I've spent two years trying Aldi's fall foods and drinks, and plan to buy most of them again.
The Friendly Farms bourbon-caramel whipped topping is one of my new fall favorites.
I wanted to like The Bake Shop apple-cider doughnuts but I thought they were kind of dry.
Aldi stocks up on fun new items every month, and when it comes to fall, the chain brings its A game with plenty of pumpkin, apple, maple, and squash products.
The store's fall finds usually start hitting shelves in early September, so for the past two years I've tried every item I could get my hands on.
Here's how they stack up and which I'd totally buy again.
The Season's Choice frozen pumpkin risotto is made with spelt and veggie broth.
I love risotto, but it takes a while to make at home and can be difficult to find at a restaurant without a meat-based broth, which I don't eat as a vegetarian.
But the Season's Choice pumpkin risotto swaps the usual rice for spelt (an ancient grain and subspecies of wheat) and uses vegetable broth.
It's also a freezer item, so I could stock up and enjoy a quick risotto whenever I want.
It tasted a bit bland, but a little salt and cheese fixed it.
The package says to cook the pumpkin risotto for seven minutes, but mine took about twice as long. Still, this was faster than making it from scratch.
It smelled good, and when I took a bite, I noticed the spelt had a soft, slightly chewy texture.
The spelt and pumpkin cubes were cooked well, but the small carrot pieces were a little too crunchy.
The risotto was actually a little bland on its own, so I added a bit of salt and grated cheese, which made it perfect.
The Season's Choice butternut-squash risotto was similar to the pumpkin one but made with rice.
This alternate Season's Choice butternut-squash risotto is also made with veggie broth, cheese, and carrots.
I was excited to try another vegetarian risotto.
I actually preferred the spelt to the rice.
This risotto also cooked for 14 minutes, double the time listed on the package.
The taste was basically the same, and the carrots were still too hard.
The rice was slightly chewier than the spelt, and ultimately, I preferred the texture of the latter.
The Specially Selected pumpkin-cheesecake-drizzled caramel corn looked like a perfect Halloween snack.
I'm not the biggest fan of popcorn, but the caramel corn looked pretty good, with a rich caramel coating and sweet drizzle flavored like pumpkin cheesecake.
It didn't really taste like pumpkin but was still delicious.
The popcorn in the bag looked just like the picture on the front — an impressive feat for a packaged snack.
The texture was light and chewy inside, and the exterior had a nice crunch from the caramel coating.
I didn't quite taste the pumpkin from the drizzle, but the caramel corn was still good. I enjoyed several servings while watching some of my favorite fall films, which is noteworthy since I never eat popcorn.
I was intrigued by the Friendly Farms pumpkin-pie Greek yogurt.
I eat a good amount of yogurt and love it with a variety of toppings, so I figured a Greek yogurt flavored like pumpkin pie would be good with some seasonal fruit and granola.
I thought that the yogurt hardly tasted like pumpkin.
This was super tangy, with a very slight pumpkin flavor. It wasn't quite sweet and tasted more like plain Greek yogurt than anything else.
On its own, I didn't like it much. It needed something to tone down the tanginess, like some honey or maple syrup and maybe a sprinkle of granola.
I probably won't buy it again since the pumpkin flavor was so faint. It'd be easier to get my usual yogurt and dress it up with seasonal toppings.
The bag of Clancy's apple chips felt nearly empty when I purchased it.
I prefer my apples fresh, so I wasn't too excited about trying them in chip form.
They come in a small plastic bag and are dusted with cinnamon.
When I opened the packaging, I was pretty disappointed with how few were in there. I know packaged snacks usually need to leave space for nitrogen gas to keep them fresh, but this bag was only about a third — if not a fourth — of the way full.
I still ended up really liking the apple chips.
Aside from the initial disappointment, I was impressed with the chips.
They were simple with a lightly sweet apple flavor that was balanced by the cinnamon. The texture was crunchy at first, then a little chewy and sticky.
I loved these on their own but also want to try them with dessert hummus or caramel dip.
Clancy's pumpkin-spice, yogurt-covered pretzels would make an easy fall snack.
The pretzels are covered in a light-orange, pumpkin-flavored yogurt.
I've seen other retailers carry pumpkin-spice pretzels, but they've often tasted overly sweet or too artificial.
I was looking forward to this "naturally flavored" take from Aldi.
The pretzels found the ideal balance of sweet and salty.
The pretzels hit a good balance of sweet and salty, with a mild pumpkin-spice flavor.
I also appreciated the ratio of yogurt coating to pretzel — I could still slightly see the base through the orange lining.
I expected to love Benton's creme cookies flavored like apple-cider doughnuts.
I was very tempted by Benton's creme cookies, which reminded me of Oreos.
But when I opened the package, I noticed they smelled overly sweet and a bit artificial.
These were my least favorite of the Aldi fall foods I tried.
The cookies were overpoweringly sweet, with a strong artificial flavor and strange aftertaste.
I was pretty disappointed since I love everything this treat represents: apple cider, doughnuts, and cookies.
This is one fall item I definitely don't see myself buying again.
I thought the packaging of Belmont's pumpkin Bundt cake seemed a little deceptive.
I found both pumpkin and maple Bundt cakes in the freezer section. Each box contains two small, individually wrapped microwavable treats.
