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Product review: Aldi jams

The first thing you need to know about me is that I love jam.  In the zombie apocalypse to come, it will be my reluctance to leave any jam behind that will be my fatal undoing.  So when Aldi sent Cheapeats a box of their new Grandessa Specially Selected jams to review a few weeks ago, Peter very naturally valued his life enough to make sure that the jams came to their rightful home – in my belly (and, sometimes, particularly after a night out and to my enormous shame, on my face).  It’s funny how things work out too, because Aldi stocks honey which purports to be from where I come from, Kilcrea, and features a drawing on the label of the ruined friary on my uncle’s farm.

So, it was with joy in my heart and a certain sense of the circularity of things that I got to take a spoon to Aldi’s Strawberry, Summer Fruit and Rhubarb & Vanilla conserves, as well as Three Fruit Irish Marmalade.  Made in West Cork exclusively for Aldi, these jams are only €1.39 each and, overall, it’s the price that is their biggest selling point because, for me, a jamaholic, they would not compete with the really fantastic artisan jams you can get in Ireland.  While the consistency is good, and each of them contains a high percentage of fruit, they are just too unequivocally sweet for me, which, admittedly, is not such a terrible thing in a product that is chiefly made of sugar.  My favourite of the four is the Rhubarb & Vanilla, which has the most interesting flavour but could be a bit more tart and rhubarby for my taste.  It’s important to note, however, that I generally sneer at strawberry jam, and am rather a stickler for marmalade with booze in it – whiskey, poitin, rum, you name it – which are prejudices not shared by everybody.  I had also just bought an outstanding homemade summer fruits jam at the Point market, which definitely influenced my take on the Aldi variety.

In conclusion, while, quality-wise, they don’t quite reach the heights of the vastly more expensive top-of-the-range jams I lie awake thinking about at night, Aldi’s new Irish conserves and marmalades beat the pants off of the overly gelatine-heavy jam that is sold elsewhere at almost a euro more.

7 Comments

  1. I had high hopes for the rhubarb & vanilla one, as a big fan of rhubarb jam, but unfortunately I find it far too vanilla-y for my liking. I’m happy enough to use up the jar I have, but I won’t be buying it again in the current recipe – it needs far more tart rhubarb emphasis. That said, the last jar I had – either strawberry or blackcurrant – I was very happy with. I’ll work my way through the range eventually!

  2. I found it too vanilla-y at the start but, about half way through the jar (see the commitment to research!), I came round to it. I do love vanilla though.

  3. There is no such thing as too much vanilla. Sounds like this stuff will be a new favourite for me., Im off to Aldi on my way home.

  4. a close read of the label on aldi honey sates it s a mixtuare of eu and non eu honey, its has an irish flag on it as it put together here in jars but not made in ireland. have gone to alot of supermarkets and irish honey does not seem to be avilable

  5. Hazel, I was isgusted too to find out that the honey purporting an Irish flag was in fact not Irish at all. The only way to get Irish honey is to buy it from a producer. A shame!

  6. Knowing my predilection for Rhubarb & Ginger jam, my nephew and his wife bought me a jar of Rhubarb & Vanilla Irish Conserve, thinking I would like this combination, it was fresh and tangy, I loved it from the first taste. They live in the Irish Republic, where it was bought. I live in the Belfast area of Northern Ireland and am happy to do a 100 mile round trip to purchase further supplies for myself … ‘Grandessa’ Rhubarb & Vanilla Irish Conserve is outstanding, it’s fresh and tangy with a delightful taste for those that like the taste of rhubarb & vanilla.