And for those of you not familiar with the European retail scene, Aldi is Lidl's fellow-German counterpart, with a very similar business model. Indeed Aldi has been trading in this sector since 1946, while Lidl - which set up in direct competition - dates from the early 70s. There's a branch of Lidl in Stafford, but my nearest Aldi is about five miles away, meaning that trips there are less frequent, though equally rewarding. I fill my basket to overflowing every time - not skimping on items from the store's 'Specially Selected' premium range - yet find it nigh on impossible to spend more than £40.
Aldi hasn't gone down the 'knock off' perfume route like Lidl, but it has been lauded for its range of skincare products, Lacura - indeed, in the wake of this article, I think I need to pay the store another visit and stock up on their latest selection of miracle moisturisers. Well, miracle at the price, it would seem. I may even review them sometime, in a bid to shore up my flagging eBuzzing Beauty rating. ;)
|Oops - I ate the vanilla one already!|
When I got home I defrosted one macaroon of each kind, and in no time was sampling them both with a cup of tea. They were a little smaller than the Ladurée ones, so I wouldn't have attempted to cut them into four, as we managed to do in Harrods so we could all taste each variety. So how did the Aldi macaroons compare? I should firstly mention that in their current amusing and quirky TV ad campaign, Aldi really hammer home the message that their own label foods are every bit as good as brands. When it comes to macaroons, however, I am sorry to report that they haven't quite cracked it - though in fairness Ladurée set the bar very high!
The chocolate macaroon from Aldi was the better of the two: it had a nice chocolatey flavour, and was chewy and slightly creamy, while the vanilla one didn't taste remotely of vanilla, was less creamy and the overall 'mouthfeel' (can you tell I used to work in the food industry? ;) ) was more dry and powdery - to the point of sawdusty even. I will enjoy the rest of the chocolate ones, but the vanilla were a big disappointment.
|Lila eyeing our exquisite teatime spread at Ladurée|
And now comes the monetary calculation. The Ladurée macarons were £2.10 apiece from memory, while the Aldi ones (albeit smaller) work out at about 30p each, rising to 45-50p tops maybe if the size differential were factored in - and none of this is meant to be particularly scientific! Soooo, are the Ladurée macarons about 4 times as nice? That's a really difficult question - I would struggle to imagine how the Aldi macaroons would actually taste if they were even twice as nice. And off the bat I'd say that 'four times as nice' sounds a big ask of the Ladurée ones to justify their premium.
Hmm, how about putting the question another way...would I buy the Aldi macaroons again? No. Would I spend a considerable (veering to indecent) amount of money to have tea and a few macarons at Ladurée again? A resounding maybe! So I make it that Ladurée wins the throwdown by a creamy, chewy, smidge...
I would unreservedly recommend a shopping trip to Aldi generally, mind, especially if you are in the market for any of their current specials, which include 'technical softshell jackets', 'fishing ruckstools', '2 litre hydration bladders' and 'Sport armbands for smartphones'. Or two mangos for a quid, a creditable imitation of Special K cereal with red berries, and some very cheap nuts!
|Upgradable Easter bunny planter ~ Source: lidl.co.uk|