Consider Us Cupid

February 08, 2016 in Category: Entertaining

As Valentine’s approaches, consider us your Cupid. Drawing from our quiver of comestibles, Joe’s bow is sending nine darts to target the heart—seven you eat, two you won’t. These Valentines will stir up flirtations, curate courtships, kindle the flames… maybe make a little mischief.


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Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

1. Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with (PINK!) Buttercream Frosting

We know what you’re thinking—this isn’t 2012… But, come on, if there is anything we learned over the last decade and a half (or so), these petite, frosted pastries are prone to inspire inconceivable love affairs. So, yes—cupcakes! Trader Joe’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting are unimaginably gluten free—moist with a rich chocolate bite. And the vanilla buttercream is dreamy. Plus, in the spirit of this sweetheart holiday, we’ve colored it with beet juice to make it pink. Cute. $3.99 for each package of 4, these cupcakes really do inspire a lot of love!


Tip of the Arrow: Fine with pink wine. (See 8. Josefina Syrah Rosé)


Smoked Sardines in Olive Oil

2. Lightly Smoked Sardines in Olive Oil

It might be coincidence that the family name for sardines—Clupeidae—closely resembles the name of the god of desire—Cupid. But we don’t think so. Trader Joe’s Lightly Smoked Sardines in Olive Oil make one of the sexiest tinned Valentines ever (move over, oysters). These pilchards come from a small fishing village on the southern coast of Portugal. They are cozily packed in olive oil that delivers an alluring, delicately smoky flavor. You know what they say, where there are Lightly Smoked Sardines, there is a fiery Valentine. Well, they should. Each glamorously pink 4.25 ounce (three ounce drained weight) tin is a smokin' $1.69.


Tip of the Arrow: Nestle them on top of Pita Bite Crackers spread with a bit of Boursin® or just hand your lover a fork.


USDA Choice Premium Angus Beef Filet Mignon Steak

3. USDA Choice Premium Angus Beef
Filet Mignon Steak

Trader Joe’s “meat cute” is cut to create delectable moments for romantic couples to connect.  Taken from the smallest end of the tenderloin, a non-weight bearing muscle, the filet has significantly less connective tissue, making it the most tender and, arguably, most desirable steak. It’s also very lean—with minimal fat marbling—so the flavor is true to the beef. Season simply, sear on each side (the sides included), and then transfer it to an oven (low heat) to finish cooking.  We couldn’t stage an endearingly romantic moment any better, especially for $21.99 per pound.


Tip of the Arrow:  Sexy up the serving with our Muhammara (walnut-based dip) or wrap the filet in bacon before cooking.


Cambozola Blue Cheese

4. Blue Cambozola

Feeling blue? Definitely not alone. We feel Blue Cambozola is as ideal for the coupled as it is for the lonely hearts. It is a triple cream, camembert-style pasteurized cow's milk cheese with subtle, sultry blue veining, after all. The rich creaminess of the soft-ripened cheese carries the blue Penicillium roqueforti molding like a call and response.  Soft and silky, mellow and earthy, lingering as it melts in your mouth; it draws you right in, whether you want to revel or bemoan.  Regardless your current status, you’ll feel pretty good after delving into this Blue, especially at our price of $11.99 per pound.


Tip of the Arrow: Serve with slices of crusty baguette, dried apricots and some classics on vinyl. Accompany with a glass of Shiraz or stout.


Coconut Body Butter

5. Coconut Body Butter

Nothing communicates how much you care like a balm for chapped elbows. While it’s called “Butter” and smells delicious, the applications for this soften-up-your-Valentine are corporeal. And we’ll just leave it at that. Thick and luscious, Trader Joe’s Coconut Body Butter is made with skin-soothing ingredients, like coconut oil, shea butter, aloe vera, and vitamin E. Infused with extracts of grapefruit, orange, rosemary, lemon peel and marshmallow, it’s lovely.  While you could spend $20 in specialty stores for comparable products with similar ingredients—why? At $5.49 for each eight ounce jar, our Coconut Body Butter wins hearts while softening elbows.


