Venture down the middle aisle, you never know what you might find …
Someone has to say it – Aldi saves lives. With its rival Lidl, offering a near-maniacal variety of objects all at bargain-bin prices, the German giants have rescued many of us this year. Somehow it feels wrong to admit that the idea of a visit to one of these wunder-markets fill me with cheer. To me, an Aldi visit is an adventure – shopping list unnecessary, it has what it has. You just have to get involved, stay open-minded, and take some risks.
I adore that it keeps you guessing. ‘Might they, today, have tins of chickpeas?’ I ponder to myself. It’s impossible to say, but at the same time, I do know it is incomprehensibly likely to find a 5-foot-tall LED ring light in the midst of the market’s offerings. How much that light costs, I truly could not offer a guess – but I do know where to go if I want one. It could explode when I plug it in later, but hey, that’s the price you pay for a thrill nowadays.
Those who work at Aldi or Lidl are like, really real, you know? Salt-of-the-earth folks. They have not been instructed to act any kind of way towards you, and I like that. It’s refreshing not to hear ‘have a good day’, because who knows if I will anyway? No, the training of these employees must have been outsourced to those responsible for training blackjack dealers in Las Vegas casinos. Where else do you find handiwork that snappy? Before I have managed to unload my trolley items onto the conveyor belt and take out my purse, the checkout woman has rung my entire bill up, has it packaged into my car and has driven it home. She’s also paid for my parking and is back to sigh with impatience as I pay. That kind of service is second-to-none. In fact, I would imagine that if the HSE hired Aldi workers to distribute the vaccine, the island’s population would be jabbed in a month’s time.
Given the business model of the market, it’s understandable that most things you find in one of these European emporiums are unusual, or don’t work, or aren’t quite worth the purchase. But I swear that among the dog-teepees, size-18 hiking boots and orange-flavoured instant coffee, you do find some gems. Here is a list of some diamond items I loved.
Zoofari Dog Security Outfit – Lidl
The range of pet wares in Lidl are truly something to behold, but I was worryingly drawn to this little dog harness. It comes in many sizes, and any decent lead attaches to it. Plus, the high-vis does give off something of a glow – so it’s kind of safe? Maybe stick to daytime wear. Anyway, Barney totally shut the park DOWN in this outfit. Metaphorically, of course, as it didn’t imbue him with any actual security training. But he did look super cute.
Plant Menu Red Pepper and Butternut Squash Sausages – Aldi
This one’s for the Veganuarians! My 2020 resolution to cut out meat as much as I could has held up relatively well thanks to the limitless vegan offerings of Aldi. I love their veggie burgers and recently, gave these strange-looking sausages a try. They went perfectly with a salad and some beetroot hummus.
Nadur Beeswax Hand Cream – Aldi
With all sources of hand cream exhausted, I was searching for one that did the job without breaking the bank. This little pot of whipped, mousse-like cream that I discovered in one of Aldi’s wonder-cages is ideal. I love that the packaging is minimal, too, and it smells of honey without being sickly sweet. My hands are so thankful – all that sanitiser was really taking a toll on my cuticles…
Rachmaninoff Vodka – Aldi
This one is NOT for the Dry-Januarians. I picked up this vodka brand pretty blindly to make cocktails with over Christmas, and it really held its own. Throw it with some of Aldi’s famously cheap Prosecco, and fresh grapefruit and rosemary, and have yourself a fresh French 75 with a seasonal twist.
Fin Carré and J.D. Gross Chocolate Selection – Lidl
For this piece, I tried to decide on a favourite flavour of the chocolate selection on offer in Lidl to recommend to you, but I couldn’t decide. It was like Sophie’s Choice, an impossible call to make. I will say that the Fin Carré White Chocolate with Hazelnuts is uniquely satisfying. I like the Raspberry 70% from JD as well. Also, the 56% Dark Chocolate with Almond and Orange. Okay, I like all of them, and so will you.
Passions Deli Lentil Curls – Aldi
For when you want crisps, but you like a walk on the wild side. Also, for when you want six packets all to yourself but don’t want to buy six individual packets in case that looks suspicious. I bought this megapack on impulse and never looked back.
Lacura Shampoo and Conditioner – Lidl
Lidl’s variety of cosmetics and toiletries is capable of raising several questions (such as, how is this not a case for Passing Off?) but you can’t deny, it seriously does the job. This shampoo and conditioner performed strongly throughout the lockdowns when I couldn’t easily access posher versions. I noticed nearly no difference between these products and their fancier counterparts. And nor did I notice much difference… in the packaging… Just don’t tell L’Oreal…
The Foodie Market Milled Brown Flax Seed With Nuts – Aldi
Overnight oats was THE breakfast of Lockdown One and Two – pure facts, ask Roz Purcell – but porridge is the choice for this chilly one we’re having. Sometimes porridge feels kinda sludgy to me without a bit of crunch to top it off with, but the flax seed I find in other shops is ridiculously pricey. Surprisingly, Aldi came to the rescue here with this little offer.
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