Food · Reviews

Trader Joe’s Crackers, Ranked

A Definitive Ranking of Trader Joe’s Rosemary Raisin Cracker Variations

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We here at Handcrapted HQ have been known to partake in a cracker or two.  They’re basically a cheese delivery vehicle, so they need to be sturdy enough to stand up to whatever puck of Grocery Outlet Bargain Market goodness I decide to splash my $3.99 on.  Or $2.99.  Or $.99.  (Trust that the cheese acquired for less than a dollar is worthy of its own post.)  Anyway!  That extra dollar savings can best be put to use on an upgraded Carb Shovel.

As a general rule, I believe that packaged snack food should have the most possible flavors all at once.  If I want some bougie nonsense, I can cook it myself with grass-fed olive dribblins in a cast iron purgatorium.  If I’m buying chips, I want the ones that taste like lime AND spicy AND cheese AND.  When Lays has some contest to make the most horrifying chimera of chemical flavors, you bet your dear sweet Pep Pep that’s the one I’m going to pick.  It’s a value proposition, and I value FLAVORS.

That said, I don’t think that crackers or chips should have “wet” flavors.  Like hummus.  That’s what hummus is for.  It’s wet, and you put it on a cracker.  Same deal for salsa.  Wet things shouldn’t become dry flavors for chips.

What’s the point?  Well, this is where Trader Joe’s comes in.  The Teej has made their money pandering to the whims of people who look at recipes on the internet, sigh heavily, and then eat a freezer pizza with trappings of festive arugula.  It’s fine.  They’ve found a niche in producing crackers with perverse combinations of flavors, and sometimes that works out well, and sometimes it doesn’t.  If they think they’re going to get away with charging the princely fee of $3.99 an unscrutinized box, they have another thing comin’.

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The crackers we’re about to discuss cost a whopping $3.99 for a Scroogely quantity.  Read this, and save yourself.  Let’s get to it, people.

  1. Raisin Rosemary Crisps:  These are the original, and the best.  They are slightly herby, but not like eating a dessicated nub of Thanksgiving stuffing, which is where herbed things can go pretty quickly.  The raisins, which are usually the shoebutton eyes of the Dark Lord Himself, are pleasantly sweet.
  2. Seeded Mango and Ginger Crisps:  Sweeter yet, the ginger is still bitey enough to make these feel pleasantly challenging.  The seeds don’t do much except provide roughage for your lower digestive.  These are a seasonal item, so look for them again in the summer.  They haven’t got enough versatility to bump the the originals from the top spot, but we still got through a box or two of them on the patio with marginal brie.
  3. Fig and Olive:  These have that sweet/savory thing, but the withered figs and olives are hard as rocks.  They are favored by dentists, because dentists want you to wreck your chompers and fund their next boat.
  4. Pistachio and Pomegranate:  Super sweet, these crackers won’t play nice with others, unless you like to slice off laffy taffys in place of cheese.  Nope.
  5. Pumpkin Cranberry:  The abrasive spices sandpaper the surface of your tongue like a steroidal Starbucks beverage.  The cranberries whimper.  These are an affront to the senses.

Please send me your bad opinions on this topic.

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