Taste of ALDI
When I heard ALDI was coming to California, I high-fived myself.
I grew up in Wisconsin where ALDIs abound, but when I moved to Los Angeles 5 years ago, I realized something was missing.
Here’s why I was so excited: ALDI is one of those places where you can go stock up on the basics: canned goods, dry goods, baking products, spices, nuts, and possibly some marzipan if you go at the holidays. Drop $50 and you are set for a month.
What I didn’t realize is that ALDI is so much more than all of that. They’ve changed! They continue to change. They are evolving to meet customer demands, and demands are never quite as high as they are in California.
To demonstrate their competitive prowess, ALDI invited several bloggers to Bridlewood Estate Winery in Santa Ynez, California.
The first night, ALDI hosted a memorable meal at the winery featuring a 6-course meal developed by Bon Appétit Chef Mary Nolan. The menu included appetizers, a salad, 3 entrees, a pasta side dish, dessert, and wine pairings for each course.
The charcuterie alone was astounding: Well over a dozen specialty meats and cheeses were paired with crackers, crostini, and the most delicious raspberry jam I’ve ever tasted. Chef Mary also created a special Goat Cheese Crostini with Mushrooms, Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus, and Caprese Skewers.
Sides and Entreés
Next, we enjoyed a Kale Salad with Cranberries, Southern Grove Marcona Almonds, avocado, and a creamy lemon-yogurt dressing.
For the main course, dined on Seared Specially Selected Jumbo Scallops in herbed lemon oil, Chile-rubbed Flat Iron Steak, and Cauliflower Steaks in a spicy sauce.
My favorite dish of the night was a lovely, creamy Pipe Rigate with Peas and Asparagus. It was just so amazing. I wish I had a picture, but I ate it too fast.
For dessert, we each received a giant slice of chocolate layer cake with a cream cheese almond filling and a luscious raspberry sauce.
As I said, wines and sparkling lemonade were also provided for each course.
Sounds like a great meal, right?
Sure, we’ve all eaten delicious meals with multiple courses and sat back in our chairs, ripe with satisfaction. But here’s where the story gets interesting.
The lovely folks from ALDI passed around cards that showed the breakdown of the meal and… it cost under $15 per person.
I have to admit, I was quite shocked.
Am I surprised that ALDI has terrific, delicious food? No, not really. I already knew that. My own grandmother writes me emails regularly to talk about the quality of ALDI food.
Am I surprised at the variety of interesting, high-end foods available at ALDI? Yes. Somewhere between the freshness of the scallops and a dozen fancy cheeses, I realized that things are changing at ALDI, and in the best possible way.
I have so much more to tell you about ALDI, what makes them different, and why you should shop there. But, that’s going to have to wait until next time!
Thank you to everyone who submitted questions about ALDI on Facebook prior to this event. I’ve reached out to some of you with answers, and I’ll be posting all of my findings on the blog soon!