Sorry about not posting my regular ‘This Week at Costco’ post last Saturday, but it was the last weekend that my mom was visiting and we wanted to get an early start on our bus tour of London (lots of fun!). However, since she was visiting we ended up getting lots of good Costco groceries to stock up for her visit. Probably the thing that went over the best with everyone was the Thuringian sausages though. They should definitely start stocking these at Costco’s in the US.
And for those of you US Costco fans, don’t forget that you’ve got coupons to use. The current Costco Coupon Book expires after June 6th, and there are plenty of things that you might want to pick up for any Memorial Day parties or picnics you’ll be having.
Wolf Thuringian Rostbratwurst – I got these to make for during my mom’s visit, because we both love this kind of bratwurst and they are really hard to find in the US. This isn’t like the typical bratwurst that you see so often, like the Johnsonville brats for instance that our Austin Costco stocked. In fact, these are a very unique sausage even in Germany and have PGI status under EU law. They come from the German state of Thuringia, in the central part of the country and bordered by the Hartz mountains and the Thuringian Forest. And these people are serious about their wurst, they’ve even got a whole museum dedicated to the Thuringian sausages, the Deutsche Bratwurstmuseum. So, what sets this apart from the rest of the bratwurst around Germany? It’s all about the spices, apparently. Thuringian sausages are distinguished from the dozens of types of German wursts by the distinctive spices, which includes marjoram, as well as their low fat content of just 25% as compared to up to 60% in other German sausages. Only finely minced pork, beef, or sometimes veal, is used to make the sausages. In addition to salt and pepper, caraway, marjoram, and garlic are used to spice the sausages; this can vary according to traditional recipes or regional tastes. These ingredients are blended together and filled into a natural casing of pig or sheep intestine. However, at least 51% of the ingredients must come from the state of Thuringia because of the PGI status. I think the reason my mom and I like them so much is the texture and the taste because it really isn’t like every other sausage. And they cook up beautifully! The natural casings brown picture perfect on a grill or under the broiler. We used these great sausages as the centerpiece in our German meal with the brats, sauerkraut, and potato salad (of the German type of course). And in true Thuringian fashion, we served them with a nice mustard. They were awesome! And I will definitely be picking some of these up again. 1 kg, 10 sausages, for £4.59 (US: 2.2 pounds for$6.59). Item #: 0070998.
Alma Austrian Smoked Cheese – If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you know that I have a real love for cheese, all kinds of cheese. And, Dave likes the smoked cheeses a lot. So, when we saw this we decided to try it out because it was smoked and neither of us had any idea what Austrian cheese could be. Turns out that it is a processed cheese which gives it a really smooth and creamy texture, and of course it has that nice smoky flavor too. It tastes fairly similar to other smoked cheeses we have tried, so it isn’t anything outstanding but it is still good. My mom had the brilliant idea of turning it into a cheese sauce for roasted chicken breasts and we all agreed it was an excellent addition. Since this is a processed cheese (yes, like Velveeta) it melts quite well with a little gentle encouragement from the microwave. We also added some chicken stock to get it to have a little more of a sauce consistency. Other than that it is just microwave, stir, microwave, stir, etc until you get it all nicely melted. You could also use this in a quick version of fondue, without the need for the cute little pot or burner, by melting it and dipping bread or whatever into it or just pouring it over your stuff. I’m not usually a fan of the processed cheese, but this had such a nice flavor and did add quite a bit to the chicken that I realized I might have been too hard on the processed cheeses of the world. 454 g for £2.19 (US: 1 pound for $3.14). Item #: 0031164.
Latbri Mozzarella – As I just said, I’m a cheese lover. I like just about all cheeses and will give them all a fair shot. Dave and I both love a good fresh mozzarella but I’ve certainly had better than this. I’ve had better from Costco too, like the Fattorie Garofalo Bufala Mozzarella that I’ve written about before. I loved that for the same reason that I’m not all that impressed by this one: texture. For me, mozzarella is always down to texture: smooth and creamy. The Latbri mozzarella is grainy and sort of watery without that creaminess that I really love about good mozzarella. Which is a shame because I think this is the only brand of fresh mozzarella I’ve seen at Costco in the UK. Where will I get the cheese to pair with all of my yummy Italian meats that I can buy at Costco? I’m hoping that I somehow just overlooked the Fattorie Garofalo mozzarella somehow and will be able to pick some of that up next time. I ended up using the Latbri on sandwiches where it didn’t really shine and I also tried it melted on fresh bread to see if that would make it work for me, but it didn’t. I do like that this big bag contains 5 individually wrapped balls of mozzarella, but I can’t buy it just because I like the packaging. So, I guess I will either look for a replacement cheese at Costco or have to buy my fresh mozzarella at the regular grocery store and pay a lot more for it. 5, 100 g balls for £2.35 (US: 5, 3.2 ounce balls for $3.37). Item #: 0061840.
Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil – We use quite a bit of extra virgin olive oil because it is our oil of choice for most cooking, and for things like salad dressing, to toss with pasta, to coat our vegetables when we roast them, dipping bread, and even some odd things like making brownies. Basically, it is our all purpose oil. Normally I buy the Kirkland Signature brand in the big 2 liter bottle, sometimes we’ve had to buy 2 at a time even. It’s a nice quality oil with a good flavor. However, this time when I ran out and we were trying to pick it up at the Watford Costco, imagine our shock when there was absolutely no Kirkland Signature olive oil available. Not like they had just run out, but they didn’t even have a spot for it on the shelf! They didn’t even have the more expensive KS olive oil in the glass bottle either – nothing KS in the olive oils. But we were lucky to find the very conveniently packaged Berio extra virgin olive oil as a substitute. It too has a nice fruity flavor, like any good olive oil should. The up side is that instead of being in one big container, they have six smaller bottles packaged together. Each of the bottles is half a liter, or 25% of the big KS bottle, so you’re actually getting three liters altogether in this package. The only complaint I have is that the oil comes out a little fast from the big opening on the bottle but I can get used to that. And I will just say that if you’re whipping up some brownies using the delicious, and Costco stocked, Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix, you should really consider trying it with olive oil because it gives the brownies a lighter taste somehow and really compliments the chocolate quite well. 6, 500 ml bottles, 3 liters total, for £11.59 (US: 6, 17.6 ounce bottles for $16.63). Item #: 0073006.
Ribena Blackcurrent Squash – So, one of the British things that Dave and I have both fell in love with is Ribena. It’s this thick syrupy juice drink or cordial, I guess, made from British blackcurrants. Dave tried it at work and made us buy a bottle immediately to try at home. It is delicious! After buying it at Waitrose to try it out, we were really glad to find it at Costco in a big 2 liter bottle (actually there are two of them packaged together), which is a lot less pricey. Add some of the Ribena to a your fizzy water of choice, in a 1 to 4 ration, and you have a yummy juice drink. And best of all, it is high in vitamin C (this is good for those of us that can’t eat oranges). We’re absolutely hooked on this stuff now though. But it’s nice to have something a little different from the fruit world in our juice; a good change from apple, grape, orange or mango which usually makes up our juice selection. Apparently, they have a strawberry version as well. The only weird thing is that it is made by GlaxoSmithKline, which I found out from visiting their website. Odd. 2, 2 liter bottles for £6.99 (US: 2, 2 liter bottles for $10.03). Item #: 0050220.