarious method of 'seeing the world, through food'.
Not for the faint of Art
EVOO, more than plain Jane Olive Oil, it's PopEYE!
Trader Joes features a spectrum of seasonal olive oils to pair with fresh day breads! A milder cheese or more soft textured cheese can allow a flavored olive oil be the lead in a blockbuster night of tasting! In a white porcelain serving dish, much like a cheese board, lively hued aromatic olive oils can be the eye pleaser as well as the taste teaser- talk about POP and WOW!
For example, the Red Pepper Olive Oil is beautiful and fiery, and the heat on the palate does not disappoint!
The Pane Guittau sheath-thin crackers are feathery light with crunchy bubbling on each sheet. It pairs divinely with any of the seasonal oils. Especially for those that would care to avoid a hearty baguette.
In the Italian trio of Olive Oil, to the seasoned foodie, you'll notice distinctions in flavor, based on the climate, amount of sun/shade and harvesting season of each oil. Traderjoes.com explains each this way:
"The Biancolilla olive is grown on the high hillsides of Central Sicily, between Palermo and Agrigento. Harvested in late October, it is pressed into oil that appears straw yellow with golden hues. It’s light and fruity, delicate on the palate with hints of artichoke, fresh grass, and just picked green olives.
The Cerasuola olive is grown on the medium hillsides in Western Sicily and also harvested at the end of October. Its high-density oil is green in color with warm golden tones. The fragrance of fresh fruit foreshadows an intensely fruity flavor with the distinct reminiscence of artichoke, tomato, and grass clippings, and an almond aftertaste.
The renowned Nocellara Del Belice olives are grown on the high hillsides in South Western Sicily, and harvested earlier in October. The cut grass and green tomato aromas, give way to a medium fruity taste, including hints of tomato and green apple. The finish yields a pleasant, bitter pungency."
The appropriate pairings of wine, dessert, cheese oil and bread/crackers can turn a hosting spread into a tangible, gloriously colorful yet savory, work of art.