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Why does Trader Joe's pasta taste sweet? [moved from General Chowhounding board]

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I have eaten Trader Joe's pasta on several occasions, and I know that it is rated very highly, but every time I eat it I can taste a hint of nutmeg or something sweet. Does anyone else taste something similar, or know what it could be?

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  1. I thought it was just me.

    I've tried several shapes of Trader Joe's pasta and found them all to be somehow sweet. Not really sugary sweet but with sweet undertones that are very off putting to me. I threw out several packages as I just did not like them - and I NEVER throw away food. As I recall, there's nothing in the ingredients to account for this.

    2 Replies
    1. re: missybean

      It only said that there's 2 grams of sugars in it, but I doubt that would give it such a sweet flavor.

      1. re: marmighty

        I don't use TJ's pasta but my package of Italian dry pasta says 1g of sugar. 2g may not sound like a lot but if it's double what you're used to it could well taste sweet.

    2. Weird...I don't think I have ever noticed. Is it a specific type, or is it just the standard plain pasta? I usually buy the flavored ones at TJ, but I have picked up their plain papardelle occasionally.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jemon

        it was just the regular penne, it said it wasn't flavored, but it definitely tasted like nutmeg or something that was sweet.

      2. I bought TJ's Spaghetti today and DEFINITELY noticed sweetness, and with very strange, distinctive cinnamon undertones. Not a fan. I thought I was going crazy until I found this post! They just opened a new TJ's in my neighborhood and I was very excited about having an alternative to Whole Foods, but I have to say that I'm kind of disappointed with the quality of some of the items I've purchased, all of which I chose for their low price. I guess price really does matter!

        2 Replies
        1. re: foodie71

          Maybe this is in their new Cincinnati line of sauces. Apart from cinnamon, did you sense any clove?

          <<big grin>>

          1. re: Tripeler

            And did the meat appear to have been thoroughly boiled before being mixed with the sauce?

        2. I noticed this, too! And only recently - in the past year or so (after buying exclusively TJs pasta for years). Initially thinking maybe it was the organic pasta, last time I bought non-organic - same nutmeg-y taste. (The whole wheat (organic) does not seem to have the taste.) I find it so off-putting (nutmeg does not go well with everything!), I have decided I can no longer rely on TJ pasta and will not buy it anymore. (but what to buy now instead?)

          1. Yes! I made a confit with a nice chunk of local albacore and garlic and tossed it with split cherry tomatoes and TJ's farfalle. The nutmeg flavor in the pasta ruined the dish.

            1. Yes! I noticed this too! I made a batch of American Chop Suey with TJs pasta. I thought the meat I used was bad and couldn't eat hambuger for months after. I later realized that it was the pasta. I have stopped buying it because I think the sweet-ish flavor is horrible. YUCK!

              1. Old thread but I thought I'd search before starting my own--

                --I have now tried 5 different pastas over the course of the last 6 months and they have ALL had this flavor flaw. My description is that they taste as if they'd been stored or shipped in a containerwith herbal tea. It is a strong off-taste and it really ruins it for me. The first time i wrote off as a fluke but now it is clear that there's something odd. This has been with long pasta and with small shapes. Weird. No more.

                2 Replies
                1. re: JonL

                  no, you're not crazy. Drives me nuts. I think it's a preservative or dough conditioner... it's in TJ's dried pastas and some flour tortillas as well.. I remember tasting it in a bite of a bean burrito from Taco Bell my kids had.

                  I never taste in in Barilla or DiCecco pastas. The TJs dried pastas are just awful.

                  1. re: Chezstacey

                    So happy to see this thread. I can not stand the dried pasta from TJ's

                2. Awful, ain't it? The first time, I thought it was my pan. The second time I pinned it on the pasta itself. Who the heck wants cinnamon-toast pasta? Simply vile.

                  1. I had noticed a while back that it had started to cook up mushy on the outside and mostly stopped buying it in favor of de Cecco or Barilla or Creamettes. Ids the cinnamon/nutmeg taste a new addition?

                    1. Google "pasta and cinnamon" or "pasta and nutmeg". You'll find many people linking the taste to the Trader Joe's dried pastas. All of them. Like MplsMary, at first I thought it might be my pans. Then I bought all new Cuisinart pans. I am with missybean... I threw out all the Trader's Joe's pastas and I am now buying higher end tried-and-true Italian labels of pasta even though I have to pay a little more. Your dishes are only as good as all of your base ingredients. Trader Joe's blows.

                      1. I've decided it has to do with the wheat that is used.
                        By date, origin?
                        Sometimes I can taste it in breads, tortillas-not always TJ's!