Why stress yourself with elaborate (and expensive) holiday menus when you can get a perfectly put together Easter meal at the discounter? For comparatively little money and also made quickly? This is what Aldi and Lidl advertise every year. And like every year, the experts from the consumer program “Markt” (SWR) are testing the offer. The sales argument "cheap and simple" can hardly be refuted, the only question is: Do the menus taste as noble as the sales packaging suggests?
Professional chef Jörg Ilzhöfer gets to work. He is assisted by two amateur chefs. Ilzhöfer puts it in a nutshell: "We hope that what's inside lives up to what the packaging promises."
There are three courses. As a starter a shrimp ring with dip. For the main course, lamb with duchess potatoes and beans. The finale is a ready-made dessert. The fun costs 46.50 euros at Lidl and 43.68 euros at Aldi. Aldi is three euros cheaper - but the small difference is not decisive for the purchase. Other products were added to complete the menus (lemons, garlic, tomatoes, beans, eggs and oil). Lidl added 13.64 euros, Aldi 13.07. The bill for both of them is less than 60 euros – but without drinks. Broken down for four people, that makes a little more than 30 euros. You can almost spend that for four doner kebabs.
The starter - the shrimp ring (Lidl €5.99; Aldi €4.49) - was a disappointment from both vendors when served out of the box. No wonder. If you just defrost shrimp and then garnish them cold with the ready-made dip, you shouldn't expect a taste explosion. Defrosted and eaten from the plastic bowl, the enjoyment remains: "Slightly tasteless, slightly bland." Ilzhöfer is nevertheless in a mild mood: "That's incredibly cheap."
Ilzhöfer reckoned with the lack of taste and bought to spice things up. The professional stirs up an aioli, the prawns are then tossed in butter for a minute with onions, rosemary, cherry tomatoes and garlic. And voila, now it's true. Pleasant groans when tasting. "That way the shrimp flavor comes out better." The quality of both discounters is the same, so Aldi is ahead because of the lower price.
Next the main course. Lamb, duchess potatoes and ready-made "holiday sauce" from the tetra pack, with fresh beans. Aldi serves filets, Lidl lamb salmon. The fillets immediately met with criticism, they are obviously not cleaned well enough - too much fat and tendons are sold here as expensive fillets. When it comes to the main course, the chefs are not so forgiving.
They follow the preparation recommendations with determination, although it is already clear to them that Aldi wants it to be too dry for their taste with "lamb well done". Eight minutes of "sealing" is simply too much for the small fillets. After that, the poor fillets also have to go into the oven. The finished sauces with minimal red wine do not knock the chefs off their stools at first. Later they find it appealing. tie.
Lidl is in the lead when it comes to lamb, and Aldi when it comes to potatoes – Lidl is a little too good with the time in the oven. For dessert, there is a ready-to-eat dessert with a layer of strawberries - it couldn't be easier. Open the jar and serve. Main ingredient in both: sugar. Here Aldi sat ahead of Lidl thanks to the pistachios in the cream.
The conclusion of the amateur chefs for the whole menu: "You can't complain about the taste at all. No, it's good." They recommend going to both discount stores and getting the better products from each. The professional is also surprised: "I thought it wasn't going to be that good," is Ilzhöfer's verdict. "That's very decent. They're almost rightly called deluxe or gourmet menus."
He would cook and prepare the ingredients differently: "But be that as it may, it's very neat and good." Actually a recommendation. If you give the finished sauce some love and fresh herbs and adjust the cooking times to your own taste, you can hardly go wrong here.