- a blog about food and value

The brands you just have to have…

I’m not a particularly disciplined food shopper and always end up going off-list and with extra things in my basket.  I aspire to the Zen-like indifference to fake bargains that Peter’s Dad has achieved, but came home from Lidl last night with lots of unneccessary bags of cashew nuts, so obviously still have some way to go.

The one supermarket where I can exercise some self-control, however, is Tesco.  I’ve been so put off by their price hikes and non-offers that I rarely go there any more, except when there are certain brands that I just have to get.  I paid them a rare visit yesterday to pick up some of my all time favourites, sticking rigorously to my shopping list:

  • dubliner-cheeseDubliner White Cheddar. The most delicious cheddar cheese ever; it has real depth of flavour and little grains of salt throughout that give it bite. I’ve become so dependent on Dubliner that I don’t even bother buying any other cheddar – if I can’t get Dubliner I just do without.
  • Heinz Ketchup. Chef is just too vinegary.
  • Diet Coke. So wrong but yet so right.
  • Tesco own-brand Hot Salsa.  I love salsa and it’s a relatively healthy snack.  I’ve tried loads and Tesco’s cheapo one is the best: it’s properly chunky and hot, and doesn’t have the unpleasant gloopiness that some other brands have.  It’s only 95c at the moment.

Those are the ones I picked up last night, and of course there’s quite a few more.  What are the brands that you just have to have? The ones where generics or alternatives simply won’t do?


  1. Has to be Kerrygold butter for la Spud. None of the imitators even come close.

  2. The sauces really

    Heinz ketchup.
    A1 steak sauce.
    Frank’s hot sauce.
    And, er, Peter Pan peanut butter (not technically a sauce)

  3. weetabix, bunalun organic porrige, ballymaloe relish

    other than that i am very sway-able!

  4. I have to agree on the Dubliner cheese, it’s wonderful stuff and you can even by the slices without too much shame. I love it with some crackers and a Granny Smith.

    As for salsa, the brand of salsa on sale in Taco, Taco in the Epicurean food hall is absolutely gorgeous – admittedly its expensive, somewhere between 5 and 6 euro but the throaty heat and chunks of chilly make it instanntly addictive. I make dinners to just put this salsa with it!

  5. Diet Coke. When I was being ridiculously frugal last summer I switched to the Aldi 49c brand for a few weeks – a sad, dark period of my life

  6. I’m all about the healthy eating at the moment, and there are far too many crappy low-fat branded goods out there. So thumbs up to Hellmann’s mayo (they make the only decent low fat one I’ve ever tasted) and Glenisk’s low fat yogurts, which are amazingly decadent.

    I’m also a Barry’s tea girl, through and through.

  7. That salsa is €1.59 in Tesco.

  8. Kerrygold butter
    Barry’s Tea

  9. It has to be Avonmore Tomato Soup and Cadbury’s Dairy Milk for me!

  10. Is it just me or does Dubliner cheese taste gritty? Kind of like it’s been resting on a sandy beach towel.

  11. Another vote for Franks Hot Sauce, I would be open to suggestions of an alternative though.

  12. Premier Dairies Milk – refuse to buy anything else.
    Ballymaloe Relish
    Sacla Sun Dried Tomato Pesto – I put it on everything

  13. It’s not a food, but Fairy is by far the best washing up liquid. Gotta have it!

  14. @pdizzle – Sacla pesto is amazing
    but, again,
    Heniz ketchup,
    Diet Coke
    Cadbury’s Dairy Milk

    … can’t argue with those.

  15. Tayto crisps mmm..

  16. Heinz ketchup
    Hellman’s mayo
    Dubliner Cheese
    Cadbury’s Dairy Milk
    Barry’s Tea
    Ballymaloe Relish
    Aldi NFC Apple and Orange juice
    Tesco Organic Butter

    They’re the ones I have to have.

  17. I buy own Aldi/Lidl/Tesco own brand for most BUT have to get:

    Glenisk Yogurts
    Nescafe Gold
    Avonmore Supermilk
    Heinz or Batchelor’s Beans
    Heinz Ketchup
    Tetley’s Tea
    Tesco – Garlic Cream Cheese, Californian raisins, Spicy pepper pasta jar sauce
    Fairy Liquid the only one I buy also

    I’ve never had Frank’s Hot sauce but I buy 1 litre bottles of hot sauce in Asia Market – comes in Medium and Hot, can be added uncooked – brilliant! Think it’s about 2euro.

  18. chef ketchup all the way.i am totally addicted to ketchup i will eat it on anything.heinz is just too bland.