Costco (SF) kicks it up another notch.....
I'm talking about your artisanal/gourmet/haute business here.
The SF Costco has a mini-display of new "gourmet" products near the front on the left which seems to grow ever time I'm there. Yesterday it had:
-- Pommery Moutarde de Meaux in 500g crocks
-- Perfect Pear Vinaigrette
-- Kozlowsi Farm Preserves
-- A combo pack of Hazelnut Oil and Grapeseed Oil (La Tourangelle, I think)
-- An $85 bottle of Balsamic Vinegar (didn't catch the name)
-- Something from Spain in a bottle (my attention was starting to wander)
-- Probably other stuff.
There was also (not in the same section) something I was tempted to pick up to run by my designated sweets-testers, a pakage of "gourmet" caramel-dipped Macadamia shortbread cookies from Hawaii. Any mavens want to testify?
The DIY catering/party planning section seems to be growing by leaps and bounds, too. I didn't bother to mentally inventory it, but there are going to be some fey Superbowl parties out there.
I was at Costco (SF) on Friday--what cheese would you say is incredible? I thought the selection was quite mundane. My friend was trying to find a special cheese to take home for her husband's birthday, and there was nothing very interesting. Have to go to close-by Rainbow for that. Also, I think they have duck confit all the time--I've seen it in the past few months way before holiday time.
There are two cheese sections in the Santa Rosa store - the mundane and then the artisanal cheeses - wide variety of imported cheese - not on the scale of Oakwood or Taverso's but still very nice cheese. Perhaps your Costco has not yet been remodeled - only the remodeled stores have the new cheese section.
For $85 the vinegar would, I'd hope, be the consorzio-approved stuff, which doesn't have producer information obviously displayed on it. $85 is not bad price for the extra-vecchio (25-year old) version. Do you know if it was consorzio vinegar? Was it the in the standardized 100-ml globe bottles?
I swung back by to have another look, and the vinegar is just as pictured by Wolfe. The in-store price was 85.99, I believe (the sign wasn't visible today). Other stuff I noted included Chilean Carica Fruit (9.99 for a 15-oz. jar); some exotic honey from New Zealand "Airborne New Zealand Rata & Vipers Blugloss Honey", 2-pack 500 grams 9.89 (had to take a picture of some signs!), and "Mostarda di fichi Figs with (the same?) Modena Balsamic Vinegar", 250 g. 9.89.