Tip of the Arrow: At the risk of awkwardly overstepping, we recommend presenting this Valentine in the delivery of a heel massage.


Sriracha Hummus

6. Sriracha Hummus

Opposites do attract. If you believe that, then Trader Joe’s Sriracha Hummus might be your ideal Valentine. The smooth, creamy hummus (made with premium garbanzo beans) is blended with hot, kicky sriracha. When these contrasting counterparts come together, things start to heat up. It’s a desirable (and tolerable) heat—just edgy enough to produce passion, mostly for dipping but also for spreading. Serve it to your significantly different other and let the sparks fly. And while you may not agree on everything, you and your Valentine will definitely agree that at $1.99 for each eight ounce tub, Sriacha Hummus is a hot buy.


Tip of the Arrow: Keep the contrasts coming, serve it with celery ribs and soft pita pieces. Or slather it on a hamburger and make it part of a hearty meal.


Dozen Roses

7. Roses

“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose."  Stein’s view may be valid, but on Valentine’s Day, Roses are actually more than just roses. They are friendship. They are flirting. They are love.  Grown in Colombia, our colorful collection of $12.99 Dozen Roses is ready to romance.  Arranged with elegant greens for contrast, each bouquet presents beautifully. If you want to convey a special message using floriography, then consider these traditional meanings: white (true love, purity), yellow (friendship, joy), orange (desire, appreciation), lavender (enchantment, love at first sight), green (cheerfulness, life), pink (love, gratitude), and/or red (“I love you”).


Tip of the Arrow: Scatter the petals in a heart-shaped pattern, but only after you’ve enjoyed the blooms as they ornament your table for two.


Josefina Syrah Rosé

8. Josefina Syrah Rosé

Que Syrah, Syrah... Why leave it up to fate? Let this coy, blushing rosé determine what will be for your Valentine. It’s finely honed character comes from 100% Syrah grapes, grown in Paso Robles, that are crushed, destemmed, and then “cold soaked” for 12 hours. Bled off (saignée) into stainless steel tanks, it ferments at 60ºF for several weeks, preserving its delicate aromas of rose petals and strawberries. The careful vinification culls tart acidity mid palate and a finish that is crisp, like a new romance. Josefina Syrah Rosé is a perfect pre-meal primer or complement to dessert. At just $5.99 (or per market)* for each 750ml bottle, why not take a chance?


Tip of the Arrow:  Pink and lovely in a flute, accent with fresh raspberries or cocktail it à la French 75 (with gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup). 

* Josefina Syrah Rosé is currently available in Trader Joe's stores where wine is sold. It is $5.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here – AZ, CA, CO, ID, NV, OR, WA: $4.99 –  AL: $6.49 – OH, NH: $6.99. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.


Pound Plus Dark Chocolate Bar

9. 72% Dark Chocolate Pound Plus Bar;

Bittersweet, but definitely more sweet than bitter. With a minimum of 72% Cocoa Solids, this Pound Plus of Dark Chocolate provokes intense feelings of desire. In fact, feelings about it are so penetrating; some have penned prose in its honor. We’re talking serious Valentine material here. The strikingly red package certainly helps. Made in a small town outside of Antwerp by world-renowned chocolatiers, this bar is quality. Weighing in at 500 grams - 1.6 ounces more than a pound - this bar is significant. Rich, with a bittersweet bite, it eats like Love… Love… Love… Love… Speaking of L.O.V.E., each bar is $4.99.


 Tip of the Arrow:  Sign the vibrant package with your affections and call it a pound plus a card.


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Tags: Chocolate, Valentine's Day, Sweet tooth, Spicy, Flowers, Sweets, Rosé, Dark Chocolate, Beauty, blue cheese