Hi! It is now February 4, 2018. I am now finally posting a post I wrote sometime in…May of 2017? I apologize profusely below. Did I really mean it?
So, it’s only May and I’ve blown it already, failed in my promise to post once per month. I have let all 10 of my readers down and I’m sorry. I will say that I started this post in April and then did not post it, which is possibly even worse. Sorry. Since it’s almost June, I’m going to make this a mega post to cover April and May, reviewing every freaking thing I have eaten in the last two months. I hope you can forgive me and I will try to resume monthly posts from here (2018 me narrates: “She didn’t.”) but full disclosure, I’m moving in June so don’t hold your breath. I feel a lot of posts in the fall (2018 me narrates: “There were no posts in the fall.”) Just, be patient with me.
Last month (15 months ago) something momentous happened on this blog: I got not one but TWO comments from entities that were not Russian spambots and/or my Facebook friends/family. One of the comments was not a comment but a CHALLENGE, suggesting….no, quite literally DARING me to try Stop & Shop’s new Toasted Coconut Gouda.
I immediately freaked out. I was well aware that Stop & Shop was currently pushing Toasted Coconut items. It is part of this thing they do where they make special displays with “Limited-Time items” featuring totally conventional and standard flavors. But, that said, I was NOT AWARE of COCONUT flavored CHEESE.
For perspective, I really should have known – Stop & Shop did this in fall with Pumpkin, and in December with Peppermint, which is how those wonderous goat cheeses came to be. In January, the flavor du jour was Chocolate. Yes, that’s right, Stop & Shop took it upon themselves to say “Let us introduce you to this taste sensation known as Chocolate. Here are some themed items to introduce you to Chocolate, the Next Big Thing.” And the display had chocolate cookies and cake and whatnot. I will admit that I did get a bit curious and tried the chocolate soda; it tasted like drinking a Tootsie Roll, and was immediately poured down the sink.
I guess I wasn’t really paying attention, because I was completely unaware that these flavor themes had spilled into cheese. NOBODY TOLD ME ABOUT THE CHEESE (except commenter Elaine L. Thank you, Elaine L. Sorry this took so long.) That apology was from 2017. Just checking in to apologize again from 2018.
I IMMEDIATELY went to my local Stop & Shop to hunt down this Toasted Coconut Gouda. This was a long and painful search, as this particular Stop&Shop amazingly has no less than four different areas where you can find cheese. There were Toasted Coconut items sprinkled throughout the store, taunting me. There were toasted coconut cookies in the meat section, toasted coconut cookie dough near the cream cheese, toasted coconut cereal abutting the frozen aisle, and toasted coconut cake mix opposite the seafood. I found toasted coconut-flavored water, and even toasted coconut flavored goat cheese, but there was no toasted coconut gouda.
The 2018 version of me is going to chime in here and say that around this time our rental housing situation got flipped turned upside down and we found ourselves somehow househunting with no preparation and no knowledge of how to do so…so, yeah, that was the end of the blogging for the rest of the year. But, I will say that this experience exposed us to a LOT of Stop & Shops. So many Stop & Shops. We stopped and shopped at every Stop & Shop we passed on each of our our Open House meccas, in search of this cheese. I am not lying when I say that we visited at least 10 different Stop & Shops in the Boston metro area looking for this cheese.
So first, here is a quick roll call of all the BS we found and tasted during the weeks we spent looking for this damned cheese:
- Toasted coconut and mango goat cheese – well, of course this is good
- Chocolate goat cheese – well, of course this is better than above
- Pumpkin spice gouda: Huge surprise, this pumpkin spice gouda is FOUL and DISGUSTING, the first pumpkin spice product I have ever encountered with these qualities. Run far far away from this.
- Ok, yeah, I know, I see the pattern and I made the connection. I am still looking for the chocolate gouda. No signs yet.
- Cheetos Sweetos Caramel Something or Other – a Cheetos Sweetos item not labeled as “Limited Edition!” My prayers answered! Please everyone buy and eat lots and lots of these so they don’t get discontinued. (2018 Me narrates: They have been discontinued).
- Thomas Brothers Limited Edition Maple English Muffins – Oh boy, These are satanically good. (2018 Me narrates: they altered the odor profile of our entire home and it took us four months to wean off of them).
