Specially Selected Slow Cooked Broccoli & Cheddar Soup (Aldi)

Opened container of Specially Selected Slow Cooked Broccoli & Cheddar Soup, from Aldi
Does not live up to expectations.

I avoid supermarket soups for the most part, mainly because of the high sodium content. I know, I know, lots of things have high sodium content these days, but with many of the canned kinds, the salt seems to carry most of the flavor. Therein lies the problem for me.

I skimmed past these a few times over the years, until my wife fell in love with the national brand of “tubbed” soup, made by a company with “bread” in their name, and where you can expect to pay upwards of $20 just for a solo lunch. Considering she held that product in such high esteem, I decided to give this a shot, since it seems to be a private label version of that.

Each soup retails for $2.49, which is a decent price considering all the soup you get. To me, soup is just kind of something you eat with a meal; to others that is the meal. Either way, I think there’s enough here to satisfy people on both sides of the fence. In fact, I was pretty much sick of it by the time I reached the end...and not just because it wasn't very good: this is more soup than I care to eat at one time.

Heating it up is very easy: peel back the plastic film to vent, heat for two minutes, let sit for one, and voila! A nice steaming plastic container of soup awaits!

It looks a little...off. Maybe it’s due to the use of artificial colors, but one thing I love about broccoli cheddar soup is the rich orange hue you see when you first open it. It hints that there’s a delicious cheese overload in there; one that’s going to overload your senses with rich dairy goodness. This version, however, omits that, in favor of a dull, neutral color that really took my expectations, and threw them down a couple flights of stairs. 

It also smells a little weird, at least compared to other broccoli cheddar soups I’ve had. That’s one of those things that has a very distinct aroma to me (all thanks to G.D. Ritzy’s restaurant, a local Columbus establishment up through the ‘90s, which is where I had my first ever cup of broccoli cheddar soup, even though it was probably just heated-up Campbell’s), and this one doesn’t even come close to convincing me that it’s going to be anything other than disappointing.

And the flavor lives up to that lack of promise by delivering a very mediocre flavor that not only misses the mark, but doesn’t seem like it was even aiming for it in the first place. It starts off with what I suppose is supposed to be a “cheddar” flavor, but then it’s blended with another taste that reminds me somewhat of feet. It’s very disappointing, to say the least.

There are rather large chunks of broccoli throughout, which would have been a huge plus in a much better soup. Here, though, they’re just kind of there, delivering a reliable hint of broccoli flavor that neither entices nor overwhelms. It does its job, it’s just a shame the cheddar isn’t up to that task. 

To be clear, the “feet” flavor doesn’t overwhelm, so the soup is edible - I had little trouble downing the entire container in a single sitting (we had nothing else in the pantry, and I was hungry, so I was forced to eat it as a main dish). However, given my rather large expectations, it couldn’t help but fall well short of them. It might be more palatable as a side dish, but for any future broccoli cheddar soup cravings, I’ll be splurging on the name brands.

Overall: 4.5/10. It has a very neutral, dull color that disappoints upon first sight, a rather weird scent that doesn’t smell as strongly of cheese as I was hoping, and a weird aftertaste that reminded me of “feet”...it’s just off. But the chunks of broccoli are large - they would be a huge plus in a much better soup - and the $2.49 price gets you a good portion for the money. As a side dish, its glaring weaknesses might be softened a bit, but on its own, I’d much rather splurge for a name brand for future broccoli cheddar soup cravings.

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