The Grocery List: Trader Joe’s

I love Trader Joe’s. I am partial, I know, but I find that there’s noting better than a store with a good quality/price ratio! Trader Joe’s has an interesting sourcing process with its suppliers, and that means they get products nobody else markets, or they get the same products at a fraction of the price. Trader Joe’s is a must in my grocery run, and many things I find there are unique and incredibly good! Many of the “Trader Giotto” things, for example, are excellent original Italian products.

My grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s always include the following products:

Mandara Mozzarella di Bufala: a great mozzarella with the traditional buffalo mozzarella texture, watery and soft. This mozzarella, preserved in water, is among the best tasting I have found in the Bay Area.

Trader Joe’s- Mozzarella di Bufala

Citterio salame and pancetta, and Beretta prosciutto di Parma: charcuterie at a convenient price is hard to come by. Many of the upscale stores carry these products, but there are two problems with them: they are usually incredibly expensive, and the counter staff doesn’t always know how to properly slice them and pack them. I still have a sore memory of what we called a “Prosciutto Tile”, $16 worth of prosciutto sliced so thin and without any paper among the slices from a rookie staffer that it was impossible to separate once we got home! So, maybe I don’t get the freshness of promptly sliced charcuterie, but there aren’t any surprises, either!! I buy most of these products at Trader Joe’s: the Citterio Soppressata and Genoa Salami are paired with a sliced cheese, making it ideal for sandwiches and appetizer plates. I also like the pre-cut pancetta from Citterio, and the Beretta prosciutto sports the “crown” symbol that brands the original from Parma- something you should always look for in prosciutto.

Trader Joe’s- Salami Trader Joe’s Prosciutto

Gnocchi and Spaghetti: potato gnocchi and spaghetti found at Trader Joe’s are fantastic. I make gnocchi lukewarm in a “pasta salad” with tuna fish and fresh tomatoes, and these stay “al dente” as a base for my dish. And the spaghetti… well, these extra-long Trader Giotto spaghetti are really, really good!! Sometimes you will also find the De Cecco spaghetti in a tin can. De Cecco is considered the premium commercial brand in Italy, and this stays true in the US- at Trader Joe’s you will not always find the De Cecco pasta, but when it’s on the shelves it runs about 30% cheaper than at the store.

Trader Joe’s- Spaghetti Lunghi Trader Joe’s- Gnocchi

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: I really like the Monte Pollino extra virgin: I use it raw on salads and pasta, as its distinct flavor adds to the dishes. At $5.99, this extra virgin is a steal!

Trader Joe’s- Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Last, but not least, I will confess to a guilty pleasure: frozen pizza. I am not a big fan of it as a general rule, but Trader Giotto does an amazing job at capturing the real flavor of Italian wood burning oven-cooked pizza. It comes in different flavors, and our favorites are the Pizza Margherita and the Three Cheeses Pizza. Ready in 7 minutes in your own oven, it is my idea of “TV Dinner”- a quick and easy frozen option for those evenings when you just don’t have time to cook. Dress it up with some salami or prosciutto, and you have a delicious and balanced family meal! We also buy the “Tarte D’Alsace”- not really an Italian specialty, but a really yummy appetizer!

Trader Joe’s- Three Cheese Pizza Trader Joe’s- Pizza

Trader Joe’s
Various locations around the Bay Area

One Response to “The Grocery List: Trader Joe’s”

  1. [...] Best: Trader Joe’s, Mandala mozzarella di bufala, imported, but a bit more [...]