On the latest episode of Inside Trader Joe's, the podcast that's basically a drool-worthy audio version of the Fearless Flyer, the hosts and various other employees talk about the products — both new and returning — that they're most excited about this holiday season.
Trader Joe's goes all out for the holidays. Marcy Kopelman, the vice president of merchandising, stops in and mentions that she estimates they have about 80 or 85 different pumpkin products for fall, and 150 to 200 specifically seasonal holiday products for the coming season.
How's a shopper supposed to know which ones are the best? Well, folks like Kopelman and the other employees all taste, taste, and taste again, and, on this episode, share which of the holiday products they're most excited about.
- Dog Advent Calendar: I admit I thought this was a joke when they teased it in the intro, but if I still had a dog, I'd clearly be buying them this new advent calendar that is a favorite of Jon Basalone, the president of stores.
- Bûche de Noël Ice Cream: While Basalone was disappointed the Peppermint Joe-Joe's Ice Cream wasn't coming back, host Matt Sloan, vice president of marketing, is revved up about this new ice cream, which imitates the yule log: custard ice cream base with a chocolate fudge ribbon, bits of meringue, and chocolate cake.
- Organic Cold Pressed Spiced Cider: Host and Marketing Director, Tara Miller, is stoked on this new product, a single-serve, refrigerated bottle of Fuji apple cider. "Almost feels like it was kinda just pressed at the apple orchard," describes Basalone.
- Sipping Chocolate, Hot Chocolate on a Spoon, and Hot Chocolate Sticks: Sloan also picks this trio of chocolate products as some of his favorite returning products, describing the first as "the be-all-end-all super-rich hot chocolate."
- Turkey Gravy: Yeah, Basalone actually admitted a willingness to drink the shelf-stable Tetra-Pak turkey gravy straight from the carton.
- Camembert and Cranberry Filo Bites: It's good to know that Basalone and the folks at TJ's headquarters are no better at resisting the frozen apps than we are.
- Bacon Wrapped Scallops: Basalone's final recommendation is the one he can't even understand why they don't sell year-round: "When the last one is on the plate, you really find out how selfless people are."
- Grain d'Orge Cheese: There's brandy mixed into the cheese curds to make this soft cheese, explains Sloan, who loves it for the orange-ish hue on the rind that looks as good as it tastes.
- Toffee Pretzels: Miller suggests these, and the whole crew chimes in with their love (fantastic! Dangerous!), and Sloan even floats that they might become an everyday product.
- 10-Year Scotch from Ardmore Distillery: If that's what Ryan Scholtz, the category manager for beer and spirits loves, sign me up for a bottle.
- Pumpkin Biscotti, Peppermint Slims, the Almond Kringle, Pumpkin Bread Mix, Spiced Cider: Let's just say Kopelman isn't great at picking a single favorite product.
Have you tried any of these?