Friday, April 26, 2013

In love with Lidl

Lidl's the cheap store, the one that I was told was "filled with chavs and gypos" (at least around here) that you only go to if you're desperate and every other store is shut and then only maybe; and I love it.
Okay it's not quite there for a full-on main shopping trip yet the grocer, butchers, and the Co-op still handle  that, but in Stourport at least the Lidl is just down the road from them and not only can it surprise with what it has, but with the price and quality to boot.

At times the old adage of "You get what you pay for" still applies; but look carefully and there's a whole lot of stuff that's perfectly fine and cheaper than elsewhere and now they have a bakery. Oh hell yeah.

Loving their paninis at 29p each or 4 for £1; nice and thick, easily sliced and seem to keep better than some I've had. Their apple turnovers actually contain apple as apposed to the thin layer spread in some. Oh and I make sure to pick up some of the maple and pecan plaits - sweetness heaven. Both at 69p or 79p each.

Not a big fan of iced doughnuts, but there's a selection as well as unsliced fresh bread that's about the same price (if not less than) of a water-stuffed sliced white.

In terms of packed goods I've yet to find anything that matches their all-butter shortbread circles. Big, thick, fine-grained, melt-in-the-mouth and £1.89 for about a dozen; serious treat. Cheese goes up and down in price, but 'brand-name' stuff is often the same price or cheaper.

Okay some of the products are slightly more expensive, some just don't quite have the 'right' taste, but they're not normally that much higher and at these prices it's worth experimenting on taste. As an example they do a passable own brand of Paprika Pringle-style crisps; bit of a heavier texture, but with a slightly less of a sharp taste and (not counting offers and sales) about half the price. A box of Chocolate Special-K style cheaper and perhaps even slightly better for you with the inclusion of wholewheat. Again different textures and slightly less sweet. Both are perfectly palatable.

What's also fun is seeing some of the foreign products I can't just get in the main supermarkets; a pack of 6 individually wrapped mini-brioches for 79p. Okay the flavours a little weak for me, but they're soft, do have a pleasant taste and make about 3 mouthfulls (or 2 if you stuff it); ideal to put in with a picnic or into a lunchbox.

The major downside is that once you find something you like it's down to the whims of the distribution as to whether it ever gets seen again. Can't find the McEnnedys Jelly Beans that rival Jelly Belly's at a third the price (99p per 250g I buy ten bags at a time as soon as I see them). Various crisps come and go; and some things like the Lebkuchen are seasonal. But a lot of the staple goods remain fixed.

In this time of austerity they're offering good food at a good price. Try this: 8 Lincolnshire style sausages, big, fat, aromatic, and with no excess fat coming out when cooked or skins you need to chainsaw off - £1.49. Add in a 1kg bag of potato balls for 99p and a big tin of beans for about 40p and that's a quick meal for 4 at less than £1 per head. Try getting that at a takeaway.

If, for whatever reason, you've yet to visit it might be worth popping in to your local Lidl; you might come out with more than you expect.