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Larry Greenly

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Trader Joe anecdote and a couple of questions

by Larry Greenly » Fri Oct 20, 2006 8:54 pm

I was at Trader Joe's today and experienced another case of: they really don't listen.

I frequently purchase a single bottle of beer at TJ so I can sample brands I've never tried, but this time, I didn't see any single bottles.

Me (pointing to shelves): Did you stop selling single bottles of beer?

Clerk: We have [six-packs] of cold ones in the rear.

Me: What does that have to do with single bottles of beer?

Clerk: What did you say?

Now for the questions:

I spied some Piave cheese wedges that appear to be a type of parmesan. What's your opinion of Piave?

I also noticed some bars of 72% dark chocolate bars made by Villars in Switzerland. Your opinion?
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Cynthia Wenslow

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Re: Trader Joe anecdote and a couple of questions

by Cynthia Wenslow » Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:13 pm

Even if I didn't know it was fact, Larry, I would know you are in New Mexico! I have had this kind of experience over and over here in Santa Fe lately.
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Larry Greenly

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Re: Trader Joe anecdote and a couple of questions

by Larry Greenly » Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:18 pm

It must be the altitude.
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Bob Ross

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Re: Trader Joe anecdote and a couple of questions

by Bob Ross » Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:45 pm

We've got two Trader Joe's within a few miles of our house, an old standby three miles away in Wayne and an new one on 17 North in Paramaus. The folks in Wayne are wonderfully knowledgeable and helpful -- we haven't found one clunker in the store in over six years.

I'm a little hestitant about trying the Paramus store for fear of running into the kind of employee you ran into. If it's related to elevation -- maybe it is -- the Wayne store is around 900 feet above sea level, the Paramus store around 500. Chicken feed in your world, I know.

In any event, the formaggio piave is a private label brand and Trader Joes is not too forthcoming about how it is made. In the Wayne store, it is not crystallized and not yet hard enough for grating. We find the flavor a blend of nuttiness of gruyere with the sweetness of gouda. An ok cheese, but we much prefer a Piave from an Italian deli, also in Wayne. They sell all three types, and each is delicious. Price is very close to the same $9.00 a pound for the medium aged version at both outlets. We always have some of the medium aged (and often the youngest) in the fridge -- so far, even my fussiest Rent-A-Kid couldn't resist this cheese.

We like the medium aged version best -- it is lovely right out of the fridge. And, if you don't use it up, it ages into a clone of aged Parmigiano Reggiano, great as a grated cheese on almost anything. The lady at the deli delights in correcting my pronunciation: pee-AH-veh she says, pea-AH-veh I say, and damned if I can hear what I'm doing wrong. :-(

On the chocolate front, our TJs sells Villars Swiss Milk Chocolate Bar for $1.69. Good price, but we like Vital Choice's Dark Chocolate which has several advantages: 80% [TJ is 62% if memory serves], Organic [I don't think Villars is], and Fair Trade Certified [again, Villars wasn't last time I checked]. People go nuts over the various pluses and minuses of chocolate, and I don't have a position.

But we buy from Vital Choice and eat an ounce a day very, very happily.

Regards, Bob

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