Well, after taking a few weeks to write about other things, I’m back to my normal Saturday review post. If you’re in the UK, this is the last weekend for the current coupon book. As expected, the next book will start on Monday and I’ll have it posted then too. If you’re in the US, you still have a couple of weeks of shopping left to take advantage of the current bunch of coupons.
Colman’s Mustard – I don’t know how ‘originally English’ this mustard is, but it is great on sandwiches. It can spice up any ordinary sandwich and make it so much better. But it packs a punch! A big one. We’re talking wasabi kind of burning, if you’re not careful. You definitely wouldn’t want to lick this off the knife after making your sandwich because it needs the bread and other things to make it not bring tears to your eyes. But nonetheless, Dave and I love it. Mostly I like it because mustard can sometimes get pushed around by the other flavors on your sandwich, but this one is stout enough to stand up to anything, and still provide a nice mustard taste. It’s a lot like Dijon mustard, in that respect, which I also love. We use too much mustard to buy this anywhere but Costco. Luckily, they have us covered with a nice 3-pack, plus they’re in squeezy bottles. We don’t always put it on sandwiches though. Last week, for instance, I gave my salmon a generous coating of mustard and a dusting of dill before baking it. The mustard and the dill really added a nice flavor to the salmon; it was delicious. Of course, you can also make a nice mustard sauce for your fish, chicken or vegetables. When I’m trying to be quick I use some Greek yogurt, mustard and a little bit of milk that I heat for a little bit and add spices as necessary like dill or pepper. I also love this with chip/fries. And of course, this is a great addition to a homemade salad dressing for a bit more punch. On the bottle the suggest putting some in mashed potatoes, which I’ve got to try since that is a new one to me but since I like it so much with my fried potato products, I can see that it would be delicious. At all of the regular supermarkets, a 150 gram bottle of Colman’s is £1.58. So you are really getting a tremendous deal at Costco where each bottle in this 3-pack is just £1.00; it’s like you’re getting a bottle for free. 3, 150 gram bottles for £2.99 (US: $4.87). Item #: 0088547.
Kit Kat Snack Pack – It seems like I have to write about at least one unhealthy item each week. And this week is no exception because nothing says bad for you like a candy bar, right? However, I like the packaging of these because you can eat the two Kit Kat sticks and satisfy your craving for chocolate and sweets, but not over indulge. Each pack of two sticks is a reasonable 107 calories. Of course, that means you have to have the will power to not eat two or three (or more) of the little packages. I like the Kit Kat bars because of the creamy chocolate with the little crispy crunch of the wafers. I know all of our friends in the US that are from the UK or Europe always say that the chocolate here is different, and I have to say that it does seem different, creamier I think. You expect that when you’re having fancy chocolates from Belgium or Switzerland, but not really from the run of the mill candy bars like this. However, the chocolate does seem creamier somehow and I don’t know if that is because of the difference in milk that they use here or what, but you can certainly notice it. The last time we came back from the US we did bit of a side by side comparison, and while it seemed like everything was the same on the ingredients list and all that, the chocolate really wasn’t the same. In any case, these are delicious and a favorite with a cup of tea or as a little something for after dinner. As I said, I like that you can have just two sticks in the package because I feel like that is a good afternoon treat for me. And even on days when I don’t work out, I don’t have to feel too guilty about having some chocolate. Costco is a good place to buy these too because they are a little bit cheaper than getting them at the regular supermarkets where they are usually £1.00 for 8 of the 2 stick bars. Granted, the savings isn’t huge, but it all adds up. 24, 2 finger bars for £2.89 (US: $4.71). Item: #: 0108038.
Ermes Fontana Italian Smoked Antipasti – Well, I think I’ve talked about my love of cheese and cured Italian meats often enough on here, that no one should be surprised that I had to buy this latest addition to the Costco lineup. This package is a combination of smoked provolone cheese and delicious speck di Parma. And it is all awesome! The speck (yes, that’s ham to you and me) di Parma, also known as Proscuitto di Parma or Parma ham, is so good, it just melts in your mouth. I know it isn’t healthy, but I love that buttery ribbon of fat on prosciutto. So delicious and perfect for antipasto, with bread sticks or melon, or my favourite, just with olives and cheese. This type of prosciutto is also great with figs too. There’s just something about the sweet of the fruit and the salty of the prosciutto that makes a perfect combination. But wait, there’s more! Also in this package is Provolo affumicata, or smoked provolone cheese. Does it get any better than this? No, the answer is definitely, no. The cheese is perfectly sliced so that the pieces are neither too thick, nor too thin, so you get a nice bite of cheese. The smokiness is great and doesn’t overpower the cheese, but really just enhances the taste. If you are having a party, this is a great package because it takes care of two parts of a nice antipasto, add in some olives and you are sure to please your diners. This is also great if you are going on a picnic, or just want to have this with some olives, bread and fruit for dinner, you will not be disappointed. We ended up eating this for a little picnic in the park one afternoon with some olives, bread, and fresh tomatoes to round it out. Yum! Even though the package is only 250 grams, you really do get a nice amount of the prosciutto and cheese. I believe there was 16 slices of cheese and 8 or 9 slices of prosciutto. It was certainly enough for two people but any more than three and you are getting stingy with your prosciutto. 250 grams for £4.89 (US: $7.96). Item #: 0133320.
Parmesan Stravecchio – Normally, I just buy the regular Parmigiano Reggiano that Costco sells in nice little hunks and I’ve always found it to be really good. However, this time I saw this Stravecchio and thought I’d give it a try to see if the extra ageing made that much of a difference. The regular Parmigiano at Costco is aged for 24 months, but the Stravecchio is aged for 36 months. What you can notice with that longer ageing process is a darker color to the cheese; it’s slight but you can definitely notice a more golden color to the Stravecchio. The other difference is the more prominent patches of crystallised amino acids. When you see these patches on the outside of the cheese they look like white spots on the cheese and might be mistaken for mold even, but they’re not anything you need to be afraid of, plus the crystals give a little crunchy texture to the cheese. While you will find this in the younger cheese too, you find more crystals in the cheese that is aged longer. The big difference that probably most people care about is the taste though. The younger cheese seems to have a sharper flavour with kind of a nutty taste, whereas the older one has mellowed more and lost some of the bite and the nuttiness is replaced by a more fruity flavour. The Stravecchio, since it is more mellow, is excellent served in chunks with fruit. However, I also like to grate it on things the same way I do the younger version. When I’ve grated it onto hot items it melts beautifully and still manages to provide the taste that we all love so much about Parmigiano Reggiano. Depending on what you are serving the cheese with, the Stravecchio might not be as prominent as a younger cheese because of its more mellow flavour, so you kind of need to make sure that you don’t overpower it completely. As you would assume, the older cheese is a bit more expensive than the younger version by a few pounds/dollars per chunk at Costco. If you treat your hunk of Parmesan nicely, it will last you long enough to actually use the large wedges that they sell at Costco. I usually wrap mine in a piece of paper towel and then store it in a zip top bag; you want to avoid exposing it to air because that will dry it out (and not in a good way). If you keep it free of moisture it will last quite a while. 700 gram wedge for £10.83 (US: $17.63). Item #: 0055515.