This is the last weekend for the current Costco US coupon book, so make the most of it. And since Halloween is next Saturday, if you need to pick up candy, and can have it in the house for a week, this is probably the perfect time to pick that up too. Dave and I are out of town for a few days, trading in the cool weather here in London for hot and humid Singapore, where I think it is supposed to storm every day we are there. Luckily, Singapore is so hot all the time that they have a lot of cool, indoor things to do, like the incredible Gardens by the Bay. Then we’re off to Hong Kong for a few days, where it will be slightly less hot, humid, and stormy (hopefully).
Kirkland Signature Luxury Belgian Chocolates – The Kirkland Signature chocolates are delicious and they have a nice variety in the box with both milk and dark chocolate plus a variety of fillings. They make a really nice gift this time of year because most everyone loves chocolate. Not to mention, they come gift wrapped already, so that is one less step that you have to do yourself. The first time I had them I was impressed with the quality of the chocolate because it is very creamy and has a really lovely flavor; just like more expensive European chocolates. In each package you get a mix of dark, milk, and white chocolate, though the white chocolate is just a small part. I’m not usually a dark chocolate person, but even I had to admit that their dark chocolate was excellent. The dark chocolate is not bitter and dry like cheaper chocolates and is every bit as good to my milk-chocolate loving tastebuds. There are actually eighteen (18) different chocolates in the box. Seven of these are enrobed in dark chocolate and have different fillings of fruit, caramel, and ganache. Eight of the variety are enrobed in milk chocolate with a number of them having caramel fillings of different kinds, as well as a couple that are coffee flavoured. There are just three different chocolates that are made with white chocolate and they have a nut fillings. In the box you get five individually wrapped layers that each contain nine chocolates (so, 45 chocolates total) and obviously each layer has a nice variety of the chocolates in the collection. I love that each layer is individually wrapped so that you don’t have to worry about taking your time eating them and can really enjoy and savour them more. In any case, these are definitely not for the diet conscious, for sure. Though they are for the socially conscious since all of the chocolates are made from socially responsible and sustainably soured cocoa beans. I’ve bought several boxes of the KS Belgian chocolates over the years because they are so good and they are at such spectacular prices when compared to other chocolate variety boxes like this, even though the quality is probably just as good. They have these cute little boxes right now for Christmas, but you can also find them, in different varieties and boxes, at Easter time and around Mother’s Day too. 570 gram/1.26 lb box for £7.99 +VAT. Item #: 0869351.
Oebel Marzipan Stollen – I know it isn’t a favourite for a lot of people, but I really like stollen. It’s kind of like the German version of panettone, which I absolutely love, but a little more dense and not nearly as tall and certainly much sweeter. This stollen is filled with sultanas, candied lemon and orange peels, almonds and even some hazelnuts, plus it ha a thick filling of marzipan running through the center. Yum! And of course there’s the generous regular and powdered sugar sprinkled on the top to make it perfectly sweet. It’s sweet and nicely fruity, but the nice thing is that it isn’t cloyingly sweet, despite the fact that there is all that powdered sugar on the top. To be fair a lot of the sugar does get knocked off in the slicing and moving around, though I might just not be as delicate as I could be with it, amazingly it never looks mistreated though and still has plenty of sugar on it. The delicious cake is perfect with a cup of tea or coffee, or even a glass of milk. Costco in the US usually has some form of stollen, to get your fill of German fruitcake for Christmas, but maybe not this same brand. However, the stollen that I’ve purchased at Costco US is excellent too. Between this and the panettone that I bought a few weeks ago, I’ll definitely be able to get enough of the fruity little cakes for Christmastime. I can never decide which one I like better – panettone or stollen. Both of them are the perfect sweet treat with a big glass of milk or a cup of tea mid-afternoon. Plus, this year the stollen has the added benefit of getting me all in the mood for our Christmas trip to Germany. And this also keeps me from over-doing it on stollen when we are in Germany, so I have more room for all of the delicious sausages and savoury treats in the markets. While the one kilogram size is not small by any means, if you store it properly in an air tight container, it will last for quite some time and still taste as good as when you first opened the package. Much like the panettone, I am the only one that enjoys stollen in my household so I have lots of experience with storing it and have never had a problem if I put it in a tin or a zip top bag. I am almost always good and only have one slice a day with a cup of tea or a glass of milk, so it does take a while for me to get through but it is always good to the last slice. 1 kg for £4.39. Item #: 0087515.
Paradox Women’s Base Layer Top and Bottoms – I wasn’t actually in the market for these, but they seemed like a good price for a nice base layer. Plus, I figured if they didn’t work well for that, then they’d always be great for PJs or loungewear. It’s not been so chilly here that I’ve really given these a chance to impress me with their ability to keep me warm, unfortunately. But they are very nice and soft and seem very cozy. The fabric for both the top and bottom are made of the same blend of polyester (84%), merino wool (11%), and elastane (5%), which makes up the patented technical blend of natural and synthetic fibres that form the Paradox dri-release fabric. This fancy blend makes your base layer keep you dry by pulling moisture away from your skin and drying quickly by releasing moisture into the air; it dries four times faster than cotton. They’ve also embedded FreshGuard into the fabric to make sure you don’t get smelly either. What I like is that the fabric is lovely and soft and does seem like it will probably keep you rather warm. I did a quick test run on a cool night and found it to be quite warm. Despite the wool, you don’t even feel the slightest hint of itchiness, just softness. As these are meant as a base layer they are thin and close fitting (so remember that when picking sizes or trying them on) and will still allow you to comfortably put your clothes on over them without feeling constricted. The bottom fits under my jeans without being very noticeable actually. I was happy to see that the bottoms are also long enough to cover my ankle too because that is all too often not the case with thermals or other base layers. The top has a 1/4 zip to make it easy to put on, and not rumble your hair, as well as gives you a bit of a vent if you are doing something quite active and get a bit overheated. The other thing I like about the top is that the sleeves are long and have the thumb hole so that you can keep your sleeves from pulling up and have your wrist fully covered with no gap between coat and gloves. The only thing that I wasn’t thrilled with on the top is the hot pink zip and stitching as accents. At our Costco they had purple, black, or heather gray for the tops and the bottoms were available in black or purple. We’re supposed to have a really long, cold, snowy (yippee!) Winter, so I’m looking forward to getting a lot of use out of these on my walks in the next few months. Since we’ve got trips planned to cold places in the next couple of months, like Switzerland at the end of November, I’ll definitely be glad to have these, I’m sure. Unfortunately, I don’t think they had these same base layer sets for men, but I could have just missed them on my last trip. Top: £12.99 +VAT. Item #: 0829322; Bottoms: £11.49 +VAT. Item #: 0829323.