Thursday, February 10, 2011

Say cheese at least 54 times

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the true "par...Image via Wikipedia
Costco sells Parmigiano-Reggiano and more than 50 other cheeses.

Or maybe 55 or 56 times. This afternoon, I tried to count all the cheeses offered in a long refrigerated case at Costco in Hackensack, but now remember, as I write this, there is more cheese in another case I didn't look at.

So let's just say the warehouse store with the high-quality food at low prices -- on everything from soup to nuts -- carries more than 50 cheeses, in slices, wedges, wheels and blocks, as well as grated and shredded.

They are imported from Italy, Ireland, England, France and other countries or made in the United States for foreign dairies.

I love cheese, but have tried to avoid the full-fat ones, so I've gravitated toward skim-milk Parmigiano-Reggiano ($11.99 a pound) and Grana Padano ($8.99 a pound), both from Italy, and reduced-fat Jarlsberg Lite slices ($8.99 for two pounds).

Occasionally, I've brought home sheep's milk Manchego from Spain ($8.29 a pound), but I don't think I'm ready for a French cheese I saw today -- La Delice Saint Faron Triple Cream cow's-milk cheese ($9.49).

I plan to try a new cheese every two weeks, now that I have cut down on bread and pizza, and lost more than 20 pounds. So I bought Bufala Mozzarella from Italy, four balls of buffalo-milk cheese in milky water, for $11.99 (17.6 ounces).

Others I noticed today were Smoked Gouda ($5.49 a pound); Cave-Aged Taleggio from Italy ($8.29); and Cabot White Cheddar, aged for 14 months ($7.99 a pound). 

Fresh mozzarella was $3.99 a pound and grated Pecorino Romano from Italy was $10.99 for two pounds.

Parmigiano reggiano 5Image via Wikipedia

Price fluctuations

Costco's smoked wild sockeye salmon, sold under the Kirkland Signature label, is now $15.39 a pound, and Earthbound Farm organic spring mix has edged up to $4.99 a pound, but no other food store can match these prices.

Items that have held the line include fresh, wild-caught haddock fillets from Iceland ($8.49 a pound); Legal Sea Foods Alaskan King Crab and Sweet Corn Chowder ($9.79 for two 20-ounce containers) and organic, triple-washed spinach ($3.99 a pound). 

Annoying practices

I stopped at H Mart, the Korean supermarket in Fort Lee, did my shopping, waited in the checkout line and started to leave the store when I noticed all the large bags of rice against the window.

A 20-pound bag of Kokuho Yellow Label, a California-grown rice we use, was on sale for $10.99, almost half-price, and the sale ended that day. Even though we needed white rice, I didn't want to wait on line again, and left, thinking if I returned in a week, this rice or another one would be on deep discount.

No such luck when I returned Wednesday, so, after keeping an appointment, I drove to H Mart in Little Ferry. The best I could do was the same 20-pound bag for $16.99.

A friend looking for snow melt said Home Depot in Hackensack only had 50-pound bags -- too much for him to handle. So he went to Pathmark in the same shopping center to do some food shopping and checked out, only to find smaller bags of snow melt on the other side of the register.

When he asked, he was told the store wasn't big enough to display them inside. Give me a break.

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