I think we all, deep down, have our own winter alter ego. Some of us go into full hygge-hibernation mode, safe-guarding ourselves with plenty of tea, whereas some of us morph into a Christmas Light Enthusiast or a Hallmark Movie Scholar. No matter where you land on the merry-making scale this winter, Trader Joe’s is not messing around with its December lineup of new items.
When it comes to winter, I personally Animorph into a truffle-sniffing pig. For me, truffles are the reason for the season and I welcome both earthy, funky black truffles and chocolate truffles into my shopping cart in equal measure. Thankfully, Trader Joe’s and I are synced on this holiday time tradition, because the shelves have never been more well-stocked with all manner of truffled treats.
Even if you’re not a total truffle hound like I am, there’s plenty in store for you at Trader Joe’s this month. Let’s dig in.
1. Truffle Burrata, $5.99 for 8 ounces
If you’re not familiar, burrata is a fresh, semi-soft Italian cheese that is essentially composed of a magical mozzarella-style shell that’s then injected with rich cream. This truffle burrata is the latest, brilliant iteration of burrata at Trader Joe’s and it’s ideal for digging in with a crusty baguette (cue all those beautiful cheese pulls), as well as for making a truly legendary pesto grilled cheese.
It’s delightfully earthy from the truffles, and yet perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the cream. I have a pretty solid hunch this would also make a mean flatbread topper, along with some fig jam. Let it be known I ate both of these burrata balls on the same day, and you just might too.
2. Coconut Flavored Almonds, $3.99 for 8 ounces
If there’s a flavor that sums up my adolescence, it’s got to be those crunchy, sugar-shellacked, still-warm-in-the-bag glazed nuts you could get at the mall (or from a street vendor). One bite of these coconut-flavored almonds immediately took me back to a mall food court (in the best way possible).
This new treat is my absolute new favorite road-trip snack and ice cream topper, and I’m excited to see what magic I can make with these when I crush and use them for sprinkles on biscotti, cakes, and pie this winter.
3. Boozy Little Chocolate Truffles, $6.99 for 7.4 ounces
Do yourself a favor and buy two boxes. You’ll buy one as a thoughtful hostess gift and accidentally eat it, so the backup truffle box will really be clutch. Each box has an assortment of milk, white, and dark chocolate truffles, with each creamy filling either flavored with Navy Rum, Scotch Whisky, Prosecco, or London Gin.
These are equally as fun to eat as they are adorably tiny, so it would really take multiple boxes to get any sort of buzz (the entire box is 5% ABV). I especially love these as a topper for mixed drinks or for skewering on a swizzle stick as a garnish.
4. Eggplant Parmigiana Sfogliatelle, $3.99 for 14.11 ounces
In college, I was very familiar with an Italian bakery whose claim to fame was cream-filled sfogliatelle (aka “lobster tails”), so I knew I had to try this savory version of the Italian pastry. Flaky, golden-brown, and beautifully scalloped, these intricate little bites are filled with a whole meal’s worth of flavor.
Each sfogliatelle is filled with four cheeses, tomatoes, and tender eggplant. The eggplant portion of these sfogliatelle is actually very subtle, so even if your guests claim to not be huge on eggplant, they’ll likely still demolish a cocktail plate of these — no problem.
5. Papadums, $2.69 for 5 ounces
If you’re not familiar with papadums, the classic Indian quick-fried flatbread cracker, now is the time. I’m always on the hunt for something new to crunch and dip, and these have really met the mark. These papadums are light, studded with cumin seeds, and crackly.
Trader Joe’s take on papadums are great on their own, dipped into minty raita and mango chutney, or eaten along with your favorite curry to add a bit of texture.
6. Figo! Half-Dipped Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich Bars, $4.49 for 6 Sandwiches
Ever felt conflicted when having to choose between a chocolate-dipped ice cream cone or an ice cream sandwich? Well, no more … now that we can have a Figo. Figo, which in Italian means “cool,” is a spot-on name for this chill treat. While the crackly chocolate coating reminded me immediately of a Klondike bar, the sandwich cookies are more chocolate graham cracker-adjacent than wafer-y.
7. Tête de Moine Rosettes, $4.99 for 3.17 ounces
Along with truffles, Trader Joe’s new cheeses are definitely another reason to celebrate this winter. And that’s especially true of these festive, ruffled rosettes of Swiss Tête de Moine cheese. Created over 800 years ago by monks that seemed to have a healthy sense of humor, tête de moine literally means “monk’s head” and was named after the Swiss monks that created the machinery that shaves the top of a larger wheel (giving it a, well, bald spot).
Tête de moine is a super-unique, aged cheese that is at once dense yet easy-melting, while also being intensely aromatic and fruity. These rosettes will fancy up any cheese board instantly.
8. Vegan Mint & Chip Bon Bons, $4.49 for 5.64 ounces
When everyone is clamoring over gingerbread-flavored treats in winter, I beeline to any and all mint and peppermint items. And let me just say that these ultra-creamy vegan ice cream bon bons will have your taste buds doing a double-take.
The first time I had these, I re-read the ingredient list multiple times in order to fully believe they didn’t have a lick of dairy in them. They’re that good. Made with a mint-chip coconut-based ice cream, these bite-and-a-half bon bons have just the right amount of minty refreshment and chocolatey decadence that makes them disappear pretty quickly.
9. Truffle Piccante Sauce, $5.99 for 18.34 ounces
Is it just me or are we in the middle of a Jarred Pasta Sauce Renaissance? Long gone are the days of bland sauces, or having to make a from-scratch sauce that’s more up to your standards. Laced with hot Calabrian chilis (which, if you’re familiar with Trader Joe’s bomba sauce, you know it can really clear your nostrils), this sauce combines zesty tomatoes with the deeply concentrated umami flavor of truffles.
The Truffle Piccante Sauce will not only warm you up this winter, but it also just might make you sweat a bit. Because many of the truffle items at Trader Joe’s are very seasonal, I’m going to carefully use every last drop of my jar on not only pasta, but also as a base for shakshuka and ratatouille.