I was compensated by ALDI for this post. All opinions are honest and my own.
If you don’t know it by now, I should tell you that I’m a HUGE fan of ALDI stores. I started shopping at ALDI last fall and I have grown to love it more and more with each passing month. You might call me a bit of an ALDI super fan. You might be able to imagine my excitement when I received an email from ALDI at the end of March asking if I would like to come to their Test Kitchen! First of all, as a blogger I had never had an invitation like that extended to me before, so I was super grateful. Secondly… ALDI!!!
I was one of a group of food and health bloggers who met at the ALDI headquarters in Batavia, IL to see the ALDI Test Kitchen. We were in for a treat! When we got there we were taken to one of the Test Kitchen rooms where we found a taste testing paradise. There were three massive counters filled with products for us to try. At the first counter, for each product we were asked to try the national brand and the ALDI brand in a blind taste test. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ALDI brand beat the national brand almost every time! I can honestly say that the ALDI products were just as good if not better than the national brands in every single instance. We tasted guacamole, crackers, applesauce, tortilla chips, Greek yogurt, orange juice, and cheese, among other products, and I was never disappointed with the ALDI brand. This solidified my trust in the commitment ALDI has to quality.
We also tasted several of the ALDI exclusive gluten-free line liveGfree and SimplyNature products and many of the Dietitian’s picks. Our family has already tasted most of the glutenfree products, but I just saw last weekend that they have rolled out a bunch of new products in their liveGfree line and I’m so excited!!!
All throughout our time in the Test Kitchen we were fed amazing food. The chefs had prepared the most delicious snacks and meals for us using ALDI products. We had Lemon Fruit Bruschetta, Marinated Steak with Snap Pea Apple Slaw, Dark Chocolate Cups with Avocado Mousse (this was amazing), Chicken and Sweet Potato Patties, and so many more. Many of the recipes can be found on their website. I could not get over how fresh and delicious everything was!
One of the highlights of the visit was the guests that ALDI had share their expertise with all of us. ALDI brought in Chef Brigitte Nguyen and registered dietician Tara Gidus to talk to us about eating for energy. Tara shared really great information about how to make the most of what we eat and keep our energy levels up throughout the day, while Brigitte showed us specific recipes to help us do that. It was so informational… and tasty!
If you recognize Brigitte you may have seen her as a guest on Paula Deen’s Best Dishes, or on the Cooking Channel where she now hosts her own show! Both she and Tara are gracious and so friendly. They are truly lovely women. Did you know that experts now say that women need 30 grams of protein at breakfast? When people eat more protein at breakfast they consume fewer calories throughout the rest of the day. I’m testing that theory right now.
One of the most intimidating parts of the visit for me was a Mason Jar Salad competition that ALDI had us participate in! It was really fun, but I am not very creative in the kitchen, and this felt like a test of my skills. We were let loose in another ALDI Test Kitchen room, stocked with anything you could want for a fresh salad. We were to create a salad that could be stored in a mason jar and then give it a clever name. There were prizes up for grabs, people! I created a Greek salad and even made my own dressing from scratch… and it was good! My “It’s All Greek To Me” salad did not win however.
I had such a wonderful time in Batavia at the ALDI Headquarters. This is a company that truly cares about its customers and its employees. Spending time there and speaking to them made me proud to be an ALDI customer and thankful that I have ALDI stores that are so conveniently located to me. I shop there at least once a week and each time I do I walk out of the store feeling like a very smart woman.