I’m doing a bit of an abbreviated post this week, since it is the holiday. I decided late in the week that I would actually kind of take a break for the four day weekend but didn’t manage to get my post completely written. If you’re in the US, UK, Canada, or Australia, don’t forget that you won’t be able to do any Costco shopping on Sunday because all of the stores in those countries will be CLOSED for Easter.
Square Pie Canapies – Often when Costco has a special vendor come in for a roadshow or special sample situation, it’s pretty standard table or booth situation. However, last weekend we were amazed to see a cute little (but seriously, full sized) Air Stream trailer back by the freezer section. My initial reaction was how did they get an Air Stream back here? I’m all about the logistics. LOL It was a really cute way to hand out samples and definitely get the attention of shoppers. There’s no way you can just walk past the food truck and not stop and ask about what they are handing out. The only other place I’ve seen such a production out of a roadshow was in Seoul where there was a similar, though not as cute, trailer handing out samples of Tom N Toms Coffee. In any case, this Air Stream was for the Square Pie company who were handing out samples of their delicious canapies, a clever play on canapés. They say their canapies are “proper pies, just smaller”. Naturally, we had to try a sample and then because they were so good we decided we would buy our own box of canapies.
In the box you get nine different pies in three different flavours. You get three each of steak and ale, chicken and mushroom, and BBQ bourbon beef. The pies are probably around 2 inch wide squares of lovely meat pie goodness. I’m not all about the meat pies but these were really good. Too many of the pies that we’ve had since moving to London have had a really bad crust that was either too hard or too soggy or just yucky, or, the filling is gluey or flavourless or both. However, the Square Pie Canapies certainly redeem the pie in my eyes. They have a light flakey pastry crust that really nice and light enough to not overpower the filling and end up being the only thing you can taste. Of course, that might have been hard to pull off anyway because their fillings were filled with nice big pieces of meat and they were all really flavourful. They use only fresh beef and chicken from British and Irish farms, so no strange meat pieces and leftovers. Dave preferred the chicken and mushroom, which had lovely good sized pieces of breast meat that were still nice and moist. I really liked the steak and ale, which also had nice sized pieces of meat that clearly was beef (no mystery meat surprise in the pies) and the tang of the ale was just the right amount to enhance but not drown the flavour. The BBQ bourbon beef flavour was nice too with lots of meat inside and while it wasn’t our favourite we did both like it. I’m not a fan of most BBQ stuff because I don’t like the sweetness in the BBQ sauces, and this was good but a bit too sweet for me still. But seriously, all of them were really good. Now I understand why there’s always a crowd around the Square Pie people when we have been at Spitalfields. I thought it was just one of those trendy food things that I wasn’t cool enough to want to wait in line to have. But no, their pies are really yummy! I am hoping that they start selling these at Costco all of the time now. 9, 60 gram mini pies for £5.99 (US: $10.06). Item #: 0164499.
Fresh Pineberries – Have you ever heard of pineberries? Neither Dave nor I had heard of these, much less tried them. At first we thought they just looked like some strange experiment in strawberry growing. But then when we looked a little closer we realized that they had a very different texture on the berry than a normal strawberry. The berry part is a very pale yellowy-pink colour, that is almost white, and the seeds are super bright red; I’m not even sure they really are seeds. But the texture is what is really strange because it is almost like a basket weave or intricate carving because the seeds are in these little nooks and the rest of the berry puffs up around the seeds giving it a very textural, almost sculptural look. They look totally strange. They’re not as big as strawberries usually are now, but they look more like the size of a wild strawberry or the ones you might actually grow yourself. The price is pretty shocking too because at £3.99 for just 250 grams, they are not really a low cost fruit item. But when we looked up and saw the sign that said “looks like a white strawberry tastes like pineapple”, we knew we must try these berries. How can anything that looks like a strawberry taste like a pineapple? What the what?!? The even more amazing part is that it isn’t just some smart marketing ploy to lure in people like me, these berries actually do have a pineapple flavour. It isn’t super strong but they have that acidic sweet taste just like a pineapple. The really juicy ones really tasted like a perfectly sweet pineapple, some of the less ripe or juicy ones tasted less pineapply but it was still there in the background. The berries aren’t huge like most strawberries you get in stores now, but they were all quite juicy, even the ones that weren’t as juicy as others were still more juicy than most strawberries. We just ate ours as is without any adornment because they were really juicy and sweet and tasted like pineapple; we couldn’t get over the novelty. The flavour is really nice and I wouldn’t want to risk masking it with anything, but I imagine that it would be good on a tart or with some vanilla ice cream maybe. According to Wikipedia, the Pineberry is a mix of two different types of strawberries – one from South American and one from North America. They were brought back from near extinction by some enterprising Dutch farmers in 2003 and have been for sale in the UK since 2011. They are pretty much grown on small farms and the plants don’t have a huge output, so clearly they aren’t available all over or inexpensively. So, that explains why most people have never heard of this berry. I am definitely glad that Costco had them so that we could try them out and I’m even happier that someone had the sense to explain what they were on sign, otherwise we would have walked right past the “weird strawberries” and just figured this was some kind of fruit nonsense. 250 grams for £3.99 (US: $6.70). Item #: 0131246.