On the twelfth day of 2018, my true love said to me, "what is this trash doing on the ground?" By trash he meant the empty cardboard packaging of these mini greek spirals. Uhhh...I keep empty TJ's trash around to remind me to write the reviews for specific products. Like a hoarder. And not to be all gloom and doom (though it's hard not to considering the gray and strangely warm weather outside), China isn't taking our recycling anymore. Is my recycling meaningless? Is my TJ's patronage contributing to the destruction of the earth? These are the things I contemplate as I eat my morning cereal. That and...oh yeah these mini greek spirals I had on New Years Day.
I picked these up when looking for an easy appetizer to serve at my New Years non-party. Non-party because I was feeling under the weather and planned to stay in my sweatpants on the couch. But gathering with food because yo girl has to eat.
Anything wrapped up in a filo or puff pastry automatically makes a decent party appetizer. In theory.
I've never had mizithra cheese, which is apparently a Greek cheese made from sheep/goat milk and whey and resembles ricotta. Which to me means that it will provide some nice texture but will need outside seasoning to provide taste. Note that although this is a "vegetarian" product, it's not actually vegetarian since the feta cheese contains animal rennet (AKA enzymes from the stomach lining of a DEAD ANIMAL). Aren't you glad I save my packaging and look things up on the internet? :P
I baked these according to package directions and found that they didn't turn as golden brown as I liked but the bottoms were already too browned to keep them in for longer. The spiral shape actually makes them rose-like, which makes for a nice party appetizer aesthetic. The taste, however, was pretty disappointing. I expected more leek presence and flavor. You can definitely see the leek through the phyllo pastry but in actuality the leek is more like "oh those little green things that you check aren't stuck in your teeth" versus a main ingredient highlighted in the dish. You definitely taste the cheese, and it was soft and creamy (thanks béchamel!), but to me there really wasn't that much saltiness or flavor coming through. Maybe because mizithra runs on the mild side? Even still, I would have expected a little more salty feta or some aromatic onion to come through. But nothing.
A and my sister T weren't impressed either. I ended up eating most of these roses myself, to the displeasure of my lactose-intolerant self. Yes, I could just invest in some Lactaid pills and embrace a minimally disturbed but cheese-fulfilled life, but I haven't been pushed to the tipping point. Yet. So in the meantime, I think I'll start rating dairy products on a simple, binary system - worth the lactose or not worth the lactose. This was $2.99 for 12, which doesn't really hurt the wallet but will hurt those lacking the lactase. You've been warned.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Mini Greek Spirals with Leeks & Feta Cheese. Disappointingly tasteless. Not worth the lactose. 4 out of 10.