I used to be a grocery store snob, shopping only at Giant Eagle and Kroger. I never set food inside Aldi even though I heard a lot of buzz about their “awesome produce” and “super low prices.” At the time I thought:
Surely low prices mean low quality.
I was so “bougie” about grocery shopping (bougie means “desiring to be fancy-pants”) several times, when Tony got scheduled to officiate a football scrimmage at Pitt, I’d accompany him to Pittsburgh so that afterward, we could stop at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to experience an all-things-food splurge-o-rama.
Once I learned Aldi and Trader Joe’s are related, the grocery shopping scales fell off my eyes. In short order, Aldi become my food-shopping destination of choice.
So what do I love at Aldi? All kinds of things.
Here are my 26 current faves ending with my #1 most adored Aldi “item.”
Sliced Cheese—Aldi provides a ton of varieties, often at half the price the regular grocery stores charge.
Whipping Cream—for your coffee.
Years Decades ago, at a darling bed-and-breakfast in Belgium, Tony Bear and I learned to use heavy cream in our coffee. Cream renders the morning energy elixir golden, not gray.
Nuts—I adore nuts, all varieties, probably because my daddy did. And also because they’re a great source of high quality fat. If you read this post about me giving up bread, or this post about intermittent fasting, you know I’m all about low-carb-high-fat foods. My constant nut buys? Hickory-smoked almonds, pistachios, cashews, sunflower seeds, and my super-duper favorite: macadamia nuts (when they’re available).
Organic eggs—In a perfect world I would keep my own chickens for eggs. In an almost perfect world I’d make it to Mountain People’s Co-op every week for fresh eggs. Thankfully, Aldi stocks organic brown eggs (A part of me believes brown is better than white when it comes to egg nutrition. This article says whether I’m right.) at a wallet-friendly price.
Berries—Pert near every supper in the Tarantini house includes berries. Thankfully the price of berries at Aldi doesn’t break the bank.
Brioche buns—These are a new discovery for me. They are like baby angels—light and heavenly. They are the very best vehicle for my Banana Pepper Beef. Don’t have the recipe? Stay tuned for my someday-cookbook.
Everything bagels—The bagels Aldi sells are super-sized and super-yummy. This from my family since I haven’t tried them due to my personal bread ban. My people prefer the “Everything” variety. They are totally worth the onion-breath.
Croissants—If you receive my foodie email—”The Wordy Girl Cooks”—you know about my fantastic stuffed French toast made with croissants. Buy them at Aldi where the price is right. NOTE: If you want to be added to the foodie email list, shoot me an email here. If you want the French toast recipe, be sure to specify that in the message portion.
Winking Owl Chardonnay—At home we enjoy the fabulous Italian wines that Tony Bear sells at our family business, but for recipes calling for a splash of white wine, this $3-ish wine gets my vote.
Prosciutto—The men in my life love when I bring home prosciutto from Aldi since I often flash-fry it in a cast iron skillet to decorate a plate of dippy eggs. A frequent ingredient-list inspector, I love that the prosciutto at Aldi has only two ingredients: pork and salt. Sadly, this tends to be an Aldi “seasonal item.”
Smoked Salmon—A favorite breakfast at Chez Tarantini is toast points smeared with cream cheese and topped with slabs of smoked salmon. For extra flavor, I sprinkle on snipped dill, capers, plus salt and pepper. Make this dish even more glorious with thinly sliced tomatoes and/or red onion.
The Hummus Wheel—from Little Salad Bar. When Tony calls hummus “dirt,” Junior-Man usually nods in agreement. However, hummus is Sandwich-Child’s #1 snack choice. The Little Salad Bar’s hummus wheel features four delectable flavors: Traditional, roasted bell pepper, roasted garlic, and cilantro.
Clancy’s Parmesan, Garlic, and Herb Pita Chips—These are perfect for dipping in the hummus mentioned above. And can we just talk about value? Stacy’s Pita Chips are priced at almost $6.00 in grocery stores. What the heck! Clancy’s cost half that.
