Tag Archives: Condiments

Herbes Salees du Bas du Fleuve: Product Review

Having a good variety of condiments and spices at your disposal is one of the greatest ingredients to tasty and easy cooking. While I usually prefer to rely on individual spices rather then blends, as it gives me more leeway, one of the exceptions I make is Les Herbes Salees du Bas du Fleuve. I use it in a variety of recipes, such as my delicious creamy pan-fried salmon. One of the most defining features of Les Herbes Salees, is that, as their name strongly implies (if you speak French) the blend tastes extremely salty.

Les Herbes Salees du Bas du Fleuve

Les Herbes Salees du Bas du Fleuve

Making Herbes Salées is apparently pretty easy; a quick Google search will reveal plenty of recipes, but frankly these are so delicious and inexpensive that I see no point in buying and chopping and dealing with all those different herbs and salt. I buy it, it tastes great, is easy to use just about everywhere and it saves me a bunch of trouble.

Les Herbes Salees du Bas du Fleuve (Ingredients)

Les Herbes Salees du Bas du Fleuve (Ingredients)

Les Herbes Salées can be used just about everywhere, but the packaging recommends using it in soups, gravies, with fish and meat dishes such as pies, roast beef, ground meats, stews and meatloaf, as well as with pasta, rice, omelets and mashed potatoes. In fact, anywhere you’d add salt, consider using these. It’s much tastier and just as salty. Maybe more so.

Les Herbes Salees du Bas du Fleuve (Nutritional Info)

Les Herbes Salees du Bas du Fleuve (Nutritional Info)

As you can see in the picture above, each 15 gram portion contains 880 mg of sodium, which is not that much when you consider how salty this stuff actually is. Here are the ingredients that4 go in this particular brand of Herbes Salées:

  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Salt
  • Carrots
  • Parsnip
  • Parsley
  • Chervil
  • Savory
  • Leek
  • Chives
  • Spinach

Les Herbes Salees du Bas du Fleuve were born from a need to save herbs over the winter months; there are as many recipes for them as they are people making them. A quick internet search will show that much. If you’re interested in making your own, you can follow this recipe, which is wonderful in its absence of details. Also, you’ll need to read French. If enough people show interest, I’ll post a translated version here.

Gurken Prinz Pickled Beetroot Salad: Product Review

I admit I’m a sucker for beets; I know that they are absolutely cheap to buy in their raw form, and pickling or marinating them is not difficult. That being said, I always buy some pickled beets from the store. They are just so delicious. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the Gurken Prinz Pickled Beetroot Salad at my local Costco; I already buy this company’s pickles gherkin pickles, and they are to die for, so I jumped on the occasion to try something new from the same company.

Gurken Prinz Pickled Beetroot Salad

Gurken Prinz Pickled Beetroot Salad

This jar contains 1.5 liters of pickled beets, or 50.7 ounces, and costs just $4.99. This comes down to 33 cents per 100 ml, which is a great price for anything these days, and for a delicious pickled beet salad, well!

Now, on to the salad itself. Unlike other pickled beets you may have bought before, which are usually diced or cubed, Gurken Prinz offers its pickled beets sliced thin. There are some small cubes in there, but they are definitely the exception. Despite the slices being quite thin, they still manage to retain their consistency, making them yield to the teeth just right.

They are obviously quite acidic, but not overpoweringly so, and not too salty. In fact, they are exceptionally delicious with a light sprinkling of Natural Flower Sea Salt (which you can also get at Costco).

Here are the ingredients for this pickled sweet and spicy beetroot salad:

  • Red beets
  • Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Caraway
  • Horseradish

End of list. I doesn’t really get more natural than this. Of course, since there are no preservation agents, you have to make sure to refrigerate the container after opening it, and to eat it all within three weeks. It shouldn’t be a problem.

Each serving 100-gram serving contains only 10 grams of sugar, and 15% of your daily salt, which is really not that bad, unless you severely overindulge. Don’t look for vitamins, proteins or anything else in there. Pickled beets are the perfect side, but they’re not really nutritious.

In closing, one of the things I really like about the Gurken Prinz Pickled Beetroot Salad is that it comes from Austria. I’m not talking about the recipe, but the whole thing. Pickles, jar, label and all. It comes from the province of Burgenland, which is the smallest and least populated Austria province, on the border with Hungary. I don’t buy many products from Austria, which has a long and glorious history, so it’s fun to get something as simple as pickles from there.

Fleur de Sel de Guérande Natural Flower Sea Salt: Product Review

One of the reasons that I love shopping at Costco, besides my 2% Executive Membership cash back, is that exposes me to all sorts of products I would not necessarily have bought before, and not only that, does so at a price that I can afford to try new things. Take the Fleur de Sel de Guérande, for example. This is truly a gourmet, high-end product that sells for many times the price in grocery stores and specialized stores, but  that I can buy for a very affordable price at Costco.

Fleur de Sel de Guérande Natural Flower Sea Salt

Fleur de Sel de Guérande Natural Flower Sea Salt

This 125 gram (4.4 oz) container of Fleur de Sel de Guérande, straight from France, was priced at $5.69 at Costco. That’s in Canadian dollars, too. You can get similar items on Amazon for about twice the price, if you were so inclined. In grocery stores, the price rises steeply. These people have overhead to carry.

