When you think of luxury food, Aldi probably isn’t the first supermarket that comes to mind.
But with the store’s range of premium products that have had customers singing their praises, perhaps it’s time we have a rethink about where to shop for the next date night dinner.
Aldi’s award-winning Specially Selected range promises to bring “the best of gastro dining to your home” for very affordable prices. The store’s website boasts that last year Good Housekeeping readers voted Specially Selected as their favourite premium supermarket range.
So, tempted, I decided to check out the luxury goods and left Aldi on Western Avenue in Cardiff armed with steak, scallops and champagne…
With a 36-day matured Aberdeen Angus Sirloin steak costing just £4.49, frozen Peruvian scallops priced at £3.99 and a bottle of Nicolas de Montbart Brut champagne selling for £11.79, it’s safe to say that my purchases were a bargain.
I decided to keep the seasoning of the scallops fairly minimal to let the natural flavours sing. After defrosting them overnight, I seasoned them with a bit of cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper, then pan-fried them with garlic and butter. I served them with a simple garnish of mixed salad leaves.
Though I may have overcooked them slightly, the scallops were still nice and juicy, with a soft texture and slightly sweet taste. They shrunk quite a bit from their original size even though I only cooked them for about 5 minutes in total, but because there were quite a few in the packet – 16, probably enough for three to four people – this didn’t matter too much.
Next came the steak, which I paired with steak cut chips and roasted vegetables. A friendly member of staff recommended this particular steak to me, and I was grateful it was a decent size and that its rim of fat wasn’t too thick.
Again, I kept the added flavours to a minimum, opting for just fine sea salt and cracked black pepper. I attempted to go for medium-rare, but being quite a thin cut it ended up more well done than I’d hoped. Despite this, it was still very tender, with a rather concentrated beefy flavour.
Finally it was time for the champagne, which was the only item on my list that was not from the Specially Selected range but still undoubtedly a premium item. Though this was fairly bitter – as expected for this variety of bubbly – it went well with the sweetness of the scallops in particular and matched the robust flavour of the beef.
All in all, my three luxury items from Aldi lived up to their reputation, and I was pleasantly surprised by how the high quality exceeded my expectations from the low prices.