Dave and I are moving to a new flat next week and things have been a bit hectic and crazy here the last couple of weeks. And we’re rapidly getting to the point where we have too much stuff stacked up ready to be moved. The move means that I’ve been a bit bad about blogging and responding to emails here, but I promise I will be back to normal in about 10 days (hopefully). We’re lucky that there’s a three day weekend so we can have all of that time to move and organize the new place before getting back to work. Sadly, it looks like I’m going to spend my birthday unpacking this year instead of hiking in Switzerland as I had hoped.
Cilento Burrata – If you like mozzarella, you are sure to like this too. Burrata is made from mozzarella and cream for a super creamy texture. They make this by using an outer layer of mozzarella to contain a soft, creamy center made of a mixture of mozzarella and cream. When they are making burrata, the still-hot cheese is formed into a pouch, which is then filled with scraps of leftover mozzarella and topped off with fresh cream before closing into a little container of creamy goodness. Of course, with my love of cheese, I couldn’t help but like this one too. I really like fresh mozzarella but the extra creaminess of the burrata is amazing. Because of the creamy texture and the delicate taste we like to eat it at room temperature with crusty bread, olives and a selection of cured Italian meats (see the item below). However, we did use a little bit in some calzones that we made and it worked quite well with a slightly softer consistency than when we use regular mozzarella. Either way, I love it. But it really is best served just fresh, I think. It would be perfect if you were having a salad and wanted just a bit of cheese to give it an extra punch of flavour. We have also tried it with pasta and that worked quite well. The burrata made a bit of a cheesy sauce like situation on the pasta which was lovely. In the container at Costco you get two 150 gram burrata cheeses in a watery mixture, just like with a decent fresh mozzarella. I could totally eat one of these just by myself for lunch with crusty bread and such. We tied them on a picnic and they worked pretty well but they are a bit messier because of the creamy center, so you just have to be prepared for that when you slice into it. It’s so good though, it is worth the little bit of extra mess. 2, 150 gram cheeses for £3.29 (US: $5.49). Item #: 0767558.
Francesco Mazzei Dolce & Piccante Selection – I love the Italian cured meats, sausages, and salamis, so I was definitely going to have to pick this up sooner or later to try it out. This is a great sampler of three different varieties of Italian salami: coppa (aka capocollo), salsiccia, and ventricina. And all of those are in spicy and mild options and each comes in it’s own little sealed portion of the tray so that the flavours don’t get muddled being packaged together. This individual packaging also means that it is easy to open one of them or a mild and spicy pair, without exposing all of them so they stay fresher longer. We found this to be a perfect picnic companion when served with the burrata, olives and crunchy bread. The only thing I would suggest is that you bring a way to open the package because it looks like you should just be able to peel off the clear plastic film, but not really. I was able to manhandle it into opening but a small knife would have made the process much easier and no risk of breaking a nail that way. I really liked the coppa or capocollo best, I think. The spicy version was delicious but the mild was also really nice. The spicy versions aren’t super hot and especially not when you mix them with other things, like cheese or bread. The mild versions are nice because you can get all of the nuance of the flavours of the meats. Honestly, I liked them all so much I don’t think I could pick a favourite. It was nice to have the variety though and the price for the Italian meats like this is always the best at Costco, I’ve found. 240 grams for £4.99 (US: $8.33). Item #; 0153804.
Pot Noodle Brazilian BBQ – I’m not sure that “repulsive” is a strong enough term for the Brazilian BBQ Pot Noodle. And really, it wasn’t because it was Pot Noodle either. The nasty flavour, and smell, was due to the gross concoction of spices and flavourings that they use. I’m not even sure what they think made it even remotely Brazilian or BBQ because it didn’t have any type of pleasing flavour like you might expect from those two. To be honest. the first time Dave whipped up one of these for lunch it smelled like someone had been violently ill in the kitchen. We actually had to take the trash out to get rid of the stenchy odour. And it didn’t taste any better than it smelled. But sadly, we were left with 11 of these to try to choke down. Dave determined that if he dumped out as much of the spices and flavourings as possible then it wasn’t that bad, especially if he doctored it up with some of our own spices like cayenne and garlic. We have gotten the Chicken and Mushroom Pot Noodle (from Costco, of course) and rather liked it for a quick lunch. I mean, it isn’t gourmet or anything but when you need lunch in a bit of a speedy fashion it works out quite well and is filling. They have really gotten the salt content down so that I think it is one of the lowest of any of these types of quick noodle pots. Plus, despite what we might all think, there are no artificial colours or preservatives in Pot Noodle with all flavours being 100% suitable for vegetarians (according to their website). Well, whatever the all natural stuff was they chose for the Brazilian BBQ flavour didn’t not combine well. It tasted nasty and was not even worth the £5.79 we had to pay for it with the coupon…thankfully there was a coupon so we didn’t have to pay full price for nasty noodles. If you stay away from this flavour, buying the 12 pack of Pot Noodle at Costco is a great deal where you’ll end up paying much less than at a regular supermarket. Just trust me, you don’t want to have to force down a dozen Brazilian BBQ Pot Noodles! 12 containers for £5.79 (£8.99 – £3.20 offer) (US: $9.67). Item #: 0167563.
Kirkland Signature Chocolate Chunk Cookies – It should be illegal to sell anything this chocolaty and delicious! They call these chocolate chunk cookies which makes it sound like they are just chocolate chip cookies made with big chunky chips instead of normal ones. But, no, that isn’t the full story at all. These are actually chocolate cookies with chocolate chunks, that also have a chocolate coating on the bottom. Yeah, total chocolate overload. But so, so, so good! Since these are made by Walkers to Costco’s specifications, you have to know there’s no way they could be bad. The chunks of chocolate are a combination of dark and milk chocolate and the bottom coating is dark chocolate. However, if you are not all about the dark chocolate don’t worry because it isn’t at all bitter or overwhelming. I’m really anti-dark chocolate but I loved these cookies and thought they tasted outstanding. The box looks bigger than what you might expect for just 24 cookies inside, but they are packaged very nicely to avoid breaking or sticking together because of the chocolate coating. Inside the box you will find three individually wrapped containers of eight cookies each. And while the cookies aren’t big in size, they are big in flavour and richness, so you truly wouldn’t want them to be bigger, I think. They are an excellent companion to a glass of milk for a delicious treat. These cookie also use ethically sourced cocoa from a program co-created by Costco. The new program is aiming to develop a more ethical and sustainable cocoa supply using beans that traceable, of high quality and grown in a responsible manner, both socially and environmentally. So, not only does the chocolate taste good but it’s doing good too. The cocoa farmers get fair prices for the high quality beans and receive training in farm and crop management. So, it’s pretty cool for Costco to be involved in that way. I just hope that this is a product that they keep stocking at Costco because they are so delicious and I like that they are doing good with their cocoa program too. 3, 8 cookie packets for £4.49 (US: $7.50). Item #: 0834707.