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Trader Joe's Organic Pumpkin Spice Granola Bark

I thought I'd be able to make it through pumpkin spice season without buying anything pumpkin spice. I gave up on that faster than my New Years Resolutions. I don't hate pumpkin spice. Hate is too  strong of a word. I just happen to semi-agree with Anthony Bourdain that the mainstream public obsession with pumpkin spice (PS) is highly highly overrated, although I suppose expressing that the pumpkin spice trend should be "drowned in its own blood" might constitute hate. *shrug* You won't see me repurchasing too many PS products around here, precisely because I think it's overrated. However, there are still some decent PS things that are worth trying and enjoying with friends and family during the autumn months. 

And guess what, canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree, which is used in most "pumpkin spice" foods is not actually pumpkin. So most pumpkin spice things probably don't have very much pumpkin at all, if any, just the mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and other warm autumn-tasting spices we associate with "pumpkin spice." 

This looked promising, particularly because the PS here is probably minimal compared to other foods (I am still REELING from the memory of that pumpkin spice coffee, which was so so terrible I didn't bother reviewing it). It walks that fine line between sweet treat and breakfast food.'s a glorified organic granola bar. 

I thought this product would be thinner and closer to a bark rather than a granola bar. Like a piece of chocolate with granola bits scattered throughout. Clearly not. They came in bigger chunks than I expected. It was a bit disappointing to peer into the bag and see that $3.99 got me maybe 10 pieces of granola bark. However, from a pure taste standpoint, I enjoyed it.The PS flavor is subtle but present. It doesn't scream pumpkin but it does have some nice warm spices with a savory-sweet taste. The dark chocolate provides just enough sweetness to balance the lightly salted pumpkin seeds. I'm not the biggest salty-sweet fan, but it works well here. The crunch is pretty satisfying too. 

I do admit that this is good enough to warrant repurchase. However, not to undermine the work of the Vermonter supplier, you could easily make this at home with the pumpkin spice granola (though I don't think this is gluten-free), some melted dark chocolate, and your own toasted pumpkin seeds (or whatever seeds you have on hand). You could probably even play with the recipe to make it more of a chocolate-y bark or a granola-y bar, as it is here. I might consider making it myself, because the only thing I like more than spending money is saving it. :P 

TL;DR: Trader Joe's Organic Pumpkin Spice Granola Bark. Somewhere between a glorified granola bar and a dark chocolate bark. With a hint of PS. 7 out of 10. 


  1. Oh no, that's so sad that canned pumpkin puree is not actually pumpkin... this is why I don't trust anything the USDA says :O But definitely will have to give this PS granola bark a try!

    1. From what I've read, some suppliers use a blend of a squash-like pumpkin and or other squashes to produce a sweeter product. So is it pumpkin? Technically yes, but probably not the carving or decorative kind that we normally think of.

  2. This product is actually pretty good, even if i say so myself. And you are right that the PS is very mild and subtle. I truly enjoyed it but so disappointed that they are out even before we feel the real autumn air here in SoCal. They claimed that it's just available for a short window to usher in the fall season....seriously?? anyways....thanks for this review. I enjoyed reading it!

    1. It's definitely good enough to keep around year round.


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