Tag Archives: Cheese

Kirkland Signature Feta Cheese from Costco: Product Review

It seems that it wasn’t so long ago that the only time I would eat Feta cheese was my father brought our family to our favorite Greek restaurant, Le Coin Grec, on Park Avenue in Montreal. Feta has entered the mainstream of cheeses, such as it is, and now, not only can you find it at Costco, you can even get Kirkland Signature Feta!

But what does Kirkland Signature offer, in terms of Feta quality? How does it compare with genuine Greek feta? Let’s find out!

Kirkland Signature Feta cheese

Kirkland Signature Feta cheese

First off, let’s consider value; Costco’s Kirkland Signature Feta cheese comes in a 1.2 kilogram format, which is quite generous, and costs $12.99, so just about $1.10 per hundred grams. This is quite affordable, and should allow you to spread out Feta to your heart’s desire on pizzas, pasta, salads and more.

What about ingredients? Is this cheese stuffed full of evil and unpronounceable ingredients? I’ll let you see for yourselves:

Kirkland Signature Feta ingredients

Kirkland Signature Feta ingredients

As you can see, there’s nothing bizarre going on here. Of course, it is cheese, and delicious cheese at that, so it is quite rich and tasty, and full of salt, saturated fat and cholesterol. Can’t have everything.

When it comes to texture, the Kirkland Signature Feta cheese is pleasantly situated between the creaminess of Hungarian Feta, and the dryer, more crumbly Greek Feta, which may have something to do with the fact that it’s made from a mixture of cow and goat’s milk. Best of both worlds! I love that it is smooth when I eat a bunch just like that, I enjoy the relative crumbliness in salads and other dishes.

As to taste, Costco’s Feta cheese has everything you could want. It is, of course, quite salty and fatty, no surprises there, but also just tangy enough, without being too aggressive and without tasting like fat. Since Costco brought in this Feta, I’ve had no urge to look for anything else in that department. Of course, I’m still looking for an excuse to buy the 3 kilogram Feta tub, but that’s something else.

Please consult this Wikipedia entry to know more about Feta cheese, it’s appellation and its history, and check out this post to learn more about my other favorite cheese, Parmesan.

Mont Brule Electric Fondue Set at Costco: Product Review

When my parents got married in the early 1970s, receiving fondue sets as wedding gifts was the thing, so you can see that I inherited quite a few of them when my parents downsized and decided to get rid of junk they hadn’t used in 30-plus years. As you can imagine, I never used them, either. They are gross things made out of copper that is incredibly stained by non-use, and require the use of burning stuff to keep hot.

Fortunately, Costco was there for me when I needed it, providing me with a nice fondue set that has none of the hassle of the previous ones, and all the convenience of modern life, such as working with electricity. I bought the Mont Brulé 9-piece Electric Fondue Set at Costco for $49.99, and I’ve already used it more than the sets I’ve owned for decades, because it’s actually fun and requires very little prep and/or maintenance.

Mont Brulé Electric Fondue Set

Mont Brulé Electric Fondue Set

I bought this electric fondue set for $49.99 at Costco. It wasn’t on special, but I’d wanted it for a long time, so there you have it.

So far, I’ve only used it with cheese – one of my favorites – but I’ve no doubt that it works equally well with chocolate and broth.

What I really like about it is that it heats up in no time; it’s extremely quick. The drawback of this is that you really have to be careful when you put cheese in there, because the cheese will cook on the bottom rather than melt if you’re in a hurry, which is a *huge* pain to clean up. The electric connection is magnetic, and easily disconnected, which can help prevent accidents. The heating element is removable, so you can easily stick the pot in the dishwasher. It says it’s dishwasher-safe, but I’ve not tried it yet. Elbow grease works great, and I was afraid I would simply cake on the burnt cheese.

For $49.99, you get the pot, the heating element and the electrical cord, as well as 6 little fondue forks and the ring you put on the top, which acts as a splash guard and somewhere to rest your forks as your stuff is cooking in the broth. The Mont Brulé 9-piece Electric Fondue Set is a great purchase, and a great way to receive your guests. I find that cooking at the table, such as with Raclette, is really convivial and fun. Have lots of wine on hand. That also helps! Don’t drink and drive.

 

Grande Grated Parmesan Cheese at Costco: Product Review

Parmesan cheese is an essential, if not major ingredient in many of my favorite dishes. Spaghetti, or any kind of pasta, really, is but a pale shadow of what it could be without Parmesan. Of course, Fettuccine Alfredo is nothing without Parmesan. Not very Alfredo at all. Of course, this demand for Parmesan has led me to look for the very best deals. The tiny 100 gram containers they sell at most grocery stores are completely inadequate when your recipes call for cups of the stuff. A few years ago, I discovered the Grande Grated Parmesan Cheese at Costco.

Grande Grated Parmesan Cheese at Costco

Grande Grated Parmesan Cheese at Costco

The first thing I looked at was the price. It has varied in the last few years, but has been consistently around $13.99 per kilogram – that’s the size of the bag. That translates to $1.39 per 100 grams, no taxes, which is considerably cheaper than your grocery store will charge, which is usually anywhere from $3 to $5 per 100 grams. Nice margins.

Alright, so the price is right. But what about the cheese itself? The good news is that it smells like it should, especially when warmed on food, or in the microwave. No one in the vicinity can deny you’re eating Parmesan.

When used in a recipe, or simply sprinkled generously on pasta, the taste is very acceptable and a worthy substitute for imported Italian Parmesan, for the price, but if you’re planning anything fancier, I’d get the real stuff. One of the reasons for this can be found on the ingredients list. See below.

Grande Grated Parmesan Cheese at Costco (ingredients)

Grande Grated Parmesan Cheese at Costco (ingredients)

The ingredients of Grande’s Grated Parmesan Cheese are as follows:

  • Pasteurized Milk – good start
  • Salt – It’s Parmesan, after all
  • Powdered Cellulose – What?
  • Modified Milk Ingredients
  • Lipase
  • Microbial Enzyme
  • Bacterial Culture
  • Natamycin

As you can see, most of the ingredients sound good, except for one, which is powdered cellulose. It is included in there to act as an anti-caking agent, to prevent the grated cheese from clumping. It’s not bad for you, but it’s the third ingredient in this grated cheese. There’s a lot of it in there. Just to be clear, cellulose is mainly used to make paper and cardboard, and has a million other industrial uses, including to make smokeless gunpowder. You can read more about cellulose here. I’m pretty certain that the original Parmigiano-Reggiano doesn’t include this foreign ingredient. If you eat a big spoonful of Grande’s Grated Parmesan, you’ll find that it tastes quite powdery, a texture that disappears when mixed with other ingredients in a recipe.

As you can see by the nutrition facts sheet, this Parmesan is also quite salty, which is normal – you definitely won’t need to add salt to any recipe in which you include it!

In conclusion, the Grande Grated Parmesan Cheese is great when cooking, or sprinkled on pasta. It has a rich Parmesan flavor, If you’re going to use it in any other way, I would highly recommend purchasing the real Parmigiano, which is also available at Costco, for something around $25 a kilogram. This is especially true if you want to serve it on salad, or in any application that requires more substance than a finely-ground cheese. This Parmesan is made entirely in Canada, from 100% Canadian milk, which is great, but I can’t help but think they’re abusing the appellation ‘Parmesan’. It should more probably be called ‘Parmesan-style grated cheese’. But eh, I’m no expert, and I like both the taste and price!