Cheap, reliable, delicious, good value food? Aldi and Lidl are hard to beat.
Aldi now commands a bigger share of the Irish grocery market than Lidl or Superquinn, and is growing rapidly in Ireland. Although Lidl have many delicious items – their Greek yoghurt is spellbinding – it’s Aldi that are winning the plaudits. In addition, over 50 per cent of Aldi’s food comes from Irish food producers, many of whom were small businesses before linking with with the German giant.
Recently, they sent us out some food to sample. Jean gave the Del Rivo Kids Smoothies to her daughter Lily, who stubbornly refused to wax lyrical about them. But she did she say they were very nice and asked if she could have more. There are four flavours: orange mango and pineapple, peach and passionfruit, blackberry and raspberry, and strawberry. I had a sip myself. They’re just as good if not better than the Innocent Smoothies (€4.25 for four in Tesco), and they’re significantly cheaper, at just €2.29 for a packet of four. A good way of stuffing your kids full of fruit.
Aldi’s meat is a very affordable treat, and Jean and I are in no doubt about it: their meat is the best value you will find in any Irish supermarket. Only Superquinn can really hold a candle on quality, but you’ll pay a lot more there. Check out their amazing fillet steaks (€8.99 for two), the lamb rump steaks (€9.99 for two, cook them as you would the fillet steaks, and be kind to them), and the bacon loin (€6.99)- all three won medals at the recent Blas na hÉireann food awards.
With Halloween in mind, check out their barm brack with ring (99c): the same price as a miserable St. Bernard or Tesco Value brack, but of hugely superior quality.
And the whiskey ain’t bad either. I’ve been sneakily filling a little hip flask and drinking it in between pub stops (although of course I never drink it in the pub itself – that’s just mean). Aldi’s Clontarf Irish Blended Whiskey (€15.99) is surprisingly gentle, smooth, sweet, and doesn’t take like cheap burning meths like you might expect from a whiskey of this price. If that’s a little strong, try the Walshe’s Traditional Lemonade: the pink stuff with raspberries is a really nice, tangy treat.
You might be feeling a little guilty after all the whiskey and steak. Throw some Linseed Crunch with Cranberry and Almond (€2.79) over your cereal and feel healthy until you start drinking more whiskey again. Hell, the linseed crunch is so healthy and tasty, I’d nearly throw it on the steak – but of course I would not. Then if you feel too healthy after all that linseed crunch and steak, indulge in the Luxury Caramel Fudge Diary Ice Cream (€2.19). This ice-cream is clearly an imitation of Carte D’Or, only Aldi’s product is not only significantly cheaper – it’s also better.
You might have noticed that we like Aldi. I’ve been trying to tell my mum to go there, but she remains reluctant to try an unknown quantity. I tell her she’ll find almost everything she needs there, but she seems hellbent on paying more in Dunnes. I don’t get why.
Readers, are you reluctant to make the switch to Lidl or Aldi? And can you recommend any products from the German discounter?