Food and Drink

Best Valentine's Day Goodies to Buy on Your Next Trip to Trader Joe's

Fall in love with gummy x's and o's, chocolate lava cakes, and heart-shaped cookies.

Image by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist
Image by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist
Image by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist

Trader Joe’s loves a thematic holiday. During Christmas, everything is shaped like a gift or ornament or Christmas tree and dressed in reds and greens. For Halloween, expect ghouls and bats and strands of fake cobwebs to adorn the store.

It’s no surprise then, that for Valentine’s Day, Trader Joe’s leans into pink and red and heart-shaped everything. It’s convenient because it makes shopping for a Valentine’s Day menu or gift as accessible as picking up your next big pantry haul. Here is everything Valentine’s Day-themed that you should buy from Trader Joe’s this year, for your sweetheart or for yourself. There’s lots of chocolate involved.

Dark Chocolate Mini Heart Cookies

If you’ve ever had the Trader Joe’s dark chocolate mint stars that spring up in the winter, these cookies are similar-sans mint flavor and shaped like hearts rather than stars. They’re shortbread cookies enrobed in dark chocolate and dressed with pink and white nonpareils for added texture. It is easy to wolf down an entire box of these, so make sure to add this to your grocery cart.
 

For the Love of Chocolate Mousse Cake

Trader Joe’s has really been leaning into mousse cakes. There were pumpkin-shaped mousse cakes in the fall, mousse cakes shaped like presents during the holidays, and now a heart-shaped mousse cake perfect for Valentine’s Day. This version is one large chocolate cake with a whipped mousse filling perfect for sharing with your sweetheart. If you prefer six small cakes, Trader Joe’s also currently has pink raspberry mousse cakes that would also be ideal for a Valentine’s Day dessert.
 

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

For anyone avoiding gluten on Valentine’s Day, pick up a box of gluten-free chocolate cupcakes. They’re just as chocolaty and fluffy as the gluten variety, and topped with adorable pink buttercream rosettes. Each pack comes with four so you can share (or not).
 

Chocolate Lava Cakes

If you’ve ever attempted to make chocolate lava cakes at home, you know the struggle of trying to strike the balance between delectably oozing chocolate and inedible raw batter. These frozen lava cakes from Trader Joe’s are a foolproof way to get perfectly molten chocolate every time. You can bake them in the oven or microwave them for 50 seconds. Valentine’s Day dessert has never been easier.
 

Raspberry Hearts

These shortbread cookies are adorable and reminiscent of a classic thumbprint cookie, which rarely disappoints. The heart-shaped shortbread is not as crispy as others I’ve had-it’s definitely softer and more crumbly. The raspberry filling is also more sweet than tart, but is satisfyingly sticky. Sanding sugar provides some texture on the top cookie, but overall these sandwiches venture on the sweet side. Regardless, they would look really cute on a Valentine’s day dessert board.
 

Gummy X’s and O’s

If you’ve enjoyed the Scandinavian swimmers (or Scandinavian tidings during the holidays), then you’ll certainly love the Valentine’s Day version that comes in shapes of x’s and o’s. These gummies have a soft and chewy texture rather than bouncy, so they’re pretty gentle on the jaw. But we warned: these mostly taste like cherry, so if that’s not your flavor of preference, then perhaps steer away.
 

Trader Joe’s Pinks and Whites

These yogurt- and sprinkle-covered shortbread cookies are whimsical, charming, and a reminder of the looming promise of spring. They are also nostalgia-fueled-they taste just like the pink and white circus animal cookies but flower-shaped instead. Rather than a bouquet of flowers, pick up a box of these sweet cookies instead.
 

Rhubarb & Strawberry Soda

For a non-alcoholic drink to sip on that still fits the pink and red theme we associate with Valentine’s Day, pick up a four-pack of these rhubarb and strawberry sodas. The flavor is definitely more strawberry-sweet rather than tart-but not cloying or neon red like other strawberry sodas. The rhubarb flavor is subtle but there, and each can clocks in at a mere 60 calories. Drink it straight or mix it with gin and muddled strawberries.
 

