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What would you put in a Trader Joe's gift basket?

I'm in Texas, and have only made the drive to one of their newly opened stores twice.... so I'm not that familiar with it, although I loved several of the items I bought.

I want to take a gift basket of goodies to my family in another state with NO Trader Joe;s, as they are quite envious. .... what should I include that is either the best or most quintessential of Trader Joe's?

***Caveat is that I can either mail items with their other Christmas presents or carry it with me on the plane (obviously that limits certain items like liquids over 3oz), and assemble the basket once I'm there.

Appreciate your input!

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  1. i would say pumpkin butter but since you're carrying on i would do an assortment of chocolates or the chocolate covered Joe's and maybe some nuts. i haven't purchased their nuts in a very long time so i can't speak to which are the best.

    1. I would include your personal favorites as well as items you can't find elsewhere (at least not for comparable quality and/or price), and perhaps some seasonal items-- all while keeping their personal preferences in mind.

      Some of my favorites:
      - COOKIE BUTTER!!!!!*
      - Dark chocolate peanut butter cups (these will ruin reeses for you, forever)
      - pumpkin butter*
      - peppermint Joe Joes
      - baked jalapeno cheese crunchies
      - dried fruit (dried white peaches are delicious as is just mango)
      - nuts (Thai chili lime cashews if they like heat, sesame honey cashews or almonds or pecan pralines if they like sweet)
      - caramel black sea salt chocolate bar
      - triple ginger snaps (one of the best selling cookies)

      These are all sweet/snacky items but you could.also include items such as sweet hot mustard*, red quinoa ($3.99/1lb bag!), truffle-flavored olive oil ($4.99)*, etc! Just think about what you consider worth braving the crowds for, and you can't go wrong.

      *considered liquids

      3 Replies
      1. re: ohmyyum

        +1 on the Triple Ginger Snaps.

        I ADORE them!

        THey are also grand with brie.

        1. re: happybaker

          Wow had not occurred to me to pair the ginger snaps with brie! Genius!

          1. re: ohmyyum

            Can't take the credit - a caterer I worked for more years ago than I want to admit did that for parties. We workers got to take home the leftovers. Divine!

            She used gingersnaps like annas (the flat thin ones). I have to say - the TJ ones are even better!

      2. chocolate covered cherries...

        1. -Use a Trader Joe's greeting card
          -Small Cinnamon Broom
          -Sea salt Grinder
          -Cinnamon Almonds
          -Dried Cranberries or Mango
          -Almond butter or Cookie butter (just for the novelty)
          -Mini's PB Cups
          -Smoked Salmon Trio (although I haven't tried it--just want to!)
          -Chipotle Garlic Salsa (with chips if room provides space)
          -Small bag Caramel Corn
          -Dark chocolate Covered Joe-Joe's
          -Dark chocolate covered coffee beans

          1 Reply
          1. re: GraceW

            PS. ABSOLUTE FAVORITE ITEM for years...
            --Jar of Garlic Marinated Mushrooms

          2. recommendations from our family (most are from Mom & Sis, my personal recommendations are starred):
            - Pound Plus chocolate bars*
            - Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Almonds
            - Astounding Multi-Flavored Chocolate Covered Jo-Jos
            - Dark Chocolate Mint Cremes
            - Chile Dried Mango
            - Pumpkin Butter
            - Dijon Mustard*
            - Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Wafer Cookies

            and i know the Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins, Speculoos Cookie Butter & Peppermint Pretzel Slims get *a lot* of love here on CH.

            you'd have to mail the jarred stuff (or pack it in a checked bag), but everything else is okay to carry on the plane.

            2 Replies
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Good Health, what are these dark chocolate covered peanut butter wafer cookies you speak of??????
              Multi-flavored Joe Joes are done for the season at my TJs. I believe they lasted all of 2 days, if that. I am bummed I didn't get to try them!

              1. re: ohmyyum

                wow on the Astounding Jo-Jos. i gave Mom & Sis the heads-up that i spotted them here in LA the day after Thanksgiving and told them to stock up pronto as they only got 2 boxes last year. i have to call and make sure they got some!

                these are the wafer cookies:

                Mom & Sis also loved these, but i don't know if they're still around:

            2. If they drink tea, a box of English Breakfast, which is especially good as iced tea.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jay F

                marcona almonds (with rosemary and sea salt) Excellent to serve with holiday drinks
                apricot leather

              2. As house gifts I'm taking the Trader Joe's stollen and sipping chocolate - no refrigeration needed. If I were doing a basket, other favorites in it would include sweet potato bisque, fresh cherry preserves, ratatouille, and the Indian Fare Madras lentil and Punjab eggplant.

                1. dark peanut butter cups....I will not keep these in the house because I can make myself sick on them.
                  Social Crackers...buttery rich
                  dried fruit.
                  Fleur de Sel Caramels, individually wrapped, that come in a lovely box

                  1. I LOVE these suggestions.... some of these items sound amazing, and I didnt even know they existed yet! (I'll look for them next visit!) Thank you all!

                    1. -- brown rice medley
                      -- smoked sea salt in a grinder bottle
                      -- thai chili lime cashews
                      -- chocolate almonds turbinado sugar & sea salt
                      -- dark choc covered pretzels
                      -- triple ginger snaps
                      -- dried montmorecy cherries

                      -- muscat orange champagne vinegar
                      -- roasted red pepper-eggplant spread

                      1. In the seasonings section, they have grinders with cocoa nibs, cinnamon and sugar, and another one I can't remember now. These were a hit in my hostess basket at Thanksgiving.

                        1. I bought 5 pkgs of their white chocolate chips today.
                          simply because I'd heard they're the best white chocolate chips around period, we'll see.
                          oh and they're seasonal, so bought them so I could include them in 5 different cookie recipes.
                          boy I hope they stack up to their reputation.

                          their nut butters
                          olive oil
                          white balsamic vinegar
                          dried blueberries
                          Christmas coffee roast

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: iL Divo

                            The white chocolate chips are great.

                            Other suggestions:
                            Fried onions (better version of French's in same type canister, if not already sold out. They come in for Thanksgiving and I missed the window of opportunity this year)
                            English Cheddar with Caramelized Onions

                            21 Seasoning Salute, a salt-free blend
                            12-Grain Crackers
                            Fresh Raspberry Preserves (17oz jar; blueberry also good
                            Tomato Paste tubes (way cheaper than Amore and just as good)
                            Truffle oil (imitation but good)
                            Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup (quart tetrapak)
                            Cream of Mushroom soup concentrate tetrapak
                            Whipping Cream tetrapak
                            (all the tetrapaks are shelf-stable)

                          2. Salted caramels, maple sugar, macadamia nuts, toasted sesame oil, smoked sea salt, any of the pasta sauces, chocolate thumbprint cookies, parmesan cheese (dry cheeses will travel well), the pate with mushrooms, and the dark chocolate covered shortbread stars.

                            1. 21 Seasoning Salute. I ship it regularly to Joe-less friends all over the country.

                              Chipotle Salsa, if you are shipping. It won't make it past TSA.

                              If you can find them - my two local stores restocked last month and they, sigh, are gone again - the Bite Size Everything Crackers are so good. The Pita Bite Crackers are also great.

                              1. Thai yellow curry sauce (shelf stable). If they have the smooth non-granulated candied ginger.

                                1. Rosemary Raisin Crisp crackers

                                  I might have a go at the mustard gift pack they have for the holidays

                                  I like the Thai chili lime-whatever nuts they have (it's changed over the years)