OK, admit it, hands up all you food snobs who rolled your eyes when you saw the words "luxury" and "Aldi" in the same sentence and thought yeah, yeah! Well, just have a look at the contents of the fabulous Christmas hamper that they sent us and tell me you're not impressed. If I hadn't known they were from Aldi, there is no way I would have thought they came from one of the budget supermarkets because the only thing cheap about them is the price tag. If you can cut costs without compromising on taste, you'd be a fool not to take advantage of them, especially as they look just as impressive as the higher-priced big brands
First up was a box of their Luxury Mince Pies. These are very tasty, deep-filled mince pies that don't quite live up to the taste of homemade freshly baked mince pies, but certainly give any of the other shop-bought ones that we've tried in the past a run for their money. They box looks high-quality and doesn't mention Aldi anywhere visible so you could bring this out for guests without anybody looking down their noses at it. Especially once they 've tasted them ! In the past, Aldi mince pies have beaten those bought from Harrods in taste tests and now that I've tried them, I can't say I'm surprised.
Staying on the theme of traditional Christmas sweet treats, the next product on the hot seat was these Rich Fruit Stollen Bites. I'd heard of stollen but never actually tried it before so I can't compare this product to other brands. It got a thumbs up from the kids and I thought it made a nice change to the usual mince pies and Christmas cake, while tasting decidedly festive. (price £1.99)
I had to smile when I saw these cheeky Chocolate Reindeer because they are the spitting image of the Lindt Easter bunnies, despite costing a fraction of the price. We've already reviewed Aldi's Choceur Chocolate in the past (see here) and it got a unanimous seal of approval, tasting just as delicious and creamy as the higher-priced competitiors, so I know the kids will love eating these. I've put them aside for the kids to discover in their stockings on Christmas morning - if I can resist eating them before then ! (price 99p each)
Now, this is where things got a bit more risky. Being married to a Frenchman, I can't serve any old cheap plonk at the dinner table but these two bottles looked the business so I thought I'd try to sneak them past Madhouse Daddy Mike's fussy palate ! Well, he was actually quite impressed, which is high praise indeed from a Frenchman !
First up was the Philippe Michel Crémant du Jura Sparkling Chardonnay. While not being actual champagne, this is genuine French mousseux that you can buy in France. It needs to be thoroughly chilled and can be served as it is or with a small drop of crème de cassis blackcurrant liqueur to give it a lovely ruby flavour and a sweeter taste. Best served in champagne flutes, this is ideal bubbly on a budget to put some fizz in your Christmas or New Year celebrations (although it's available instore all year round). (price £6.99 for 75cl)
The other bottle, which again looks very impressive and expensive, is Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva. This red wine, which is aged for 3 years in oak barrels to develop the flavour and aromas, went down very nicely with our roast dinner. Madhouse Daddy Mike said it wasn't bad, even if it was Spanish, which is pretty good coming from a Frenchman ! (price £5.99 for 75cl)
These are fab products at bargain basement prices that look good enough to grace your Christmas table or even be put together for a hamper to give as a present for those awkward to buy for people.
To keep up to date with everything that's going on at Aldi, you might like to check out their brand new Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/AldiUK
star rating : 5/5
RRP : see descriptions
for more information : http://www.aldi.co.uk/
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