We’re half-way done. The best is yet to come!
Clancy’s Pretzels Filled with Peanut Butter—Junior-Man is a huge fan of these items. A little bit sweet, a little bit salty, they’re a lunch-packing win for sure!
Guacamole—from Little Salad Bar—In a perfect world, my two daughters would make the amazing guacamole recipe they learned in Peru. In an almost perfect world, I buy mine at Aldi. FirstBorn and her husband are fond of the Classic variety. Sandwich-Child and I are fans of the Spicy option. Arriba!
Combos—specifically, the pretzel-cheddar cheese variety—Combos are a “seasonal item” at Aldi and when they are in the store, they’re typically a dollar cheaper than at Kroger. This variety of Combos is my favorite road-trip snack! I lay aside my low-carb-high-fat doctrine for the sake of pretzel-Cheddar Combos. I also ignore the portion-size recommendations on the bag.
Live Orchids—A “seasonal item,” these beauties showed up this year at Valentine’s Day and I snagged one with plenty of unopened buds for my mother. Do not throw them away after blooming. Bring them to me so I can make them bloom again next year. See my recent Instagram post for proof of my orchid-resurrecting powers.
Ibuprofen, cotton swabs, and toothbrushes—I’m pretty sure these items are cheaper at Aldi than at WalMart.
Are you ready for the great eight?
Havarti Cheese—Blocks of it: regular, dill, and hot pepper. At half the price grocery stores charge. Be sure to serve Havarti (all cheeses, really) at room temperature so they are silky and melty on the tongue. Ditto with cheesecake and chocolate tortes. But I digress…
Moser Roth Premium Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa: I watched a woman put about a dozen of these in her cart so I gave them a try. Now I’m a believer. The bar looks huge but actually, inside the package there are four individual-sized bars, perfect for sharing. Or not.
Clancy’s Maple Bacon Potato Chips—Kettle Brand Maple Bacon Potato Chips used to be my favorite. Until I tried these. These chips are so fantastic, they have multiple food reviews on YouTube. Like this one. Unfortunately, they seem to be “seasonal.” I have only found them once. Perhaps I should check Ebay….
Boursin Cheese—Glory to God, this longtime favorite of mine showed up in the Aldi “special item” freezer a few months back at the fantastic pricepoint of $3.99. One box of this gastronomic miracle of creamy herbed Gournay (I think that means “French cheese”) costs $6.99 at Kroger. Confession: I bought four boxes in a single day. I should have bought more as they are no longer available. Drats! Served at room temperature (for optimal “mouth-feel”) on nice crackers, Boursin makes a wonderful and tres chic snack. In case people drop by when they’re in the neighborhood.
Never Any Bacon—This brand of uncured bacon does not contain nitrates or nitrites, the ingredients possibly linked to cancer. Read about the link here.
Never Any Deli Meat—This brand of deli meat is the only kind I buy these days since it contains no nitrates or nitrates. Aldi typically carries ham, turkey, and sometimes, chicken. Bonnie Agnes and Boots Louise, our feline food testers, approve all three varieties. Note to Aldi powers that be: Please start making nitrate-free pepperoni.
Whipped Cream in a can—by Friendly Farms. I love this concoction so much I nicknamed it The 8thWonder of the World. I top every diminutive bowl of fruit I serve up with a pretty star of this whipped cream. Because of it, I hardly ever make whipped cream from scratch any more.
The Aldi Double Guarantee–According to the Aldi website, “If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with any product, we will gladly replace the product AND refund your money.” I LOVE this!!
Bonus: Items to avoid at Aldi
Clancy’s Dupe Doritos—FYI, Junior Man asked me to never purchase these again. He said they tasted, “Meh.”
Berryhill chocolate-hazelnut spread—Ditto on the above. Just buy the Nutella. In the vat-sized jar.
Meat, poultry, seafood—If you’re my friend on Facebook, you know the animal-protein offerings at Aldi scare me.