A few weeks ago, Aldi laid on a banquet for Irish Times consumer affairs editor Conor Pope:
Thousands of people blow unconscionable sums in Marks & Spencer, McCambridge’s, Morton’s, Donnybrook Fair, Fallon Byrne and all the other high-end food shops across the country that sell us the promise of a premium Christmas at a premium price.
But can a discounter reallly compete with these high-end retailers? Aldi said it could.
The retailer prepared a five-course meal of organic smoked salmon, turkey and ham with all the trimmings, dessert, cheese, and petit fours for €25 a head. A 5.5kg free-range turkey costs about €30.
Pope gave the dinner the thumbs-up, and I don’t know of anywhere else you’ll find such good value (this is an invitation to be corrected, please).
Christmas for Four: Under €30
If you’re on a tighter budget, you can feed a family of four for just €29.63. Here’s how:
|Product Description||Price €|
|Aldi’s Frozen Whole Turkey, 3.6kg-4.8kg||10.99|
|Aldi’s Medium Irish Ham Fillet, 1.5kg, Bord Bia Quality Assured||6.99|
|Aldi’s Four Seasons Maris Piper Roasting Potatoes. 1kg||0.89|
|Aldi’s Four Seasons Button Brussels Sprouts, 850g||0.99|
|Aldi’s Kelly’s Fresh Stuffing**, 300g (available in Parsley & Thyme or Sage & Onion)||1.99|
|Aldi’s Bramwell’s Cranberry Sauce, 200g||0.75|
|Aldi’s Quixo Gravy Granules, 300g||0.85|
|Aldi’s Clonbawn Fresh Cream, 250ml||1.19|
|Aldi’s Specially Selected Christmas Pudding, 454g||4.99|
Aldi also sent me on some treats to sample for Christmas. Seafood is the Christmas starter in my family, and there’s plenty of really delicious fare for sale. I’m very, very fussy about my prawns – I like them achingly, fresh-off-the-boat-fresh – but Aldi’s Specially Selected frozen prawns (€5.99 for 500g) were really excellent. They were clearly frozen straight off the boat: they were fresh, juicy, and meaty, and were a real treat as prawns pil-pil.
Also included were Aldi’s Specially Selected lobster tails. Lobster is a pleasure: I know some people say it’s over-rated, but I absolutely love it. However, as tasty as lobster is, it’s not quite delicious enough to warrant it’s usually high price tag, and so I very rarely if ever get to eat it. But the two lobster tails at Aldi (€12.99, 283g) were substantial, gorgeous, and full of meat, and unbeatable value. I had them with nothing more than home-made shoestring fries, a bulb of roast garlic butter (roast the garlic for about 25 mins and mix the delicious creamy goo with butter), Hellman’s mayonnaise, and lemon wedges.
Aldi’s seafood collection also includes organic smoked salmon (€3.89, 130g), another essential Christmas starter. I’m not a fan of cold smoked salmon, but please funnel the hot smoked salmon down my throat.
Christmas also isn’t Christmas (whatever Christmas is) without the Christmas cake, and the pudding, and the pies. They’re not for everyone of course; I can live without the cake, thanks, but don’t try and take my mince pies away from me or Christmas will be ruined for everyone. Because it’s my job, I had to eat them several weeks before Christmas.
Aldi’s sweet offerings are, as expected, excellent value. Surprise surprise, I was particularly keen on the mince pies (€1.69 per pack). The Irish Christmas pudding was the winner though. Produced by Seery’s bakery in Co. Carlow, it’s packed full of berries and zest and retails for €6.99 for 907g.
Don’t forget the wine! Plenty of delicious bottles at half the price of the local off-license.
Readers, have any of Aldi’s offerings caught your eye?