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Taste-test, Aisle 1.

Supermarket Sweets: We Try Trader Joe's Lattemiele Cookies

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[Photographs: Carrie Vasios]

When I lived in New York, I spent way too much time and money at Buon Italia in Chelsea Market. I knew I shouldn't let myself buy the imported yogurt, olive oils, and real Nutella, especially when I was in graduate school and my budget was tighter than a Tour de France cycling suit, but I did. One thing I was addicted to were the packages of Mulino Bianco cookies, particularly the Rigoli, which are "honey" cookies with a mild sweetness and rectangular shape.

On a recent trip to Trader Joe's, I noticed a package of cookies on the "new products" shelf. The image of the cookies looked suspiciously like my dear Rigoli. Named Lattemiele, they are made under the "Trader Giotto's" line of sorta-authentic Italian foods.

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The cookies are described as "slightly sweet milk & honey cookies" and that's what they are—slightly sweet. And that's what their "authentic" counterparts are, too, so that was fine with me. (My fiancĂ© on trying one: "These don't taste like anything." Me: "That's how they're supposed to be. Him: "Eh, give me an Oreo.")

Likewise, don't get your hopes up about that "honey" listed in the byline: you definitely can't taste much honey as opposed to generic sweetness. They're plain, biscuit-y tasting cookies that don't taste like much and that's the point. However I will say that unlike the Italian brands, these had a slight cardboard aftertaste. The cookies are made in Italy, which makes me wonder if these are discount rejects from an Italian cookie company. Given rumors I've heard about 2 Buck Chuck, I wouldn't be surprised.

The package suggests having them with peanut butter (no thanks) or dunking them. They do make good dunkers as they're crisp but soften easily in coffee or milk. In short, they're not horrible imitations of real Italian honey cookies, but given how even my local Safeway has started carrying Rich Tea cookies and plain McVities, I think I'll pay a little more and go one taste level up.

About the author: Carrie Vasios is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios

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