Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Product review: Aldi - Vanilla Cream Brioche (weekly special December 12, 2012)

Aldi had a weekly special earlier this month featuring Brioche. They offered two varieties, Chocolate Chip and Vanilla Cream. I opted for the more traditional Vanilla Cream since from my years in Europe I am not used to Brioche having any additional flavor added such as Chocolate.
The Brioche from Aldi were a little bit more moist than I was used to and you could clearly taste the Vanilla Cream. I would have preferred the traditional and drier Brioche, which is similar to Challa, but due to the higher egg content of the dough heavier than Challa.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - holiday breakfast brioche, cookies and Assam tea
For those who have never tasted brioche, the bread is extremely soft. The dough has a high content of butter and egg, making it extremely rich. That is why I would have preferred the more traditional brioche without the addition of extra richness such as vanilla cream or chocolate chips. In Europe, the most common form is the plain brioche bread or pastry that goes well with simple coffee or black tea, as I have pictured it above. The unsweetened beverage is a nice contrast to the inherent richness of the brioche and makes for a filling breakfast. Since the above was a holiday breakfast, I added some European style cookies to enjoy while finishing up the tea.

As beverage, I used Assam tea from Wedgwood. Assam tea comes, as the name suggests, from India and has a full bodied, malty flavor. Commonly, English breakfast tea sold in the USA will actually contain Assam tea blended with other tea varieties. The strong flavor of Assam tea is a nice contrast to common breakfast items such as toast with jam or, as in my example, brioche with vanilla cream.

As you can see, I am using a French Press to prepare and drink my tea. I have owned a tea press from Bodum for years now since I, if time permits, prefer loose leafed tea to enjoy the true flavor of the variety of tea blends. The French Press pictured above can be used for coffee or tea and generates a nice individual serving. I enjoy the loose tea since it comes in a larger variety of flavors and blends than tea in bags. In addition, you can measure the quantity of tea to your individual liking, providing a more enjoyable experience for drinking tea for me. Unfortunately, Wedgwood tea is very hard to find in the USA, but if you want to get to know the different tea varieties better, visit your local specialty tea and coffee store and sample some of the blends on sale there. You will find that buying loose tea can be cheaper in the end because you only buy the tea you like, adjust the amount of tea you use to brew yourself a cup and often end up with a higher quality and better flavored cup of tea than if you simply buy the bagged tea available in grocery stores.

Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of teabags with a variety of flavors and blends in my house. But ever so often I want to enjoy tea the old fashioned way and then I resort to loose tea, enjoying a special blend of tea accompanied by a sweet treat. You should give loose tea a try sometime. The variety of teas available will astonish you and you may find that loose tea prepared fresh can be a low calorie, special treat that you can enjoy without feeling guilty.

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