Like a good little Costco addict, the first thing I did after we moved into our new flat was go to Costco. We moved in Friday and Saturday morning we were at Costco bright and early. There’s always some stuff you need to pick up for a new place, plus we had really depleted our stores of food and cleaning supplies before the move so that we wouldn’t end up moving even more stuff. And I was glad that we went because there were so so many great things that we picked up. I’ve got an international round up of delicious goodies today in my bunch of reviews that I picked up.
I do apologize for being a bit slack on my blogging the last couple of weeks but with moving comes a change in Internet provider and that did not go as smoothly as we had hoped. It wasn’t until late Tuesday evening that we finally had broadband on something other than a mobile. Luckily that is over and we are back to mostly normal now with just a few more things to do around the flat before I can consider us fully unpacked and organized. Why does moving never seem to go smoothly no matter how much you plan and try to stay on top of things?
Wolf Berner Sausages – I won’t deny that I like a good German sausage, so naturally when I saw this new kind from the same company, Wolf, that makes the outstanding Thuringer brats at Costco, I had to pick them up. I don’t know how you could resist them because they are a Frankfurter type sausage with Emmental cheese inside and wrapped in bacon. What is not to love there? They cook up beautifully! The bacon, which is from the belly not like streaky bacon we are used to in the US, gets nicely golden brown with a good bit of crunch to it when you cook it too and wraps the sausage in a lovely meaty blanket. The first time we made them we weren’t sure how they would turn out in the oven, but they did really well. We don’t have a an outdoor grill so we have to make due with our oven, but the sausages didn’t care they still turned out perfectly. Though I’m positive these would be a definite winner on a real grill. There’s just no way around it, the sausages are delicious! I’m sure you could serve them on buns, like a hot dog, but we skipped that in favour of just serving them with a bit of sauerkraut and some type of potatoes – mashed, croquettes, rosti – and of course a bit of strong mustard too. If I were really enterprising I’d whip up some spätzle to go with them, but I took the easy way out with potatoes. Clearly, these are sausages with cheese and bacon, so these are not an item for those watching their waistlines, nor their cholesterol either I suppose. Of course, it isn’t like you’d have these every day either, so as a special treat they are fabulous. It is believed that the Berner sausages originated in Southern Germany or Austria, depending on what I read. But no matter where they are from, they are delicious and something I will definitely get again. We’re going to be in Austria and Bavaria in a couple of weeks and now I’m wondering if they’ll have these there. 2, 6 sausage packages; 1000 grams for £5.29 (US: $8.63). Item #: 0168578.
Nyakers Pepparkakor / Ginger Snaps – Now, moving on from Germany to Sweden, for ginger snaps or ginger biscuits or gingerbread or pepparkakor. Depending on what country you’re in, clearly. I think of these as ginger snaps and love them and have since I was a kid. It turns out it is really hard to find a good, true ginger snap in London but I’ve been ordering some from Ocado that I really like because luckily they carry a nice selection of Swedish foods. So, when I saw that same brand at Costco in this giant tin for 900 grams for £3.99 there was no way I was passing that up. Just for comparison, I’ve been paying £1.25 for a 150 gram box of these same ginger snaps from Ocado but at Costco I got a big 900 grams of them for £3.99 with a cute tin too. So, a similar amount of 900 grams would cost £7.50 to buy through Ocado; Costco is definitely a great deal on these. I like a bit of gingery tang to my ginger snaps and these definitely deliver along with a really nice flavour. You can tell they are going to taste great the second you open the tin and you get a big hit of ginger. The biscuits are thin and crispy with a lovely flavour of not just ginger but cinnamon and cloves too. They taste every bit as good as they smell. I find a snap or two in the afternoon a nice little treat. And they are great with tea or a cold glass of milk, of course. I find them useful if I’ve got a bit of an upset stomach too because of the ginger. I have some medicine I take that makes me a bit queasy sometimes, so if I have a couple of ginger snaps it can really help me feel tons better. Nyakers, the second largest producer of gingerbread in the world, specializes in gingerbread or ginger snaps with a wide variety of flavours and types, but they also make other cookies too. They are based in Nyåker, Västerbotten, Sweden where they have been making delicious ginger snaps since 1952. Clearly it is working well for them and I’m glad that Costco is carrying these, I hope this isn’t just a seasonal thing. But I might have to buy a second tin, just in case. 900 grams for £3.99 (US: $6.51). Item #: 0111425.
