The Aldi Advent Experiment

That’s cheese, not a pat of butter. But I’d probably eat that, too.

I was late to the Aldi game.  I used to tease my grandmother for shopping there.  

“Wait, you pay to use a cart?”

“And there are no baggers?  I have to do that?”

“It’s so cheap.  It has to be crap.”

She, being of The Greatest Generation (and from New England, to boot), of course knew way more about frugality and practicality than I ever will.  

Then, I learned that Aldi was owned by (beloved) Trader Joe’s.  I started giving it a shot.  Yes, sometimes the lines are long, but those amazingly quick employees scan things like WHIZ WHIZ BEEP BEEP.  It actually makes me feel inadequate, like I can’t keep up with those nimble fingers.  But I also get Kerrygold Butter for way less.  I buy organic milk for $2.69.  Pasture raised, organic eggs at a price that must make Kroger shake in fear.  And now my small town even offers Aldi from Instacart.  

Months ago I started hearing about the Advent calendars they put out yearly.  The wine, the cheese, the chocolate.  My interest was piqued.  They had me at wine. (The wine selection at Aldi is fun- and cheap, which is my preferred price point.) I’ve learned that when Aldi advertises something special, it’s best to get there early on Wednesday, the day the new inventory and “Aldi Finds” are put out.  I also started chatting up the employees.  “Get here early”, the said.  “Before-we-open-early.  We’re only getting three.”  Three??  Damn.  So, early on November 7, I sat in my car waiting for the doors to open.  My wine-loving aunt also came with me.  Long story short, the two women who got there before us, the ones that we had decided certainly weren’t wine people got the first two.  My aunt deferred to me, and so it is with a decidedly significant amount of guilt that I happened to end up with an Aldi Advent wine calendar.  And cheese calendar.

I’ve wondered if the good folks at Aldi have paired the wines and cheeses for people like me (lushy cheese lovers?).  Tonight we find out.  Tonight begins the Aldi Advent Wine Experiment, also known as BarbEatsAldi.  I can’t promise that I will be faithfully updating this daily.  But don’t worry, the wine will get consumed, the cheese will be eaten, and I will report back.  I’ll also share some of the fun things I’ve found at Aldi, with short reviews and recommendations.  Also, bad food photos.

(Side note: did anyone try the Thanksgiving ravioli?  That would be a turkey, cranberry, and stuffing-filled ravioli, which sounds gawdawful but was actually pretty damn good.)

So, all of that housekeeping and introductory stuff aside, I’ll say that tonight I feel like I’ve earned this wine.  It was one of those days that my kids drove me nuts.  They are in this argue-about-everything-with-everyone phase.  They were at each other all damn day.  In the car.  In the restaurant at lunch. In the front yard while my husband cleaned the gutters.  In the car again.  All of my billions (right? Billions?) of nerves were jumping outof my skin.  And yeah, I know that looking forward to them snoring so Ican finally have that glass of wine probably makes me sound like a terrible mother.  But come on.  We’ve all been there.  

I’ll also add that I know nothing about blogging, websites, uploading, and blah blah.  I’ll be doing my best.  It’s all we can do, no?

Tonight’s wine: Prosecco, extra dry

Cheese: White Cheddar

Verdict: I like the cheese better than the wine.  Strike that, reverse it.  After sip two, the wine has won me over.  My go-to for non-special-occasion bubble (you know, like Wednesdays) is Korbel Brut.  I think this might be a bit crisper.  I think that’s a wine word.  I’ll ask my brother, if I remember.  He’s a total wine snob and a certified expert (honestly, he’s a sommelier).  The cheese is also tasty, and they pair nicely together. 

Notes:

  1. I wish both the wine and cheese were labeled more specifically, so I knew exactly what prosecco and what white cheddar I just drank and ate.  If you are familiar with the Aldi cheese selection, you’ll know that they might have four different white cheddar varieties.
  2. I am trying to figure out how to change the font to Garamond, because writing in Garamond instantly makes your writing 87% better.
  3. I broke all my fancy Riedel wine glasses because I can’t have fancy things.