Mint Flavor Dog Treats With Beet Powder

My dog Astro is a pretty picky snacker and even he was eagerly jumping for these heart-shaped treats. They’re colored with beet juice but smell like mint, which is a refreshing change from his meatier smelling snacks. If your Valentine this year is a dog-which is a perfectly acceptable Valentine to have-pick these up to show your affection.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat!

Kat Thompson is a senior staff writer of food & drink at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn.

Food and Drink

How Talking Terps Has Influenced Cannabis Hype Culture

The origins and optimism behind the cannabis brand that sells out drops within minutes. Canabis...

Photo courtesy of Buckle Your Brain
Photo courtesy of Buckle Your Brain
Photo courtesy of Buckle Your Brain

Many cannabis brands describe themselves as “lifestyle brands” and “cultural disruptors.” Few of them actually impact lifestyles or broader cultural trends. Only one of them has figurines up on Stock X right now.

“For OG Terp Crawford to be featured amongst Nike, Jordans, Supreme, BAPE, and PS5s is really sick,” says Hope Lord, co-founder of cannabis lifestyle brand Talking Terps. “Stock X is not taking everyone who makes a toy and putting it up there.”Between their psychedelic graphics, cannabis-adjacent accessories, and famous OG Terp Crawford figurine, Talking Terps has established a cult following amongst cannabis enthusiasts, hypebeasts, and beyond. On paper, it’s a lifestyle brand interested in both cannabis and psychedelics. In action, Talking Terps is an alternative universe that bridges the gaps between toy culture, cannabis culture, psychedelic culture, and American pop culture.

The brand was established as a concept in 2015 by Leor Feit aka Hope Lord, Flatbush Zombies member Antonio Lewis aka Zombie Juice, and Flatbush Zombies spiritual adviser Phil Annand aka PTA Haiti 3000. One year later, the phrase “talking terps” popped in a Flatbush Zombies song, referring to terpenes, a compound found in cannabis.

“We had a show at Red Rocks in Colorado,” Lord recalls. “I had a friend that was part of Blue River Terpenes who brought us the first sample of cannabis-derived terpenes. Then Juice and Erick made a song with it in the chorus.”

Talking Terps
Talking Terps
Talking Terps

Once Talking Terps emerged as a phrase, the graphics, accessories, apparel, events, and, of course, toys were soon to follow. By 2017, the phrase was spotted on one of Snoop Dogg’s t-shirts. In 2019, the concept of Terp Crawford was born, launching the brand towards the collectible toy game.

While the first Terp Crawford was technically a plush pillow, the first toy-named OG Terp Crawford-came in March 2020. The 6-inch tall vinyl sculpture of a humanized weed nug with a joint in his hand and a smile on his face is meant to embody everything Hope, Juice and PTA stand for.

“Our message is to love each other and be happy,” Lord says. “Tread lightly and disrupt nothing.”OG Terp Crawford drops sell out in actual seconds and resell on sites like Stock X for over double their retail price. More than a simple toy, he’s a figure that Talking Terps hopes will evolve into a full-on cartoon character.

“As time goes, the idea for Terp Crawford is for him to be a Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny type figure from our world that can cross over,” Lord says. “There should be no reason one day that Terp Crawford’s not throwing a football in some skit on Monday Night Football.”

That’s not just a high aspiration-the team is currently working with 3 Hearts Entertainment to develop a TV show around him. The goal is for Terp Crawford to go global and for Talking Terps to go meta. With their vast graphic library and club of TT enthusiasts, virtual collectibles like NFTs only make sense (though the team can’t let the terp out of the hat just yet).

“I can see Terp Crawford in Japan, speaking in Japanese on TV,” Lord muses. “Once we take him somewhere else, we could do big sculptures, like at KAWS level, maybe. I think we’ll get a TV show. I can’t speak too much on what we’re working on for the metaverse, but it’s got a lot of components. I can say that we’re building a whole new platform called the meta-forest.”

It’s safe to say there will be a sold-out waitlist to get into that forest.
Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat!

Danté Jordan is a freelance writer, video producer, and media consultant specializing in cannabis culture and education. Follow him on Instagram.

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