For me, one of the most stressful things about the Holiday season is entertaining. I personally dread it. You see, I am almost painfully shy to begin with and really don't enjoy large parties or social situations. I much prefer smaller, more intimate gatherings with just a few other people. Otherwise, I choke! In larger social gatherings, I always feel incredibly awkward and out of place. I constantly worry that I will say something stupid or that no one will like me. (Social anxiety, perhaps?) So unless the parties are family related, I actually avoid them like the plague. But I can't live in my own little bubble, so I simply have to suck it up, put on my big girl panties and make the most of the situation.
My husband on the other hand is the exact opposite. He is a veritable social butterfly and is comfortable in any situation he's in. I wish his outgoing nature would rub off on me a bit! So this year, we've decided to have a Holiday party with friends and some of his co-workers. (Eeeek!) I have been stressing like crazy over this.
There are so many things to think about when planning a party...Who to invite...Decor...What to serve...And of course, how to afford it all! We're a one-income family on a very tight budget, and I have been searching high and low for the best deals on Holiday entertaining supplies. That's why I was so excited when I re-discovered ALDI! You see, I had been to an ALDI market one time in the past, several years ago. It was not a good experience. The store was in another city and was not very well-maintained. I was reluctant to give this chain another shot, to be honest. But when I heard about their great deals on entertaining essentials like Award-Winning Wines, gourmet cheeses, imported chocolates and desserts, I decided to give them another shot. Boy, am I glad I did!
We just had an ALDI open up in our town a year or so ago. It's actually only about 5 minutes away. Dan and I loaded up the kids and made the short trip to see what goodies we could find for our Christmas party. When we arrived at the store, I was pleasantly surprised. Unlike the other ALDI I had visited years ago, our local ALDI was clean, well-organized, and very easy to navigate. We were able to find a ton of great wines, cheeses, and even desserts like Belgian truffles, chocolate covered eclairs, and even gourmet chocolate bars, all for rock-bottom prices. These prices were even lower than Walmart!
Take a look at all of the goodies we found at ALDI! Perfect for a well-stocked Holiday party!
The quality is also wonderful, much to my surprise. We bought several bottles of award-winning wines, like Landshut Riesling, Villa Malizia Pinot Grigio, and Gonfolone Chianti. We have sampled a couple of them, and they are absolutely delicious! I particularly liked the full-bodied Chianti as well as the sweeter Chaza Moscato we purchased. We enjoyed the wines so much, we actually intend to visit ALDI again before our party to pick up several more bottles. The best part? They were all LESS THAN $10 a bottle!
But if you want to know what I was most excited about, it has to be the great selection of gourmet cheeses available at ALDI. I am like a mouse when it comes to cheese. I know...Most women love chocolate. I just happen to be a cheese gal. When we were at ALDI and I saw all of the different imported cheeses, I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. It was like the clouds had opened up, I could hear angels sing, and all I could see before me were creamy, glorious cheeses! Yes, I really love cheese that much! I purchased several varieties of edenVale cheeses, including Honey Goat Cheese, Creamy Havarti (my personal favorite) and Brie. I also picked up a few sharper English cheeses, like the Double Gloucester. I was smart and purchased doubles so I could try them myself before the party. I have to say, these cheeses are absolutely outstanding. Although they cost a fraction of the imported cheeses I am used to buying, the quality could rival any of the much more expensive cheeses out there! My favorites were the Creamy Havarti and the Honey Goat Cheese. These were absolutely delicious on ALDI's Savoritz Entertainment Crackers we picked up! Yes, we will definitely need to head back to ALDI to restock before the party!
My husband was most excited about the great selection of gourmet chocolates and desserts at ALDI. You see, he is the one with the sweet tooth in our home. Chocolate can be a rather expensive "habit", especially when you go for truffles and other higher-end chocolates. We purchased a TON of chocolate at ALDI, from Moser Roth Fine Truffles to gourmet chocolate bars, and even some chocolate covered mini-eclairs! Again, we were very surprised at the quality of these items. I am so used to fine chocolates costing an arm and a leg, and at ALDI, they were incredibly budget-friendly. Much like the wine and the cheeses, price did not indicate quality. The chocolates at ALDI are rich, creamy, and have absolutely unbelievable flavor. The truffles literally melted in our mouths, and the Toffee Crunch Chocolate Bars I got just for me were fantastic, too. We've definitely found our new chocolate haven at ALDI!
I do have to note a few key differences between ALDI and other grocery stores. First, the carts were chained together and you had to deposit a quarter to get your cart. This was refunded when the cart was returned. I just found this to be different. I don't usually carry a great deal of change on my person, so I thought it was worth pointing out. Another big difference is that ALDI does not accept credit cards of any kind, nor do they accept checks. They only accept cash, food stamps, and debit cards. We had a couple of gift certificates, but our balance went over the amount. We tried using our check/debit card, and while there were more than sufficient funds on the card, it was declined. The manager was very friendly and said that this always happens with debit cards issued by our particular bank. My husband had to rush to the nearest ATM and withdraw cash instead. So if you're a member of a certain large, military run federal credit union, your card will not work at ALDI, and you should get cash instead. Something else I noticed is that ALDI does not supply shopping bags, so you'll have to purchase them there at the store, bring your own or place individual items in the trunk of your vehicle. These little differences were a small price to pay for the amazing savings and wonderful products we found at ALDI.
Overall, I was thrilled with my ALDI experience. Not only did we find the perfect Holiday party supplies, we saved a ton of money and were able to get a huge variety of different items for a fraction of the cost you'd expect from most retailers. Now I just have to plan my party menu! Some of the things I want to include are a cheese and wine tasting table, a chocolate buffet full of the fine chocolates and desserts we found, and even some yummy baked brie! Add to that one of ALDI's Spiral Sliced Hams, a Leg of Lamb, and even a pot roast, and we'll have a party to remember! ALDI really is the perfect one-stop shop for all of your Holiday entertaining needs. We will definitely become regular customers, now and throughout the year! With great products at super-low prices, ALDI is definitely my town's best kept secret!
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To learn more about the awesomeness that is ALDI and find a location near you, please visit ALDI online.
***Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of ALDI and received a gift certificate to facilitate my review.***
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I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud Mom of 3 amazing kids. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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