As someone who loves a good deal and is not partial to any one grocery store, I gave Aldi a try a few years ago, per my husband’s suggestion.  To say I was underwhelmed would be an understatement. I just didn’t get it.

In addition to there being zero aesthetic appeal, I also didn’t understand the layout. Add that to the fact that almost everything they carry is brands exclusive to Aldi. So I also wasn’t really familiar with any of their products.

I didn’t love how everything was displayed in the bulk shipment boxes that they came in. And every aisle seemed like a random hodge podge of items I’d never tried before.

After that visit, I turned my nose up to Aldi and decided there was no reason I’d ever need to shop there again.

But then my mom kept talking about these great fresh produce finds she’d purchased at Aldi. And my mother-in-law also raved about the one near her, where she often got her fruit as well.

Then I saw something circulating on Facebook that said Aldi and Trader Joe’s were owned by the same parent-company. Since I LOVE TJ’s and their exclusive brands, I began to think maybe Aldi wasn’t so bad after all.

I started looking at the weekly circular that came in the mail. After a few, they piqued my interest enough to give it another try.

Armed with a new attitude and slightly different approach, Aldi has quickly become one of my new favorite stores. In addition to the insanely low prices, the quality of the items we’ve tried thus far, has actually been quite high. I also appreciate their return policy – if you don’t like something, return it for a full refund. Even if you don’t have the original receipt.

While I don’t tend to do all of my grocery shopping at Aldi, now that I’ve become a regular, here are 5 key reasons why Aldi is my new jam:

Aldi Faves

Wine bottles1. Let’s start with the most important things first. The wine. Just like Trader Joe’s, (though much, much smaller), Aldi’s wine selection is priced just right. They have their own version of $2 Buck Chuck, called Winking Owl. While I haven’t tried this brand yet, I have bought several very good bottles of wine from Aldi. All priced between $5.99-8.99. My favorite, hands down, is Stormchaser’s Wild Ride Red, which is a delicious red blend and award-winning wine from Washington State. At $6.99 a bottle here in Madison, it is a steal for sure.

2. Next up on the list, because this is Wisconsin after all, is the cheese. Similar to their wine selection, Aldi has some amazing award-winning cheeses from all over the world. Their Specialty Selected cheeses are delicious and definitely worth the low price tag. They generally seem to range in price from $2.99-$4.99 in our area. We’ve sampled many of them to date, including an amazing Rustic Red Cheddar made in England; and a Double Smoked Cheddar that I literally bought four blocks of over the course of two months. It’s that good. Plus, to compliment their fantastic cheeses, I’ve bought some delicious sausage and other smoked meats, along with crackers from Aldi. Which put together some killer charcuterie boards for under $20 total, like the one shown below.

Charcuterie board

3. What goes best with wine and cheese? Their chocolate. Aldi has AH-mazing chocolate at ridiculously low prices. My fav by far, is the Choceur Dark Chocolate with Almonds bar, which is made in Austria with milk from the Alps. The chocolate melts in your moth and has a rich dark cocoa flavor. You can get a 5 oz. bar for around $2. Which is a steal. They also have Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels just like their sister store, and for about the same price, if not slightly cheaper. The Moser Roth brand of chocolate they carry at Aldi is also very good. And most of the bars you’ll find there are Fair-trade or Rainforest Alliance certified as well.

4. Probably not surprising, because you may have already heard this, but the produce definitely makes shopping at Aldi worthwhile. While choices are often limited, the organic produce is usually priced much less than competitors. They often have a decent selection of organic apples, carrots and avocados, along with very inexpensive conventional berries, bananas, grapes, broccoli, mushrooms, potatoes and other produce. On some trips, I go just for fruits and veggies alone. Because I can get what we need for the week at a fraction of the price of shopping elsewhere. 

5. Of all the great reasons to shop at Aldi, the Aldi Finds aisle is probably my favorite. This is the aisle of complete randomness you will usually find in the middle of the store. Aldi Finds are a quickly rotating selection of items ranging office deskfrom health and fitness gear, to children’s toys, home furnishings, and clothing. Yep. This aisle really runs the gamut and I have found some amazing deals here over the past year or so. Including a writing desk, book shelf and office chair that rivals the quality of Target or Ikea for $150 total; a three-tiered metal shelf for the bathroom that was only $10; and some adorable buffalo-check plaid throw pillows with reindeer on them for Christmas for $6.99 a piece. The items in this aisle are usually in limited quantities and change weekly. If you see something you want, get it before it’s gone.

These are just a few of the reasons I love shopping at Aldi. There are several more I could add, but I’ll spare you my complete grocery list for now. I will say, if you have kiddos, the Simply Nature applesauce pouches are just as good as those you’ll find elsewhere. The Clancy’s Baked Apple Chips are THE BOMB and make for a lower calorie, somewhat healthy snack. Plus, the Wonder Kombucha in Cherry and Black Currant or Asian Pear and Ginger are probably my most favorite kombuchas ever. And I’ve only ever been able to find them there.

So, if you’ve never tried Aldi before, or like me, went once or twice and left feeling like you never wanted to return, I’d encourage you to give them another try.

And if you are already a fellow Aldi-fan, I’d love to hear YOUR favorites! Please share in the comments below.

Happy shopping!

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