Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fusia Cream Cheese Wontons (Aldi)


There are few things in this world that can top my love for Chinese food, yet, ironically, cream cheese is one of those things.  I mean, is there anything in the world that you can’t improve my slathering it, or stuffing it, with cream cheese?  Yeah, didn’t think so.

So with that in mind, I sit down to review Fusia Cream Cheese Wontons.  Aldi’s Fusia line is essentially their frozen “Chinese food” line, consisting of lots of different flavors of stir fry, some decent microwavable egg rolls for the lazy side of all of us, as well as some pretty delicious single-serve Sweet n’ Sour Chicken bowls.  For the most part, the line has more hits than misses, but after being severely disappointed with their version of Crab Rangoon (which has no discernible hint of cream cheese, at least to me--but this is a different review entirely), I decided to scale it back a bit and try what is essentially Crab Rangoon without the crab…a delicious wonton stuffed with cream cheese.

The end result is definitely a few steps above their horrid rendition of Rangoon.  The outside is flaky, and delivers a satisfying crunch when bit into.  It should go without saying that you shouldn’t be expecting the same deep-fried flavor that most Chinese food restaurants provide…the flavor here is much duller, comparable almost to a cracker.  The inside is pretty much stuffed with cream cheese, though, which definitely helps offset the rather lacking taste of the wonton. 

Overall: 7/10.  This is a good choice as the side dish to a home-made Chinese meal, or for just a quick snack.  The wonton itself has a good texture, as well as a satisfying crunch, but falls a little bit short on taste, coming off as a rather boring cracker.  The filling, however, helps make up for it as these things are pretty much loaded with some thick, delicious cream cheese.  I would definitely recommend these over Fusia’s Crab Rangoons, which have neither the taste of cream cheese, nor crab.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Choceur Chocolate Crisp Bars (Aldi)

This stuff is delicious.

If there’s one general item carried at Aldi that you can pretty much count on it not disappointing you, it’s their chocolate.  Seriously.  I’ve known this for years, and at first thought I was just in on a “best-kept“ secret.  How can a discount grocer offer chocolate that blows away even most brand-name chocolates?  However, since first laying my salivating taste glands on these chocolates about five years ago, I’ve heard many people echo the same sentiments, with most of these people hauling in two or three times the salary I make (which isn’t hard to do).  You know a discount grocery store is doing something right when you have people that otherwise wouldn’t be caught dead in your store, going there just to buy chocolate.

So, flash-forward to the present.  On a recent trip to the store, my wife decided to pick up a pack of Choceur Chocolate Crisp Bars, which are strategically stashed at the checkout counter.  While these were mainly purchased for her, I’ll admit I was a little intrigued--sandwiched between the top and bottom chocolate layers, are two crispy wafers (hence, the “crisp“ in the title), but hidden between those, is a thin layer of hazelnut.  Thinking back, I realized I don’t really know too much about hazelnut, or its flavor, so I decided to dig into one to check them out.

It only took one bar to realize that these things are just about perfect, but that didn’t stop me from eating just about half the box (these packages contain ten generous-sized “bars”, which recall a shape, and even a slight similarities in flavor, that are reminiscent of a Kit-Kat).  While the hazelnut and crisp middle are certainly an integral part of the candy, and pack a nice added bit of flavor, it’s the chocolate that stole the show for me.  It’s perfectly sweet, which can sometimes be a delicate balance; I hate the bitter taste of dark chocolate, yet chocolate that’s too sweet, or fakey, is also a huge turn-off.  But perhaps its best quality is just how silky smooth it is:  Think of the melty, creamy chocolate of a Dove bar, and you’ll be pretty darn close.  If you are a fan of hazelnut, or even just chocolate in general, you owe it to yourself to let your taste buds absorb in some of this stuff!

Overall: 9/10.  A delicious chocolate bar that seems to borrow its M.O. from a Kit-Kat bar…only to throw in a little bit of hazelnut that adds some delectability to its flavor.  The chocolate here is silky-smooth and melts in your mouth, while the hazelnut comes through between the satisfying crunch of the wafers.  Add in the fact that a ten-pack can be had for under $2, and this makes it a must-try for any chocolate fans.