Fall is officially here, so it’s time for yet another snack roundup of our favorite new grocery store items! This time around we won’t just be focusing on the latest snacks that have caught our eye and kept our stomachs satisfied, but also on products that speak to the spooky season we’re about to enter. So expect some horror-themed treats and a whole lot of pumpkin-infused snacks. If you’re living in a part of the country that’s still pretty warm — we’re looking at you Southwest, Midwest, and the stormy South — and you’re not exactly feeling the cozy spirit of autumn, we’ve got a few sweet treats that’ll keep you cool as your marinate in the final days of the hot season.
Hopefully, our list will give you a good idea of what’s out there on shelves right now and whether it’s worth buying, this way you don’t have to take any Ls trying the latest foods. Does that mean over the past couple of weeks we’ve had a bunch of really bad snacks that seemed like good ideas but failed to deliver? You better believe we have! But you won’t see the duds today — we’re in the winner’s circle, baby!
Price: $15.90 (2-pack)
Texas Longhorns running back Bijan Robertson’s name is vaguely similar to the words “Dijon Mustard,” so he went ahead and created his very own mustard and called it Bijan Mustardson, — wouldn’t you do the same? But this isn’t just a fun vanity project that plays on a famous person’s name, Bijan is a true mustard lover and he teamed up with top-quality chefs to produce it and it shows.
Bijan Mustardson has that distinct bold sharp and slightly spicy flavor of a good dijon, but by using apple cider vinegar in place of typical white vinegar, it has an earthier, sweeter, and slightly less tangy aftertaste, allowing you to better zero in on the depth of flavor it offers.
It’s a great mustard, we look forward to how it performs in a blind taste test.
Kellog’s Hocus Pocus 2 Cereal
This year the Disney Classic Hocus Pocus is getting a sequel, which is dope if you have a lot of nostalgia for the original, but if you don’t, like me (it’s fine), the idea that the franchise is getting a cereal is a lot more exciting.
I probably won’t watch Hocus Pocus 2, but I’ll eat a specially branded cereal in a second! The Hocus Pocus 2 flavor is listed as ‘Berry Brew,’ so if you don’t like fruit cereals this isn’t for you. The cereal features a strong berry-forward smell and flavor with star-shaped pieces in yellow, orange, and purple, meant to match the three Sanderson sisters’ hair.
Berry-flavored cereals are nothing new so you can expect this to taste a lot like Froot Loops, but with a darker berry flavor. It has less of the citrus-y notes of Froot Loops, making this come across as slightly sweeter, but it pairs with milk a whole lot better than Froot Loops. Overall, I think it’s one of the best berry-flavored cereals.
Sir Kensington’s Chipotle Mayonnaise
Generally, I think mayo is unjustifiably hated by way too many people, which is ridiculous because mayo can infuse a lot of savory goodness into meals and makes for a great sauce base. I almost always like mayo with something mixed in it, and luckily Sir Kensington does that for us with its very delicious, smokey, and sweetly spicy chipotle mayo.
The Chipotle Mayonnaise features smokey notes courtesy of a mix of chipotle peppers and smoked paprika, with cumin and black pepper adding more earthy complexity to this blend of smoked and savory flavors.
Use it on your next homemade chicken sandwich.
Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Cakes
If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to elevate your Thanksgiving dinner this year (yes, we know it’s only September) then look no further than Trader Joe’s new Pumpkin Stick Toffee Cakes. This tiny microwaveable cake is bursting with rich autumnal flavors, offering a pumpkin and brown sugar-forward flavor further sweetened with dates and subtly floral caramel sauce.
Despite being frozen and then microwaved, the cake itself comes out unbelievably moist, and its mixture of pumpkin spice and cinnamon really speak to the season, even though I live in LA where it’s f*cking 80 degrees outside still.
The Toffee Cakes aren’t going to be better than a fresh homemade pie, but it’ll save you some time while you’re planning your big dinner, which allows you to focus on the true star of Thanksgiving: the sides.
