Montreal Costco Watch
It occurred to me that this board could use a topic in which we post about great finds at local Costco stores.
Costco is one of those places that I love to hate and hate to love. What appalls me about it is the extent to which they dish up huge packages of overly-processed stuff. Pre-made sandwiches? All those frozen prepared meals? Forget it!
But there are some great things to be found there. For example, I like the meats -- they strike a nice balance between supermarket fodder and a "real" butcher. I also like the fact that the cuts are large and thick, and generally quite reasonably priced.
But there are other things too. Here are some recent things I found at Cosco that are worth celebrating:
DRIED PORCINI MUSHROOMS. Never as good as fresh, or even frozen, but dried ones still come in handy. One generally finds them in tiny little one-ounce packages for six or seven dollars. Last month at Costco I found a huge jar of them (not sure of the quantity, but the jar was as big as a football) for twelve bucks!
WHITE ANCHOVIES. These things are very hard to find in Montreal. They had some last summer at Milano on St. Laurent, but they were very close to their expiry date. A small jar (about the size of a hand grenade) was something like $12. However, I found some at Costco last week! A larger jar, at least a year from expiring, and it was only about $7. Woo hoo!
COASTAL CHEDDAR CHEESE. Unfortunately I haven't seen this for several months. It's an English cheddar that comes in a white waxy paper wrapping. A block about the size of three decks of cards sold for something like $11, but it was by far the best cheddar I've had in years. Simultaneously creamy and crumbly, with a good bite that was sharp and a bit salty but perfectly balanced with the dairy and "cheese" flavors. I really miss that cheese -- have any of you seen it?
I agree, I found capers and roasted red peppers at Costco, in large sizes, for very reasonable prices. Costco can be a great place to stock up on goodies, as long as you know you are going to use them. For other products, you have to wonder. I am always in awe at the monster-sized mayo jars - who goes through that much mayo unless they run a casse-croute or have a huge family?...
My latest finds at Costco have been their Kirkland Signature Madagascar Bourbon vanilla and unrefined Fleur de sel de Guérande sea salt (6$). I cannot understand how the vanilla is so inexpensive (9$ for 16 oz) when elsewhere, tiny 4 oz bottles go for the same price. I do know that Costco markup is supposedly only 14%, but that semms like a really large difference to me.
I love the guy that comes around with the sorbets (especially chocolate!) in the summertime. And their prices for sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts can't be beat.