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I’m a culinary judge who shops at Costco. Here are the 9 best things I bought this year.

Fresh Press Farms sunflower oil; Manuka honeyThis year, I picked up the Fresh Press Farms sunflower oil and Mānuka Health honey.

Meredith Ochs

  • As a culinary judge, I was pleased to find high-quality, delicious ingredients at Costco this year.
  • I love searching Costco’s freezer section for the Blount Fine Foods soups and Island Way sorbet.
  • My Costco regularly stocks Mānuka Health honey and Z. Alexander Brown wines.

I’m a culinary judge who found some new favorite items at Costco throughout 2023.

Here are nine of my favorite Costco finds this year.

The Fresh Press Farms oils are delicious and produced in the US.Fress Press Farms sunflower and olive oilsThe Fresh Press Farms oils have their spots on my countertop.

Meredith Ochs

According to its website, the Georgia-based Fresh Press Farms oversees every step of production, from growing and harvesting olives and seeds to cold pressing and shipping them. I find the company’s farming practices to be reassuring.

The bottles of oil are leave-on-the-kitchen-counter beautiful, and each one comes tethered to its own sealable spout for a stylish and controlled pour.

The golden-sunflower oil has a fresh, buttery taste. It’s versatile enough to use for salad dressings, baked goods, and frying food due to its relatively high smoke point.

If I see it, I may also grab the Fresh Press Farms olive oil, which varies from mild to classic to bold.

Milton’s Craft Bakers gives frozen pizza an upgrade.Milton's Craft Bakers cauliflower-crust pizzaMilton’s Craft Bakers frozen pizzas are so tasty.

Meredith Ochs

The two-packs of Milton’s Craft Bakers thin and crispy cauliflower-crust pizza are so good that I’ll plan a meal around them.

I love the crispy crust, which doesn’t even taste like cauliflower to me. I also appreciate that the brand uses rBST-free cheeses and uncured meats.

The roasted-vegetable pie is topped with zucchini, bell pepper, and onions, and the grilled-chicken-and-garlic version bumps up the protein by a couple of grams per slice.

I toss one onto the oven rack and it’s ready in under 15 minutes.

During summer’s brutal heat, I found relief in the Island Way sorbet.Island Way sorbetThe Island Way sorbet comes frozen in fruit shells.

Meredith Ochs

When I need a cooling snack, I get the Island Way sorbet.

The sorbet is pre-scooped into one of the world’s most eco-friendly containers — natural fruit shells from lemons, grapefruits, mangos, and coconuts.

The novelty alone is fun, but flavors like ruby berry and passionate mango (with real passionfruit) are even better.

The Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips come in party-sized packaging at Costco.Food Should Taste Good multigrain crackersThe Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips live up to their name, as they’re delicious.

Meredith Ochs

The Food Should Taste Good multigrain tortilla chips are so good I’ll snack on them right out of the bag.

The chips’ first ingredient is stone-ground corn followed by high-oleic oils. Flax, sunflower, and sesame seeds add flavor, texture, and nutrients to the hearty non-GMO chips.

They’re sturdy enough to transport guacamole, salsa, queso, or hummus with minimal risk to your clothes and furniture.

Costco sells a mighty 28-ounce bag, which is great for gatherings.

I think the Mānuka Health honey is worth the hype.Manuka honey at CostcoThe Mānuka Health honey comes from New Zealand.

Meredith Ochs

Mānuka honey contains a high concentration of methylglyoxal, a compound that potentially gives the honey antibacterial properties.

The Mānuka Health honey may have other properties, but I like it for its creamy texture and complex taste.

The honey is raw and unpasteurized, as well as Kosher and Halal certified.

I like that it’s tested for quality, purity, and origin (New Zealand) and that a jar lasts me a long time.

When the weather turns cold, I lean on the Blount Fine Foods soups.Blount Fine Foods crab-and-corn chowderI’m currently loving the Blount Fine Foods crab-and-corn chowder.

Meredith Ochs

When I want a fresh-tasting soup, I look for the Blount Fine Foods brand, which makes its meals in Rhode Island.

I’ve never had a Blount Fine Foods soup or comfort food that I didn’t absolutely love. The brand uses minimal ingredients and, in my opinion, each dish tastes homemade.

This time of year, my Costco is stocking Blount Fine Foods’ crab-and-corn chowder, which has bites of shrimp, roasted corn, red peppers, and potatoes.

The POM pomegranate arils are the color and flavor of the holidays.Pom packages at CostcoThe POM arils spice up salads.

Meredith Ochs

I’ve peeled many pomegranates, but if I’m set on just getting the arils, I’ll pick up containers of the fruit from POM.

Costco carries four packs of POM arils, which are usually stocked in a walk-in refrigerated room alongside other fresh fruits and veggies.

The ready-to-eat arils add dots of brilliant ruby color and a sweet, tangy flavor to salads, dips, small bites, or desserts.

Pomegranate season runs from October to January, so they’re perfect for a festive winter meal.

The Président Brie wheels can be used in so many ways.President Brie cheese wheelsThe Président Brie wheels have a mild, pleasant flavor.

Meredith Ochs

The 18-ounce wheels of Président triple-crème Brie are mild in flavor and not too runny, so it may win over folks who say they’re not fans of the famous bloomy-rind cheese.

Brie’s round shape also makes it fun to serve.

It can anchor a plate full of cocktail-hour nibbles or be baked with nuts, herbs, or dried fruit, wrapped in puff pastry or a bread bowl, or melted and served by itself.

Costco’s liquor warehouses carry some of my favorite wines at the moment.Lifevine wine; Z. Alexander Brown winesI’m a big fan of the Lifevine and Z. Alexander Brown brands.

Meredith Ochs

The Lifevine wine is one of my favorite Costco finds of the year. The organic wine contains less than 1 gram of sugar per 5-ounce serving.

Though many wines aren’t required to list ingredients, I like that Lifevine does.

I enjoyed the brand’s breezy rosé all summer, and now Costco carries its jammy cabernet sauvignon for holiday merriment.

I also like to snag the Z. Alexander Brown cabernet sauvignon and proprietary red blend.

The wines, a collaboration between musician and foodie Zac Brown and winemaker John Killebrew, are available regionally.

Click to keep reading Costco diaries like this one.

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