Trader Joe’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup Walnuts

Walnuts, with their inherently earthy flavor profile, are ideal candidates for glazing – adding sweetness really complements the flavor of these nuts. The key to glazing walnuts is resisting the urge to over-glaze them. Too much sweetness and you lose the earthiness that makes walnuts so special.

So when Trader Joe’s set out to develop a new Glazed Walnut private brand option, they had a few things in mind: one, don’t over-glaze; two, come up with a flavor that was at once expected and surprising; and three, create something that tastes celebratory, worthy of holiday food festivities and gifting. In Trader Joe’s Glazed Walnuts with Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup, we’ve hit all three targets with delicious accuracy.

The supplier, in Northern California, begins with freshly harvested California walnuts which are shelled and halved, then glazed with a finely-tuned blend of cane sugar and our very own Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup. The syrup, from the Great Lakes region of the American Midwest, is aged in authentic white oak barrels previously used for aging Kentucky Bourbon. The barrels impart their charred oak sugar characteristics to the syrup, and the syrup, in turn, lends its sweet-smoky flavors to the earthy, tannic qualities of the walnuts. These flavors were meant to be together – on salads, with cheese, in baked goods.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.