- Trader Joe’s Honey Butter Potato Chips – Holy effing shit. Pause the coconut gouda post because these freaking potato chips are incredible. They probably deserve their own post but I am lazy, so here is a post within a post:
The Curious Shopper learned at a very early age what the best food in the world is. Do you know what the best food in the world is? I will tell you. The best food in the world is when you have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (raspberry jam, obv, because grape and strawberry are gross) and you cram as many sour cream and onion chips into it as you can and then you eat it like a boss. Because you are eight and you just created a pleasingly crunchy sweet and savory PB&J, and you are a BOSS and it can only get better from there. Not sure why all of these adorable little punks on Masterchef Junior haven’t figured this out yet, because eight year old me would run circles around them with my sour-cream-and-onion-stuffed PB&J sandwiches, ok? Terrific. Outstanding. Delicious. Anyways, these chips are that sandwich. They transport you back to simpler times, potato chips that are sweet and salty and for some reason even have the little green flecks of the SC&O. Magnificent. I love these chips so much that Trader Joe’s will probably discontinue them tomorrow and send all remaining bags on the shelves to the TJ’s graveyard with the champagne vinaigrette and the creamed kale. (2018 Me narrates: THEY ARE STILL THERE!!!!)
- Honey Jalapeno Potato Chips – After the TJs chips I was SO EXCITED about these. Boy oh boy, I do nothing but set myself up for disappointment. There is absolutely no honey to be found here, they are your standard jalapeno potato chips, indistinguishable from Ms. Vicks. Buddah snacks, you are on my last effing nerve I tell you what. Shove these in a PB&J sandwich or something, I don’t know. They aren’t sweet.
- Lays BLT Potato Chips: These are weird shapeshifters. Some taste like bacon. Some taste like mayonnaise. As someone who unabashedly loves both potato chips and mayonnaise, no one wants a potato chip that tastes like mayonnaise. No one. It’s unnerving.
- Lays Lime & Salt Potato Chips: I am a huge fan of the Limon chips you can for some reason only get in Mexico, so I was super excited about these. The day I tasted these my wife coincidentally brought home “Margarita” flavored cupcakes and TBH these chips were pretty funky and tasted more like the cupcakes than the limon chips, so they were kind of a bummer. My wife thought they were reminiscent of lime Trix.
On that note, I have a quick message for Lays: Let’s take a long hard look at what we’re doing here, Lays. Your new chips taste like lime Trix and mayonnaise. According to this blog post you are underperforming compared to coconut flavored cheese, Cheetos Sweetos, and whatever company’s castoff potato chips Trader Joe’s bought to resell. Not a good look. You can very quickly redeem yourself by getting those limon chips statesite. Or at least live your truth and rename the lime/salt chips margarita.
But all of these items are a distraction from the foundation of this post: the coconut gouda cheese. I finally found it! It was at the end of a horrible day when everything was going wrong, I went to the gym and then trodded into the Stop & Shop next door for my daily depressing check for the coconut gouda and it was actually there! 2018 Me narrates: “2017 was a rough year for me in a lot of ways, and it was a great feeling. Literally one of my best days of 2017. The day I found the coconut cheese. Yeah.” And it has been sitting in my fridge since APRIL 2017 and I am only reviewing it now (2018 Me narrates, “’now’ would be May, 2017”):
So, I like it. I don’t love it. I don’t have a ton to say about it, so I’m just going to state facts about it: (1) It oddly tastes really good paired with a meat (in this case I used turkey pepperoni). (2) It makes me want something coconut flavored that isn’t cheese. (3) It’s way better than the pumpkin gouda, which I never would have predicted. (4) It has a cute tropical rind. (5) That’s about it. I wouldn’t put it on a cheese board. I would probably never buy it again. But I can say I have tried it.
OK back to 2018! The wife and I are on Weight Watchers now (oprahisrightitworks). I simply CANNOT eat all things indiscriminately now, but that is OK. This blog possibly back, but is about to take a turn. Simply put, I will continue to try some things, but I am also finding and/or inventing BOMB low point recipes, and what better vehicle to share them?!
Look, don’t be sad, because it is probably for the best. I’ve tried it all, darlings. The chips are chips. The salty things taste pretty good combined with the sweet things, and vice versa. The cheeses…. are mostly bad. Time for something new!