Sweety Mochi Ube Purple Yam
People will swear by green tea mochi and we get it, it’s delicious, but if you want a truly transformative experience for your tastebuds, it’s gotta be ube baby! Ube has this distinct sweet and nutty flavor that tastes amazing translated into ice cream.
Sweety is an AAPI family-owned and operated ice cream brand and they nail the consistency of their mochi. It’s not quite as spongey as fresh mochi, but it’s pillowy and soft with a rich and creamy ice cream center that works as the perfect bite-sized dessert.
Loisa Flavor Trio Combo
Okay so this isn’t exactly a snack or a sauce (one of them is), but these three seasonings, made by Loisa brand using organic ingredients, will seriously level-up your kitchen game, opening up a world of distinct flavors to season your best meals.
If you’re unfamiliar with sazón, adobo or sofrito, let us break it down for you. Sazón is a Puerto Rican staple that blends spices including cumin, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and coriander, with achiote giving it a distinct red color. The flavor adds a savory smack of fragrant earthy flavors that pair excellently with just about any meat in a marinade, stews and soups, and rice.
Adobo is slightly less flexible and adventurous but features a similar and simpler blend of salt, garlic, turmeric, black pepper, and oregano and works wonders in a pot of fresh beans, stews, and on fresh grilled veggies.
As great as Sazón and Adobo are, sofrito is where it’s at. It’s commonly referred to as “Spanish pesto,” I don’t think that’s really a fair descriptor for what this flavor-packed sauce is. It’s way spicier and more pungent than pesto (which isn’t spicy at all so I don’t get the comparison) made from ajicito dulce peppers, with tomatoes, bell pepper, onions, lemon juice, olive oil, cilantro, cilantro, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and turmeric — offering a bouquet of spicy and earthy flavors, with a fresh vegetal aftertaste that adds a whole lot of depth to anything you put it on.
Like sazón and adobo, sofrito works amazingly on meat, stews, and beans. You don’t have to get these seasonings from Loisa, but what makes this brand special is the organic ingredient sourcing and lack of preservatives and artificial colors and flavors. It tastes homemade, and with these spices, that’s the best way to enjoy them.
Trader Joe’s — Salted Maple Ice Cream
Have I been sleeping on Trader Joe’s ice cream? I didn’t even know the market had ice cream (when I think ice cream, I just don’t think TJ’s!) but once I saw this seasonal treat, I knew I had to try it. Sweetened with real maple-syrup and balanced out with a hint of sea salt, the Salted Maple ice cream is creamy, rich, and offers a sort of overwhelming maple cream flavor.
While I think this is a little much to eat on its own, once you trick it out a bit it works as a great base for mix-ins. Throw your favorite nuts and some granola in there, and this ice cream becomes a decadent next-level snack. My favorite low-budget hack is eating it on a freshly toasted Eggo (I don’t have a waffle maker, I imagine a real waffle would taste even better) with a sprinkling of cinnamon on top and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Try it, and then thank us in the comments.
EDITOR’S PICK: Mercado Famous — Charcuterie Newbie
Price: $29.95 for Jamon Iberico
The packaged goods revolution has been really great for diners. You can get ingredients these days that someone without serious vendor relationships couldn’t even access a decade ago. In 2022, you can order A5 Japanese Wagyu and Jamón Iberico online to arrive at your door in days.
Speaking to the latter (and all of Mercado Famous’ cured meats), the quality of those internet-ordered fine foods is absolutely impeccable. These feel, taste, look, and smell just like what you would find in the markets of Spain. The entire sensory experience is on point, especially if you take the jamón out of the fridge, plate it, and let it warm up a tad before eating. It’s at its most aromatic that way.
I try not to be overly influenced by packaging but it is nice that this product looks upscale because… well, it is upscale. You want people to know how special it is when you give it to them and I think that definitely translates with the Mercado Famous. Value-wise, go for the La Familia, which comes with all the essentials and gives you $10 off.
Bottom Line: The hyped around this product is deserved. It’s rapidly becoming the go-to dinner party gift in LA and NYC for a reason.