Before I divulge the history of my favorite store, I need to express my love for Trader Joe’s. My shopping experience at Trader Joe’s is always an enjoyable one. Not only do they carry the most reasonably priced products, but all of the food products are healthy, organic, fresh and delicious. Not to mention there are always free samples of the delicious savory and sweet meals being prepared so you can taste test before you buy, just a fabulous arrangement. I can never walk out of a Trader Joe’s without my watermelon juice and brie cheese, if nothing else, those items are always in my Trader Joe’s reusable shopping bag.

In 1958 in the Greater Los Angeles area, Joe Coulombe opened several chain stores called "Pronto Market" convenience stores. After nine years in operation, Coulombe opened the first "Trader Joe's" in 1967 on Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena, California, which still remains in operation till this day.

Unlike mainstream grocery stores that carry about 50,000 items, Trader Joe's stocks about 4,000 items, 80 percent of which display its own brand names.

Trader Joe's
describes itself as "your neighborhood grocery store" or "your unique grocery store." Products sold include gourmet foods, organic foods, vegetarian food, unusual frozen foods, imported foods, domestic and imported wine and beer (where local law permits), "alternative" food items, and main grocery items such as bread, cereal, eggs, dairy, coffee and produce. Non-food items include personal hygiene products, household cleaners, vitamins, pet food, plants and flowers.

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What makes Trader Joe's so unique is that the company sells many items under its own private labels and offers these products at a significant discount to brand-name equivalents. Their labels are sometimes labeled in relation to the ethnicity of the food in question. For example, Trader Jose's is Mexican food, Trader Ming's is Chinese food, Baker Josef's is flour and bagels, and Trader Giotto's is Italian food. By selling almost all of its products under its own label, Trader Joe's "skips the middle man" and buys directly from both local and international small-time vendors.

And probably what gets Trader Joe’s customers most enthusiastic about the whole concept are the coveted, yet affordable wines. There are two special wines to speak of that are a part of Trader Joe’s extensive wine collection: Chablis and Sancerre. Both of these wines are white, crisp, fresh, dry, unoaked and French!

These wines display very similar qualities in that the body is light to medium, the texture is crisp and refreshing and the flavor intensity is light to medium-mild.

Trader Joe’s
sells a 2008 Jacques Bourguignon Chablis for only $8.00. This is a very rare find considering it’s nearly impossible to find a Chablis for under $20. Chablis has tangy acidity, crisp minerals, and notes of grapefruit and lime and is perfect on a hot summer day.

The 2009 Laurent Reverdy Sancerre is $9.99 and is imported by Latitude Wines. So there you have it, French quality wine for cheap right in your own neighborhood. So skip the long flight to France, skip trying to locate your passport and skip trying to attempt to walk through the streets of Paris pretending you belong there. Get to Trader Joe’s for crisp French fine wine.

Finally, please consider the following classic food pairings to these exquisite wines, which can all be found at Trader Joe’s: salads, steamed/grilled fish, light stir-fry dishes, noodle dishes, risotto with seafood and soft, ripened cheeses, namely brie or camembert.



 



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