The real question, however, is this one: why on God’s green earth should you get this salt? You can buy iodized seal salt for a quarter of the price, at Costco or elsewhere. Salt is salt, right? No need to be difficult, right? It makes food salty.

That’s where you’d be wrong. If salt is salt, then help yourself to a 20-kilogram bag of rock salt for the driveway for three bucks, and put that in your food. Salt’s salt, right? Ha ha. Not quite.

Fleur de Sel, or Natural Flower Sea Salt, is collected by hand in Bretagne, France, following methods going back a thousand years. It is not cleaned, bleached, or crushed in any way and retains an indescribable texture and flavor.

Just to be clear, this is not the kind of salt that you add to a recipe when they ask for a ‘pinch of salt’. It’s not something you put in the water when you’re cooking pasta, unless you’ve got no sense and money to burn. Regular plain table salt is just fine for those purposes. Fleur de Sel is destined to greater things. Leave it on the table for your guests to sprinkle directly on their food, where they can appreciate fully the texture and taste.

Getting a salt of this quality, at this price, is a really cool thing. It is nothing like the Greek Kalas sea salt you can get at Costco and elsewhere. Fleur de Sel de Guérande is something you should have in your pantry or spice rack to give your guests a real taste of something special.

Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise at Costco: Product Review

As my until-recently expanding waistline will be happy to attest to, I’m a big fan of mayonnaise; It is the standard for a lot of my burgers, and we use it a lot in some summer dishes, such as potato and chick pea medleys, macaroni salads, fake crab and many other things. I know it’s not the best for me, but there you have it. Until recently, however, I thought that our big jars of Costco mayonnaise lasted a really long time. It was interesting to write the date I opened the last jar right on the lid so that I could finally quantify my enjoyment, so to speak. It turns out that our last jar of Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise didn’t last quite that long! Maybe we’ve been cooking more. Especially burgers.

Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise

Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise

The standard by which all mayonnaise is judged is, of course, Hellmann’s. We’re talking about commercial here, not home-made. That’s a topic for another day. Now I’m not claiming to be a mayonnaise expert, although I do eat a lot of it, but as far as I can tell, and by going through a whole bunch of huge jars of mayo, is that the Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise and the Hellmann’s taste exactly the same. Same taste, same texture, same everything. Just like it came out of the same factory. Hmmm. I’m not saying it did, I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had. The only difference is the price.

The current price for a 1.9 liter jar of Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise is $5.49, Canadian currency, no taxes. The going rate for a very similar jar of Hellmann’s is about $7.49 to $7.99, or $2 more. Doesn’t seem like much, but for something that costs less than $10, the difference is huge.

Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise Ingredients

Like most Kirkland Signature products, the Real Mayonnaise lives up to its name and doesn’t have too much terrible or unpronounceable ingredients, which is always a relief. Not to say it’s good for you. Here are the ingredients, in order of importance:

  • Canola Oil
  • Liquid Whole Eggs and Liquid Egg Yolk
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Spices
  • Concentrated Lemon Juice
  • Calcium Disodium Edta
  • Citric Acid

The only thing of concern here is the Calcium Disodium EDTA, which is used to prevent air from spoiling the mayonnaise if you leave the jar open for a long time, or just keep it in the fridge for very long. It is, after all, quite a large jar. This chemical compound is quite toxic when consumed in high amounts, but there’s not much of it in the mayo. Still, something to consider.

The Verdict on Real Mayonnaise

Ok, I’ve considered it. I’m still eating the Real Mayonnaise.

Costco claims that this mayonnaise is 100% made with free range eggs, which I guess is true if they print it on the packaging, but I have a hard time imagining all those millions of chickens running around just to supply the eggs for the Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise.

Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise Nutrition Facts

Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise Nutrition Facts

When it comes to nutrition, the Real Mayonnaise is about what you’d expect; 90 calories per tablespoon, which is a lot, but the main ingredients are oil and eggs, so no surprise there, and there is a relatively low amount of saturated fat, which is good. There is, however, some cholesterol, and you should look elsewhere for your proteins.

Overall, pretty good!

The last jar I bought, and which I just finished, was opened on the 4th of March of this year, 2015, and I finished it last night, June 3rd, so it lasted me exactly 91 days. The jar of mayo cost me $5.49, for a total mayonnaise cost of 6 pennies per day, more or less. Considering that I feel like I ate a lot of mayo, and never held back, I consider this a very low cost condiment and an excellent purchase. 

To be fair, even if I had bought the Hellmann’s mayonnaise, the cost for a similar period of time would only have been 8.7 pennies a day, hardly an expense to break the bank. What you really have to consider is when you buy mayonnaise anywhere else than at Costco, which is where the real expenses start piling up, as Costco is easily half the price of other retailers for this product.

What is certain is that I’m going to keep purchasing the Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise at Costco, so long as it tastes the same as Hellmann’s, and is cheaper. The few dollars I save there, and on countless other things, more than justify the price of my membership at Costco.