Trader Joe’s Quince Paste

Trader Joe's Quince Paste

Behold the quince – the most bourgeois of all fruits.

What is quince? And what, really, is paste? These are two questions I found myself wrestling with as I held Trader Joe’s Quince Paste in my hand. Some serious research would have to be done, that I was sure of, but would it all be worth it in the end? With my trademark, devil-may-care laugh I tossed the quince paste into my basket and checked out – ready, as always, to gamble on a reckless impulse. If only I knew then what I know now – that I’d just been duped into buying an inferior product!

Trader Joe’s Quince Paste was so prettily packaged, hanging on the rack like a pack of new cards, and so exotically named (not jelly, not jam – but paste) that I just had to go for it. The package screams decadent exoticism – quince! Imported for New Zealand! Perfect compliment to artisanal cheese! I was unbearably excited to get it home, sit down with my block of Trader Joe’s Quintupled English Cheese and try it out. You, my good friend, need not get so excited yourself.

The quince paste is little more than a rather ordinary slab of jelly in unusual packaging. Paste, to me, calls to mind a thick, heavily textured spread – tomato paste, for instance, or bean paste, or a nice liver paté. This is just a jelly, maybe a bit thicker than ordinary jelly – a little bit – , but still just jelly.

So that’s illusion number one popped. If you’re looking for an exotic paste, don’t get this, because it’s gelatinous and jiggly and just a mundane, regular jelly.

But it’s still quince, right? Exotic quince, brought to us from far off shores? The fabled quince of legend – that Adam and Eve are rumored to have eaten ‘ere the fall? The fruit rumored to possess a sweet, intense aroma reminiscent of pineapple, guava, pear and vanilla all at once? The flesh of which is all but inedible while raw, but which transumtes to a sweet, translucent pink when cooked? That quince?

The very same. I’ve never had quince before – all the above has come to me by rumor, hearsay and Wikipedia articles – but this, I can tell you, does not live up to the legend. Trader Joe’s Quince Paste is so thoroughly processed and sugared up that it has lost any of it’s innate character. It just tastes sweet, with some faint fruity undertone that isn’t strong enough or distinct enough that you could put any sort of name to it.

I was forced to put my block of fine cheese down, disappointed. Quince paste isn’t a bad jelly, but it isn’t any more than a jelly, a jelly just like any other. If I had the dollars back, I’d spend it on a different, more interesting condiment, or at least a larger jar of some other regular jam. As it stands, if you buy Trader Joe’s Quince Paste you’ll have to be wowed by the exotic name alone – the product simply doesn’t do it.

The Breakdown:

Would I Recommend It: There’s nothing really to recommend it by.

Would I Buy It Again: Not while fine jellies, jams and preserves are available.

Final Synopsis: Try out a different jelly before bothering with this lackluster spread.


8 Comments on “Trader Joe’s Quince Paste”

  1. Kiki F says:

    I’ve tried the TJ’s Quince Paste and it’s just as good as any other I’ve had before. It is excellent when combined with Manchego cheese (or try the Spanish Cheese Tapas Sampler, which has Manchego, Iberico and Cabra al Vino). A plate of cheese and quince paste served with bacon wrapped dates, marcona almonds and some olives makes for an easy but delicious tapas spread.

  2. wannabe says:

    I agree with the above post have also made a quesadilla with the Manchego cheese and quince paste and service with almonds/good Spanish wine!!!!! Delish!

  3. sue says:

    this was just wonderful!!!! crackers, quince, cheese, wine, and cashews.

    I cannot figure out why the reviewer did not like, I cannot figure out any other jam or jelly that would compare

  4. izzycafe says:

    So good with a chevre goat cheese.

  5. Hatchetwoman says:

    As I read your review, I thought, “This person has never tried this before.” I realized as I kept reading that I was right. I agree the term “paste” is a misnomer; but the texture and body of this product is EXACTLY what it’s supposed to be — like a gelatin, but a bit softer. I’ve grown up with quince paste made by my aunt in Mexico, using my grandmother’s recipe and technique, and yes, it’s better — but this really holds up to comparison. Look up some recipes — the classic one calls for AS MUCH sugar as there is quince. That’s a lot of sugar. Some flavor with vanilla and/or lemon, others do not. There is some variety, but overall, the taste of the paste is going to depend on the crop of fruit (and the variety).

    Today, I made my second batch of quince paste (which we call “cajeta de membrillo” in Mexico, but it’s known as “dulce de membrillo” in most other Hispanic nations), using quince from my brother-in-law’s backyard tree. But when I run out of my home-made batches, I’m going to use TJs version to tide me over.

  6. Lilly says:

    I agree with the reviews; this paste is excellent! I grew up in Mexico and Puerto Rico and is just like the good quality I remember my mom and grandparents eating, too bad Trader Joes doesn’t carry this product year round

  7. Aileen says:

    WRONG!!! Quincy paste! Jam or marmalade is the most delicious of all jams! BEST taste ever if done/cooked right! Better than all the other average, common marmalades! Even better is to slice a piece of Quincy Paste!! I died and went to heaven ! It is very common throughout South America, the Middle East and in Switzerland! Enjoy.. enjoy!

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