I admit to being a bit of a food snob. I like to frequent the (slightly pricier) family owned grocery store in town because the quality of their products is a bit above the big chain store right next door to them. The customer service is top notch, the store is beautiful, and their deli and bakery items are to die for.
A few years ago, ALDI opened a location here in town as well. I went to check it out and it was definitely a bit different than what I was used to. You have to leave a deposit for your shopping cart (which you get back when you return it), either pay for bags or bring your own, and I don’t think anyone would describe the store as beautiful. I was a bit turned off and didn’t do any shopping there.
(Here’s where I should be reminded of that saying about not judging a book by its cover.)
Last year, a few blogger friends started posting about how they were buying some of their holiday meal items at ALDI and how great they were. In particular, people mentioned the wine, cheeses, and ham. I figured I should give it a try.
Sure enough, I fell in LOVE with the stuff I picked up. I found the exact same Swiss cheese I had been buying at that pricier store, but for quite a bit less. I also took a chance on their spiral sliced ham. I am very picky about ham – we had only been buying one brand as it was the only one we liked after trying a bunch of different ones. The ALDI ham?? Better than my favorite! My parents liked it so much, they went to ALDI to get their Easter ham last year too.
This year, ALDI asked me to write about doing my holiday shopping there (yay!!!) and sent me $25 to use toward my purchases. I couldn’t wait to see how much I could get. I quickly scurried out before the big snowstorm hit and battled the crowd that was doing the same thing.
I headed straight to the cheese section. I managed to grab the last wheel of brie. I was sad to see that the Specially Selected cheddar was all gone – that is one of my favorites and absolutely rivals any cheddar you could get at a specialty cheese shop. I grabbed two logs of goat cheese – score!!
|Looks like everyone else has found about Aldi’s cheeses!!|
Next, I headed over to the meat section and picked out a ham for Christmas Eve dinner. The spiral sliced hams come with their own glaze and are super easy to fix. And, yes, you are seeing that right. The Appleton Farms spiral sliced ham is only $1.49/lb.
Lastly, I grabbed a few packages of candy as we will be heading to the movies during the break. I got the big packs of Haribo Gummy Bears for less than $1 each and a big bag of Twizzlers (Jay’s favorite) for under $3. Much better than theater prices.
As I was walking out, I spotted some of the Specially Selected cookies on display. These are similar to the Pepperidge Farm cookies we love so I grabbed a few bags of those as well.
Here is a picture of my total haul.
Not bad of $25, right? (Keep in mind that I bought an almost 8 lb ham that ate up close to half of my budget.) You might notice that there is only one bag of gummy bears in the picture. A certain little someone discovered my haul and snagged them before I could snap a picture. Luckily, I know where to get more!
My only complaint is that many of my favorite items are considered “winter seasonal” which means that ALDI doesn’t have them year round. I might do a little more entertaining during the rest of the year if I knew I could make it this inexpensive!
So, here is my absolute FAVORITE way to enjoy brie:
Chili Brie in Sourdough Loaf
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dry ground mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1 round loaf of sourdough (about 1 lb)
1 wheel of brie (about 8 oz)
1 Tbsp softened butter
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the spices and sugar and set aside.
Cut a circle in the top of the loaf and remove bread center to make room for brie.
Spread the butter all over the bread (including the removed piece) then sprinkle with 2 tsp of the spice/sugar mix.
With a knife, make 2 inch cuts around the edge of the bread bowl about an inch apart.
Remove the rind from the brie and place in bread.
Sprinkle brie with remaining spice mixture.
Replace top pf bread.
Bake on a sheet for 20-30 minutes.
Cut top into bite sized pieces.
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for ALDI. I received a gift certificate to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.