Last week, I headed to Illinois with a group of bloggers to visit the Aldi headquarters. I wasn’t sure what to expect when we got our itineraries but was excited because it sounded very well planned. Aldi invited me as part of a 4 post campaign to share my experience shopping at the discount grocery store on my blog. Never have I been so pleasantly surprised by a brand.
After arriving to our beautiful hotel in Geneva IL, we hopped on a bus to the Aldi HQ about 10 minutes away. The first room we entered featured a beautiful display of the Aldi natural and organic label, Simply Nature, that many of us had purchased earlier in the month.
Our first activity was a switch and save tasting. The first samples featured a two squares of havarti cheese and two different Greek yogurts. One option was the private label sold at Aldi and the other a name brand. The cheese from Aldi was hands down better than the more expensive competitor. I was shocked at the price difference once I saw the results.
Next, was the greek yogurt taste test. I usually do not eat flavored greek yogurt but comparing the two, I preferred again the Aldi brand as did the rest of the group to the Chobani Strawberry which costs $1.08 in comparison to Aldi’s 85 cents. I think everyone was a little surprised. The remaining three taste tests, to me, tasted pretty identical to each other. However, the Aldi brand was always cheaper. This included table crackers, guacamole and tortilla chips. Moral of the story, shop at Aldi for the next party you host to save money without sacrificing flavor.
Some of the bloggers preferred Tostitos but as someone who hates Tostitos chips, I was one of the few that chose the generic brand unknowingly. Next, we sampled some of the best-selling and best tasting Simply Nature products including these irresistible vegetable chips.
The Simply Nature Kids Squeezable Fruit were voted a product of the year at just $1.99 a box, made without preservatives, artificial color or flavoring!
We also sampled a few recipes created by the Aldi kitchen using their own products. This Spinach Romesco Dip was my favorite!
After all the taste test, we took a Price is Right quick challenge by trying to guess the total amount the groceries in the cart cost. I guessed $74 but didn’t notice the wild caught salmon and had no idea how much the wine was since my Aldi doesn’t carry it. It turned out to be around $97. I was still shocked at the low-cost. Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point shared the final check out receipt you can see here. I basically just pretended everything was $2.
Next up was a smoothie challenge. I am a competitive person and was determined to win. We were given unlimited access to all the fruits and veggies seen her with Roni. I thought the idea was to create something healthy and tasty.
I grabbed mint, pineapple, avocado, baby kale, banana and papaya because I wanted to eat it off my plate.
I combined the fruit and greens, adding in cucumber, almond milk and plain greek yogurt. The result was a beautiful pastel green and delicious refreshing taste. Recipe is up on my instagram.
I thought I would for sure be a winner… but alas, I did not, losing to a blender full of veggies, fruit and water from Bex (which was delicious) and another that sounded more like dessert than a smoothie to me. Had I known nutrition was going to be ignored, I would have gone for the chocolate.
After our smoothie challenge, we sat down for dinner provided by the Aldi kitchen and listened to a presentation from Janice Stahl, a food stylist which I found to be really helpful. Dinner was presented using her effortless techniques but served family style. Everything tasted fresh and gourmet.
I started with the Sunsational Salad. Everything on our dinner menu was made with Aldi products in the Aldi kitchen.
The roasted sweet potatoes with cilantro pistachio pesto was also a group favorite. Janice served this is a shot glass for a party presentation. Stay tuned to my instagram to see this new tip in action.
This Lighter Baked Gnocchi might have been my favorite. Recipe is here. We were served family style like I mentioned above, but Janice showed us an alternative way to serve a dish at a party to pass around.
The dark chocolate with avocado mouse was amazingly light and fluffy dessert. I can’t wait to recreate this simple recipe you can find here. My favorite item at Aldi has to be the European chocolate so I knew this would be good even before taking a bite.
We enjoyed our dinner with a few glasses of wine from the Aldi Kitchen. I loved the Shiraz which is only $4.99 a bottle. Sadly, wine is not sold at the Malden location near me. Our group of bloggers headed back to the hotel to get ready for a fun little tour of the near by Aldi which I admit, is much nicer than mine near Boston.
Other bloggers seen above in addition to Caitlin, Roni and Bex:
- Meghann from Meals and Miles
- Shannyn from Frugal Beautiful
- Jen from Peanut Butter Runner
- Jen from Fit Bottom Girls
- Wendy from Daily Dose from Del Signore
- Lorraine from Run Wifey Run
Post #2 is coming up featuring my favorite products and the experience at the huge, large and bright store!
This post is sponsored by ALDI USA. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This place is amazing and I have never worked with a brand before that turned me into such a quick loyal follower. Check out one near you today to save lots of $$ on your grocery bills.