This is a Trader Joe’s STAFF PICK favorite and I completely agree. TJ’s New Zealand Grass Fed Cheddar is an excellent cheese, a sharp cheddar aged from 6-12 months. This cheese is one of my favorite cheeses that TJ’s carries, and I buy this almost every time I go to Trader Joe’s as it goes rather quickly in our house. This cheddar has just the right amount of tang if you are a fan of a sharp cheddar, good for both adults and kids. The other standout cheddars at TJ’s are the CABOT VERMONT EXTRA SHARP and of course UNEXPECTED CHEDDAR. You can not go wrong with any of these cheddar cheeses but I do like the fact that this New Zealand cheese is “grass fed” meaning from milk from those contended Kiwi cows munching away on grass if they anything like the ones in this picture! This cheese is great by itself, on a cracker, in a sandwich, with fruit, and it’s superb melted. Grilled cheese sandwich, omelets, in a pizza, tacos… it’s especially fantastic melted. You can just give me a Granny Smith apple, a hunk of this cheese and a knife and I will be almost as contented as one of the Kiwi cows.

Update: It used to be 5.99 / lb but unfortunately the price has gone up 50 cents to $6.49 / lb (April 2022)



UPDATE: (July 2022) Discontinued …. ?

Another excellent premium butter on offer at Trader Joe’s!

Trader Joe’s now carries three premium imported butters, a French butter, an Irish butter and just recently I saw this one, from New Zealand no less. New Zealand is pretty famous for its food products. I happen to love the New Zealand Extra Sharp cheddar cheese that TJ carries, it’s terrific and it’s even a Trader Joe’s team favorite. So I was happy to see this Kiwi butter. When I first opened the package I was struck by the deep yellow color (it may be hard for the actual color come through in my picture). Trader Joe’s says on the package that “it’s made for us on the South Island of New Zealand from grass fed cows”. I am imagining something like this picture from there?

Cattle graze in front of New Zealand, North Island, Mount Taranaki Credit: Getty

Boy that’s nice scenery so perhaps those cows are very contented and making lovely (grass-fed) milk. When I tasted this butter I was impressed. It’s very gently salted, a bit less than TJ’s French butter. It has a lovely sweet aroma and tastes great. The color is beautiful, so yellow. It was delicious when I spread some on some warm bread. Wonderful when I put it on pancakes the next morning. Wonderful when I made an omelet with it. It was just great cooking with it. This is a truly premium butter and I was as impressed with this Kiwi butter as I am of all 3 imported premium butters TJ sells. Each one is excellent in it’s own right. I have tried tasting one then another to see which is “best” but each one is of such high quality, I can’t really put one over another. They are all excellent premium butters and and each makes you think “now this is what butter should taste like”.

If you were impressed by the French Cultured butter or the Kerrygold Irish butter TJ sells, you will be also impressed by the New Zealand butter, which might be the only one made from completely grass fed milk. Of course imported butter costs more than TJ’s regular butter, maybe double? This NZ one is a wee bit cheaper than the French and Irish butters. The NZ butter costs $3.29 for an 8 oz package. If I can save a little bit on an imported butter, that’s great, so this New Zealand butter will probably be on my shopping list from now on as my first pick of the “special butters”. I never used to buy imported butter, just too expensive. However thanks to Trader Joe’s decent prices for them I now regularly buy two kinds of butter for our fridge. One “normal everyday” butter plus one of the imported “Special butters for that premium butter taste where it really counts (like my morning toasted bagel). One final thing. I read somewhere that the New Zealand butter is the only one TJ sells where 100% of the milk is from “grass fed cows”.


TJ’s Tea Tree Hand Wash Soap

(post written at the start of the Corona Virus pandemic)

Clearly these are trying times. So I have to say its nice to find something that seems to help during these times, and this soap actually helps, well me at least. Whenever I wash my hands with this soap,  which is often, the most lovely odor of tea tree oil hits my nose a second later, and I just find the aroma very comforting, and very calming. Seriously – This stuff is helping my mental state in some small way. Aromatherapy perhaps? And should I add I’m a straight male!? Seriously folks, this Tea Tree hand wash soap has the most amazing aroma. It’s a kind of “medicinal” smell, in a good way, that is wonderful and comforting every time you use it. Using this heavenly soap will no doubt make you feel slightly better and more relaxed as soon as that tea tree oil smell hits your nose. Plus the Aloe and oils in the hand wash will keep your hands from drying out from all the hand washing we’re doing! Tea tree oil has its own antibacterial properties. The soap is a “Product of New Zealand”, and that sounds good to me too. Label says “Cleanse and invigorates the senses” – it really does. The whole bathroom smells good after you washed up with this.

Seriously if you can find this in your Trader Joe’s, be sure to grab yourself a bottle (but just one please, leave one for the next person) It cost about $4.50 a bottle, and mine is seeming to last quite a while as a little squirt of this liquid soap goes a long way.

It says for hands but I have used it on my face too, as well as in the shower. Just be sure to dilute it a lot as tea tree oil can sting if you have very sensitive skin.