The photo on the package shows the cakes covered in a delicious-looking glaze, but a note in the corner says the topping isn't included. I found the advertising a little misleading.
It was still a delicious and easy dessert.
The pumpkin Bundt cake was soft and spongy, with little pecan chunks throughout.
I didn't mind the flavor of the nuts, but they were chewy rather than crunchy. I'd prefer this dessert without them.
Benton's maple Bundt cake seemed pretty similar.
Like the other packaging, there's also a photo of the maple Bundt cake covered in white frosting that's not included in the box.
The maple Bundt cakes were also much lighter in color than the pumpkin ones.
The maple-flavored cake was my favorite fall food from Aldi.
I can't wait to buy more of this fall dessert.
The maple Bundt cake was super moist and soft, more so than the pumpkin variety.
I enjoyed one plain, which was great, and ate the other alongside Sundae Shoppe's pumpkin-spice ice cream, which was an incredible combo.
The Sundae Shoppe pumpkin-spice ice cream looked really simple.
I found another fall gem in Aldi's freezer section: The Sundae Shoppe pumpkin-spice ice cream.
It didn't look flashy, rather just like a simple pint of pumpkin-flavored ice cream. I figured it would be good but nothing to write home about.
The pumpkin-spice ice cream had an amazing texture.
The pumpkin flavor of this ice cream was impressive, with a good balance of spices and sweetness.
But I was most in awe of the texture. The first scoop was super soft and creamy. But even as I ate it throughout the week, the ice cream stayed pretty soft and scoopable. Most pints get rock-solid after they've been opened and stored.
I typically prefer my ice cream with chunky add-ins, like cookie dough or brownie bites, but this simple dessert was amazing on its own.
I couldn't resist the Reggano fall-shaped pasta.
Aldi's fall-shaped pasta comes with noodles that look like pumpkins, leaves, and other seasonal shapes.
I thought they were so cute, and I liked that the noodles were dyed with natural food-based coloring.
The seasonal noodles tasted and felt like regular pasta.
These noodles mostly cooked like regular pasta. The green ones, especially the leaves, held up the best, followed by the pumpkin-shaped pieces.
It tasted like standard pasta, and I plan on trying it again with Aldi's fall sauces once those hit the shelves.
The sparkling pumpkin-spice apple cider from Nature's Nectar would be a great alternative to alcoholic beverages.
Nonalcoholic sparkling apple cider would make a great swap for beer or hard ciders at seasonal celebrations.
Each pack comes with four glass bottles.
I liked this drink but wished it was a little more bubbly.
It was really more of a spiced apple juice than a cider since it's filtered and pasteurized with a long shelf life. But it was still good.
It tasted similar to cinnamon apple sauce.
My only complaint is the "sparkling" beverage was hardly carbonated, but that won't stop me from buying it again this season.
I couldn't wait to try The Bake Shop apple-cider doughnuts.
I love apple-cider doughnuts so I couldn't wait to try The Bake Shop ones available at Aldi.
The container of six was the perfect size for my household of two, and they looked pretty enticing in the package.
I liked the flavor but thought the texture was a little dry.
The doughnuts had a sweet but not overpowering apple-cider flavor.
In my opinion, the texture inside was soft but a little too dry. The next time I have one, I'll pair it with hot apple cider or dunk it in coffee.
Clancy's roasted sweet-corn-flavored popcorn piqued my interest.
I'm not a big popcorn fan, but even I couldn't resist picking up a bag of Clancy's roasted sweet-corn version.
I enjoy sweet corn through late summer and fall, so I couldn't wait to try this snack.
I thought the sweet-corn popcorn would be perfect for fall movie nights.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Clancy's sweet-corn popcorn.
I loved that it tasted like buttery sweet corn. Overall, I enjoyed it and thought it was a fun twist on classic popcorn.
However, my partner didn't appreciate it. "It tastes like corn, and that's really not for me," he said.
I was hesitant to try the Friendly Farms bourbon-caramel whipped topping.
At first, I wasn't sure what to expect from the Friendly Farms bourbon-caramel whipped topping.
The combination of bourbon and caramel sounded delicious, but I was concerned it would have a really artificial or overly sweet flavor to it. I decided to try it on its own and with coffee.
I ended up loving this flavored whipped topping.
This was one of my favorite Aldi items I tried. The flavor was subtle but delicious, which was a nice surprise considering I expected it to have an artificial taste.
The texture was like whipped cream, and I had no issues spraying it out of the nozzle. The Friendly Farms whipped topping will be a fall staple for me moving forward.
I was impressed with the presentation of the Moser Roth autumn chocolate truffles.
When I noticed the Moser Roth limited edition autumn chocolates, I had to stop and grab a box. The chocolates on the packaging looked decadent, and when I got home, the ones in the box looked just as tasty.
I thought they'd also make a great gift, especially since 12 truffles were only $3.70.
I ended up liking only one of the four flavors.
The chocolates came in four flavors: Dark chocolate with pumpkin-spice filling, milk chocolate with almond-maple filling, milk chocolate with caramel-apple filling, and dark chocolate with berry filling.
I had high hopes for the chocolates but, in my opinion, three of the four flavors had a strong artificial taste.
I liked only the fall-berry flavor, which had a dark-chocolate coating and a filling that tasted like raspberries. I'd buy a pack of just the fall-berry flavor, but I wouldn't get this whole box of truffles again.
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