Happy Spring, everyone! It is officially Spring since the Vernal Equinox was on Friday, along with the solar eclipse. Here in London, the eclipse was a little less impressive than it could have been if it hadn’t been so cloudy. It just looked like a dreary morning, but they had much cooler images on BBC of it all happening live. And then it was a super sunny day, even if not very warm, nonetheless, it was a great way to welcome Spring!
Footsteps Sweet Cherry Peppers with Ricotta – I think that not too long ago I wrote about how much I love these little peppers stuffed with ricotta. So of course, when I saw these in a package of their own, not paired with anything else, I had to get them. Yum! These are so delicious and have definitely lived up to my expectations. They peppers are sightly sweet and slightly fiery, and when combined with the soft texture of the ricotta it’s all just perfection to my tastebuds. The peppers come in an oil based marinade that imparts a bit more flavour because it has garlic and parsley in it. But really, it’s all about the peppers and the cheese. The cheese is so creamy in these, I’m not sure if that is the type of ricotta that they are using but my guess is that it is a result of the oil that these peppers are stored in, but either way it is really lovely. The peppers do still maintain a little bit of snap in their texture, even with the oil. The two textures work well together, just like the tastes. These are great on their own and would certainly be a hit at a party. However, I also like them as part of a salad, just to give it a little bit of pep. They are great when teamed up with olives (reviewed below), good bread, and some prosciutto too for a little lunch or picnic. This was the first time that I had seen this brand in our Costco and I’m glad we did because these were an immediate favourite. I’ll definitely be picking these up again. There’s quite a few of these peppers in this package too, even if it doesn’t necessarily look like it. The price seemed reasonable too, especially considering how much these types of things are when you buy them at the regular supermarket; like £2.50 to £3.50 for 150 gram packages. 350 grams for £5.99. Item #: 0156561.
Footsteps Chorizo Meatballs – I buy chorizo sausages quite often from Costco because they have so much flavour and can really add a bit of pizzazz to something like pasta. So, when I saw these chorizo meatballs, I couldn’t pass them up. I like the spiciness of chorizo because they are spicy, without making your mouth feel like you’ve eaten lava, and have a really nice distinctive taste. The one thing that isn’t so great about chorizo is the amount of fat that they leave behind. And these meatballs were certainly no exception to that. We baked ours in the oven (or you can fry them according to the instructions on the package) and they were pretty much floating in fat by the time we were done cooking them. Of course, that fat does make them great for adding to spaghetti for a twist on your regular spaghetti and meatballs. It’s like they made their own sauce really. So, we added the whole pan of fatty goodness and meatballs to our spaghetti and it tasted really great. I mean, it probably wasn’t that much more fat than you might add to your spaghetti if you were tossing it was olive oil, so the pasta didn’t seem greasy at all. But it was really quite flavourful. They also suggest that you can serve these on their own like tapas, and I’m sure that would be great. I’ll bet these would make an outstanding meatball sandwich too. At Costco, you get two, individually sealed packages with 20 meatballs per package, so 40 in all. The meatballs aren’t huge, but they are quite rich so they are a good size to enjoy but not feel gross after you’ve eaten them. As I said, we cooked them and if you wanted to drain off some of the fat instead of indulge in it like we did, I would suggest cooking them on a rack to let them cook without stewing in their own fatty goodness. We haven’t tried this but I’m thinking this is probably what I will try with the second package. Also, if you are wondering, I reheated some of them in the microwave and they still were good and moist that way. 2, 340 gram packages for £6.99. Item #: 0173080.
The Fresh Olive Company Nocellara Olives – I must admit that I was reluctant to give the olives from The Fresh Olive Company another go after trying them previously and finding them way too vinegary. However, they had a demonstration set up on our last visit with a bunch of different kinds of olives. So we were totally lured in by these and decided to give them another chance. There were also some really purple olives (not Kalamatas) that we wanted to try because they were delicious, unfortunately, they didn’t have those available at our Costco yet, but they are coming apparently. In any case, we decided on these very green Nocellara olives because they had a really nice fresh taste that really appealed to both of us. Plus, we’ve not had these anywhere before, at least not that we were aware of, so it was a nice change from the regular olives we eat. Nocellara olives, also known as Castelvetrano olives, come from Sicily and aside from being tasty to eat, are used to make olive oil. They have a nice mild flavour and thankfully The Fresh Olive Company didn’t mess up that great flavour by putting them in some overly vinegared brine solution. The brine that they are in is really pretty close to flavourless so it doesn’t get in the way of the flavour at all. These olives still have a pit, which may be unappealing to some people, but for the taste of these I’m willing to deal with that little annoyance. We eat these just by themselves, or with things like the peppers mentioned above. I find they make a great little snack in the late afternoon when I’m feeling kind of hungry. I like the flavour and will definitely get some of these again. And we will definitely give some of the other selections from The Fresh Olive Company a try too, especially if we can find those big purple olives. 750 grams for £5.49. Item #: 0166639.
Baci del Chiostro Cookies – These were a totally new thing for me, but as soon as I saw that they were made by the same people, Chiostro di Saronno, as the delicious panettone that Costco carries around Christmas, I knew I was going to have to try them. Of course, they are a chocolate and hazelnut cookie, so really, what’s not to like anyway? These are like a little sandwich cookie really, like a very upscale Oreo. There are two cookies, which are made with hazelnuts as well, and then there is a chocolate and hazelnut layer in the middle. Delicious! The cookies are crunchy without being brittle. But for me the best thing is that there’s a lot of hazelnut flavour going on. If you like Nutella, you’ll be a big fan of these, I’m sure. It smells so much like Nutella when you open the package. They really are proof that good things come in small packages. Each cookie is quite small, maybe an inch in diameter, but they are so flavourful that you don’t mind the small size. They are great with a cup of tea or coffee (I imagine since I don’t really drink coffee) or even a glass of milk. I like the small size too because it is great when I’m wanting just a little something sweet. The other nice thing is that they are all individually wrapped. They come sealed in a little silvery packet that is then more decorously wrapped in a black and orange paper wrapper with the logo and necessary ingredient information. The inner packet though means that they will remain fresh and you don’t have to worry about them turning stale before you get a chance to eat them. I’ve not seen these anywhere before, but apparently you can buy them at Amazon UK too, of course, for a lot more money. At Amazon UK they want almost £10.00 for a package of 200 grams. So more money for fewer cookies than at Costco by a pretty serious margin. I’m sure these are a seasonal thing, but I’m hoping Costco carries them all the time now because they are so good. The box is a bit annoying though because it is like a large pizza box – flat but a big square – so it is rather cumbersome in your rubbish or recycling. Yes, the packaging is the only thing I didn’t love about these. 380 grams for £5.99. Item #: 0184807.