It’s been a busy week! If you didn’t see the news, and you’re a Costco US shopper, after March 2016 Costco and American Express will no longer have a co-branded card; Costco has yet to announce who the replacement will be though. If you’re a Costco Taiwan shopper, don’t forget that there are special hours through Chinese New Year on February 19; for all the details see my post from yesterday. I hope everyone has a nice Valentine’s Day!
Kirkland Signature Jelly Belly Jelly Beans – I think this is the first time Dave and I have ever had the giant canister of Jelly Belly’s from Costco, which is probably a good thing because you can’t just have two jelly beans. In the enormous canister at Costco there are 49 different flavours (in the US version or 45 different flavours in the UK), all of which seem popular with someone in our household, and have quite a range. They definitely have the basic fruity flavours with things like orange, peach, blueberry, and watermelon. However, it is the more interesting flavours that I really like, things like chocolate puddings, toasted marshmallow and A&W cream soda. But the one flavour that Dave and I both like best, unfortunately, is the buttered popcorn. I don’t know what it is about that flavour but it is just delicious to both of us. I wish they would sell a whole canister of just the buttered popcorn. Yum! On second though, maybe it’s better that I can’t get my hands on something like that. Really, Jelly Bellys are a treat and there’s no way to act like they are anything but sugar, however, it is good to note that many of their flavours come from actual fruit, juices, or foods. But I think we all realize that these aren’t fitting into a diet plan, they are just a sweet indulgence. But if you know someone that is a big jelly bean fan, there’s no better (as in more affordable) place to buy them. They are £4 or £5 more to buy at Amazon UK and almost $10 more to buy at Amazon US. So if you need to get your Jelly Belly fix, save some money and get them at Costco, just remember portion control is your friend. 1.81 kilograms for £14.86 in the UK; item #: 730755. 4 pounds for $15.89 in the US; item #: 12173.
Kirkland Signature Chocolates of the World – I have seen the Chocolates of the World for a number of years at Costco but I’ve never made the purchase for various reasons. But this year I got these as a gift around Christmas and am glad that I finally had the chance to try them. As the name suggests, these are chocolates from around the world: Belgium, Germany, Mexico, Canada, Ireland, France, Switzerland, and the US. There is plenty of variety to please lots of different tastes, and for us it was good because it was a mix of milk and dark chocolate (I like milk and Dave prefers dark chocolate). Even though it isn’t my favourite, the dark chocolate that they’ve used to make these is really nice and not at all bitter, which is what usually puts me off. I think between us we enjoyed all of these, and thus it is almost impossible to pick a favourite. However, if pushed, I think I would say that I like the milk chocolate hazelnut, milk chocolate pistachio, and the malty milk truffle the best. The dark chocolate ganache and dark chocolate gingerbread are really good too. Honestly though, they’re all really good. I love that they are individually wrapped because that makes them perfect for filling up a bowl or container at the holidays or anytime of year. There are some that are filled with Grand Marnier and Kahlua but I’m not sure they actually have any alcoholic content. The Kahlua one definitely says it is non-alcoholic in the ingredients but the Grand Marnier ingredients list isn’t as specific. Funny enough, the Kahlua one tasted the most like it had alcohol in it. In any case, these chocolates were a really nice treat with a lot of variety. These would make a really nice gift at the holidays too, I mean, I certainly enjoyed getting them. 2 pounds for $11.59 (UK: £7.53). Item #: 912498.
Kirkland Signature Organic Strawberry Spread – I love strawberry jam or preserves and this is a really good version. It’s thick and lovely with lots of strawberry, not just strawberry flavour. It’s made with 40% more strawberries than most preserves so it has a thickness and a flavour that is hard to match in other spreads. The other thing that is nice is that this is made with fresh, organic strawberries that have never been frozen. Since the strawberries haven’t been frozen I think that might help the texture too. But I think the fact that the strawberries and the sugar that they use to make this spread are both 100% organic is something people find really appealing. So many jam, preserves, and fruit spreads are made with frozen fruit or even worse just juice from concentrate, that it is definitely nice to find something that is more like what you might make at home if you were enterprising. I’m not that enterprising, so I’m glad that Costco makes such a nice strawberry spread. There are just four ingredients in this spread, so you don’t have lots of fakery sneaking in, it’s just strawberries, sugar, fruit pectin, and citric acid. The taste is really strawberry with just the right amount of sweet, not overly sweet, which I certainly prefer. This is great on toast but also nice to add to plain yogurt to make your own fruity yogurt (I suggest the Fage greek yogurt which you can also get at Costco). I think this would be great to add to crepes or pancakes too or even to put on ice cream as a strawberry sauce. It’s not super thick, like other jams or jelly, so you have a bit more flexibility. That slightly runnier texture also makes me feel like I don’t need as much when I put it on my toast. If you haven’t tried this, and like strawberry jam or preserves, I would definitely suggest this. The jar is big, there’s no doubt about that, but it seems to last quite well in the fridge. We got this in the US, so I’m not sure they have it at other Costco locations, but I certainly hope so. 42 ounces for $6.99 (UK: £4.54). Item #: 421793.
Bunderberg Ginger Beer – I really like ginger ale or ginger beer because of the gingery bite. Ginger beer is actually different than ginger ale because it is brewed and usually this means you can actually see the ginger pieces at the bottom of the bottle, but it also means there is definitely more ginger bite. I take some medicine that is hard on my stomach and often leaves me feeling a bit queasy but I’ve found that with some ginger, in some form, I can avoid feeling so yucky. Right before our last trip to Costco, I had tried a bottle of the Bunderberg Ginger Beer for the first time and found it really good. It has a nice gingery bite without being too harsh. And then amazingly, when we were at Costco they had a case of it. Usually I just have to buy it at the regular supermarkets, where it is much more pricey than at Costco, so I’m thrilled that they had this and I hope they keep stocking it too. Bunderberg, an Australian company, produces a variety of brewed drinks, including root beer, guava, and peach. They have a multi-day brewing process that really makes the most of the flavours. For the ginger beer they have a four day process, which starts with dried ginger, grown in Queensland, Australia, that they grind into a ginger flour. Next, the add this ginger powder to cane sugar and water and heat it up to release all the good flavours and break down the ginger starch into sugar. Then, they add this to a special yeast and start the fermentation process. After this they filter this into a concentrated ginger mixture that still retains some small pieces of ginger and they mature it until they get the right flavour. Finally, to make the concentrate drinkable, they dilute it with water, sugar, and citric acid add the carbonation and put it into bottles. I think this brewing process, that might sound a bit complicated and certainly more involved than what they do to create ginger ale or less ginger beers, really does make for a better ginger beer in the end. The bottles are a good size too, at least for my purposes, but you should be aware that they don’t have a screw cap so you can’t seal it back up part way through. At Costco the price is about £0.65 per 375ml bottle, as compared to £1.12 per 375ml bottle at Tesco or Ocado. That’s a huge difference, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Costco keeps this on the shelves. 12, 375 ml bottles for £7.79 (US: $11.98). Item #: 00707020.