Let me give you a hint about something you'll see many times in the future in these pages. When the product photo I use was obviously taken in the store, that almost always means (1) it's a product I tried and finished with before deciding to produce this blog, so I didn't have it at home to photograph, and (2) I didn't like it enough to want to buy it again.
A large fraction of the TJ's products I buy are things I noticed while looking for something else, and decided on impulse to try. This is one of them. I had never even heard of "arancini" before. (You can see what Wikipedia has to say about it here.) I don't think I had heard of fontina cheese, either. (Wikipedia again.) But hey--rice and cheese, how can you go wrong with that?
There's nothing especially wrong with them, I guess. But they sure didn't bowl me over. My main reaction was surprise at the rice:cheese ratio. The package's description of "rice balls filled with fontina cheese" caused me to expect them to be mostly rice, with a little cheese in the middle. Nope. A more accurate description would have been "Cheese balls with the thinnest possible rice shell." If that's what the box had said, I probably would have still purchased them, but I would not have served them in the place of ordinary rice with dinner the way I did.
Don't get me wrong--I do loves me some cheese. And what there was here was perfectly tasty. I just think they'd be a whole lot better if they were designed with something closer to a 1:1 ratio of the two main components.
Will I buy it again?
Probably not, though I won't entirely rule out the possibility. If I do buy and prepare them again, it will be with the plan to dip them in marinara sauce, basically treating them like a variation on mozzarella sticks.
They look like the sort of fancy party item you'd want to buy prepared because making it would be such a pain in the ass. And they seem like hors d'ouevre-y things, not entree accompaniments.
But these arancini are decidedly unspectacular. As prepared, they were insufficiently crunchy on the outside, lacking in riceyness on the inside, short on seasoning, and endowed with unremarkable cheese. In short: bland, gummy, uninspired. And there weren't very many of them either.
Not interested in revisiting these.
For a diametrically opposite point of view, take a look at what the good folks at "What's Good at Trader Joe's" wrote about this same item: http://www.whatsgoodattraderjoes.com/2012/02/trader-joes-arancini-bites.html