To be quite honest, I don't think I'd ever even heard of the Hatch Valley chile peppers until just a few months ago. I'm trying to make up for lost time and find out what I can. As with any specialty food item, there's a festival devoted to the pepper. Even NPR has an interesting look at the pride that surrounds growing and serving peppers from New Mexico.
All of that aside, let's take a look at Trader Joe's Hatch Valley Salsa. Does it have some heat? Oh yeah. It's got plenty of it, but it's not so overwhelming that it renders everything else inedible. The salsa is more than just heat, as it has tomatillos and a hint of lime and garlic.
If you're used to salsa that's red, then this will definitely switch things up a bit. The salsa comes in a sort of pea-green color, but don't let that stop you from grabbing some chips and digging in. (As you may know, Trader Joe's has other green items that are absolutely awesome.) Well, actually, you can't. The salsa is packed in a vertical glass jar, making it almost impossible to dip a chip. That's something I can't stand about many of Trader Joe's salsas; they should make it easy for people to scoop without having to use a spoon!
This salsa brings the heat in a great way.
Verdict: This is a colorful and spicy addition to your typical chips-and-salsa routine. Four out of four Hawaiian-print shirts.