Chiostro di Saronno Chocolate Panettone – And for my final international treat, it’s panettone from Italy. I couldn’t believe that it is already panettone season at Costco! But I was thrilled just the same when I saw Dave leaning on the big stack of panettone tins. They had the original panettone, but they also had a new one too: chocolate panettone. Since we’ve never had the chocolate panettone, we had to try it. I’ve been getting my panettone fix at Costco for years now, even before we moved in the UK, but at the Costco here they have the Chiostro di Saronno panettone and it is the best I’ve tried. I love the original panettone and will, without a doubt, be getting one of those this year too; it’s my special Christmas treat to myself. Dave doesn’t really like the panettone in the original flavour, but I thought he would like this one because it is chocolate. And he did, though he says it isn’t quite enough chocolate for him. The chocolate panettone has a liquidy chocolate center but still is the very tall cakey bready panettone. Well, they don’t put the dried fruits in the chocolate one either. But the taste of the surrounding bread is just like a regular panettone, with the addition of chocolate to sweeten it up. I like the chocolate version, but it will never replace the original panettone in my heart. The chocolate is not quite as milk chocolatey as I would like, I think. If it were more like a center filled with Nutella, then I would be in love, but as it is is it nice but not as good as the original. Like the original panettone, the chocolate one comes in a nice tin to keep it fresh and tasty for long enough for you to eat a huge kilogram of panettone. As much as this was a nice treat, I’ll definitely be getting an original panettone too this year. I’m just glad that they got them in this early so that I can enjoy both. If you’re going to get a chocolate panettone or a regular one from Chiostro, you definitely want to get them at Costco because they are a lot less expensive than you’ll find them for anywhere else. Amazon UK has the chocolate panettone right now for £14.99, not including the £2.30 for shipping, instead of the £5.99 at Costco. Glad I do my panettone shopping at Costco! 1 kilogram for £5.99 (US: $9.77). Item #: 0059336.
3M Command Picture Hanging Pack – If you’re a renter, or someone that really hates the idea of screwing or nailing things into your walls or doors, then the 3M Command strips and hooks are the solution for you. We’ve got a lot of these now because they are so handy when you don’t want to damage the walls when you’re renting. These smart little strips allow us to have hooks on the backs of doors or in kitchen cupboards without any fear that they won’t remove without a trace. They have all sizes of hooks too and they even have different finishes now too, not just the plain white hooks, they have clear ones and even some that look like brushed nickel. This pack from Costco has the neat picture hanging strips that are a very cool way to hang pictures easily and quickly without using tools. You put the strips on the picture frame hooked together and when the two meet they hook together (it’s a bit like Velcro but more sturdy it seems) and then you press it onto the wall and your picture hangs securely. And you didn’t even need a hammer. You when you want to remove the picture from the wall you just peel the frame off slowly and then you can remove the strips in the normal way. In the pack at Costco you have sight sets of picture hanging strips, four in large and four in medium size. Depending on the size of your frame it takes one, two or four strips according to 3M. We’ve had really good luck using these for some of our pictures. The only thing you have to worry about is not hanging anything too heavy from them because that just won’t work out well. Also in the pack at Costco are three clear utensil hooks. These have a clear back with a clear strip and a little metal hook that can lift up on them and are ideal for hanging things in the kitchen or anywhere you need just a little hook really. They don’t hold anything too heavy, so you have to be careful about that but they are so small it would be hard to find something super heavy that you wanted to put on them anyway. The other thing in this kit is a set of two clear medium hooks. These are made from clear plastic and have clear Command strips. Unlike the other ones we have you just hang these right on the strips and the tab (that you pull to remove the strip) hangs down below the hook area for even easier removal. These are a brilliant solution for those times when you just want your hook to blend into the wall, door or trim. We are using these to tidy up a bunch of cables along the trim in our office. The hook area is perfect for this type of thing and since they are clear they are not noticeable at all. I’m a big fan of the 3M Command strips and all of their assorted hooks and just bought a bunch of refills for our new place, and I know that these can really get a bit pricey. If you had to buy this set at Amazon you would pay £3.10 for the large hanging strips, £3.79 for the medium hanging strips, £3.99 for the clear medium hooks, and £5.33 for the clear utensil hooks for a total of £16.21! That’s a savings of £6.22 at Costco, which is pretty great and enough to buy more hooks. 8 picture hanging strips and 5 hooks for £9.99 (US: $16.30). Item #: 0166300.