Ever since the first time I saw a coconut, that summer evening when my father came through the door with this large, brown, sloshing nut, gathered us kids around and proceeded to dismantle it with a power drill, I’ve been drawn to the enigmatic drupe of the tropics. As the power drill story illustrates, however, it’s not very easy to incorporate coconut into one’s diet. As such, I’m a sucker for new approaches to the fruit, and was eager to taste test this brand new item.
Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s Lightly Sweetened Coconut Strips is a close miss at best. Coconut is one of those polarizing foods that cab lead people to violent dispute. I myself have mixed feelings on coconut. I want to love it, I want it to be everything I hope it to be – exotic, refreshing, tasty – but sometimes I’m forced to face facts and admit that it falls short. Which, in this case, it does.
The coconut strips falter in two big departments – taste and texture, texture being the more grievous error. The taste is not bat exactly but the sweetness comes on too stridently. Though only “lightly” sweetened, the added sugar overpowers and clashes with the mild, subtly salty, tropical taste of the coconut flesh. The texture, not to mince words, is a little bit like a firm eraser. There’s such a thing as a pleasant chewiness and a firm tooth feel, but this offers neither. The texture is much too tough and rubbery to make chewing on the thick strips enjoyable.
Overall, the coconut strips feel like a rough draft of a better product. The potential for a delicious snack is in there somewhere, but as it stands this is the sort of party food that everyone tastes once and doesn’t come back to.
Would I Recommend It: Not really.
Would I Buy It Again: Perhaps, if someday my craving for coconut manages to overpower my good sense.
Final Synopsis: Too tough, too sweet.