We all know I love Trader Joe’s. It’s no secret. I always find something new and tasty when I shop there. I’ve also noticed that they started printing a categorized shopping list in their Fearless Flyer so you can check off which new items you’re interested in and just take the little list shopping with you. Genius! Not only does it make shopping more convenient for me, it also makes me buy more because I’m not forgetting what I want the second I step foot in the store.
I have always been a fan of the frozen creme brulee at Trader Joe’s. Two little ceramic dishes full of rich, creamy goodness that only need to be defrosted, sprinkled with sugar, and torched until carmelized.
Well, let me tell you that the panna cotta is even better.
Panna cotta is generally made with cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, and gelatin. Essentially, you’re making cream jello, but it’s rich and silky smooth and oh-so-decadent. There are variations that use yogurt, in an attempt to reduce the fat content and allow you to indulge more often, and they’re good versions but nothing like the full-fat kind. It’s like eating creme brulee versus a pudding cup. Umm, okay, maybe it’s more like eating apple pie with flaky crust versus eating a baked apple. Both are good, both are sweet, both are satisfying (in their own way), but the apple pie is just more comforting and yummy.
One of the best panna cottas I have had happened to be on a cruise ship. T and I cruised to Mexico from San Diego (making for a very convenient vacation) and splurged to have lunch in the “upscale” ship restaurant. I happen to be a fan of cruise food anyway (dining room, not buffet), and perhaps everything seemed extra special because we were the only ones in the restaurant that day, but it was a truly enjoyable lunch. One of the dessert choices was panna cotta, which I thought I’d try, since everything else had been so wonderful. It was smooth and creamy, not too firm, with the richness of vanilla cream but not overpowering.
Trader Joe’s Panna Cotta blows the cruise ship panna cotta out of the water, no pun intended. You do need to let it defrost for almost 2 hours in the fridge, but you don’t have to invert it onto a plate unless you’re serving company and want it to look fancy. If it’s just you, feel free to eat it, one spoonful at a time, going from the peach side to the blueberry side and back again. If you’re lucky, you will have someone in the house who will take a bite, think it’s fabulous, and help you eat half the container. If you’re really lucky, he’ll help with the second one still in the freezer, too.
So, go to Trader Joe’s, pick up some cheese curds, the Sparkling Mojito Beverage (non-alcoholic), ladyfingers (they’re in season!), and the panna cotta. Maybe two of the panna cotta.