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14 Costco Food Items You'll Wish You Knew About Sooner

shopping at Costco
shopping at Costco - Ramin Talaie/Getty Images

A Costco membership comes with plenty of benefits. Shoppers enjoy thrifty prices on household staples, generous hours throughout the week, and the chain's legendarily delicious food court pizza. But the best thing about being a Costco member is the sheer variety of goods offered in every location's roomy aisles. Snacks, beverages, meats, cheeses, oils, and pretty much everything else you can imagine line the shelves, and the selection is constantly being rotated. But this presents a problem: There's just so much stuff on offer that no one Costco shopper can possibly try it all out. Inevitably, certain items get overlooked.

Not to worry, Costco faithful, we're here to help. We've assembled a list of the best Costco items that are likely to have flown under your radar. This list is based on our own personal experiences with each and every item; check out the end of this article to learn more about our methodology. You might wish you knew about these Costco items sooner — but hey, better late than never.

Read more: The Most Beloved Products At Aldi, According To Shoppers

1. Kirkland Signature Cashew Clusters

Kirkland Signature Cashew Clusters bag
Kirkland Signature Cashew Clusters bag - Costco

Costco sells a whole lot of nutritious snacks, but most of them are a simple, singular thing, like a dried fruit, a type of hummus, or a certain variety of cracker. Kirkland Signature Cashew Clusters opts for a different path. Every package of this inimitable treat contains bite-sized morsels comprised of cashews, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. Each cluster is bound together by sugar and a sprinkle of sea salt, and resists crumbling into nutty rubble, no matter how much rough handling the bag has been subjected to.

The three core nuts work deliciously together. The cashews definitely take center stage, and deservedly so; these sweet, creamy crescents are an excellent example of the nut at its best. But the cashews also highlight the almonds' and pumpkin seeds' mellow flavors and comparatively snappy textures. Every mouthful is a unique symphony of mouthfeel and taste, and a filling one, too. If you're the type of person who snacks on nuts because they're absolutely packed with energy and nutrients, you're in for a particular treat with this snack. This is the kind of food worth keeping in your car. In case you find yourself stuck in traffic with a rumbling belly, you'll keep the hunger pangs at bay and have something tasty to enjoy.

2. deMilan Panettone Classico Tin Cake

deMilan Panettone and tin
deMilan Panettone and tin - Costco

Panettone is a classic Christmas cake from Italy. Each towering loaf is a delectable wonder, characterized by a tender crumb and oodles of candied fruit. Or at least, that's how it should be — as panettone fans know, there are all too many dry, tasteless bricks out there, bringing the dessert's reputation down.

Luckily, deMilan's take on the seasonal treat does it tremendous justice. This panettone is incredibly moist, yet never mushy. Its fluffy interior is generously studded with plump raisins and bright ribbons of candied orange peel, which have lost none of their flavor or color during the baking process. Somehow, though, the cake's exterior is its true triumph. This panettone boasts a deeply bronzed crust that tastes very nearly caramelized. Its warm, toasty flavor and crisp edges offer a delicious contrast to the cake's tender insides, and keep it standing tall and strong, no matter how many pieces have been cut from it. Plus, when every crumb has been eaten, you're left with a lovely tin.

3. That's It Mini Fruit Bars

That's it Mini Fruit Bars
That's it Mini Fruit Bars - Costco

That's it truly abides by its straightforward name: The company's Mini Fruit Bars boast only two ingredients each, and they're both fruit. The strawberry bar is made from apple and strawberry, the mango bar is made from apple and mango, and the blueberry bar contains only apple and blueberry. No added sugar, no bran, no oats, no preservatives — it's fruit and fruit alone.

This is a godsend for busy people looking to get more fruit into their diet. Each bar is bursting with the nutrients and fiber of its components, but they take a mere moment to consume. Don't think they're just good in terms of utilitarianism, though. These fruit bars are also genuinely tasty. Each one is a compressed block of fruit, some of which seems to have been pureed, some of which has been preserved in distinct chunks. The result is somewhere between fruit leather and a fruity cereal bar; it's delightfully tender, chewy, and sticky, all at the same time. More than anything, though, it's bursting with real fruit flavor. The mango bar is especially impressive in this respect: Each bite is full of the tangy, juicy, sun-splashed taste of that celebrated fruit. Stick them in a lunchbox, keep them in your purse, or stash a few at work. That's it Mini Fruit Bars are good in every context.

4. Kirkland Signature Praline Pecans

Kirkland Signature Praline Pecans barrel
Kirkland Signature Praline Pecans barrel - Costco

Costco's Kirkland Signature products are cheap, plentiful, and varied. It's no wonder, then, that so many of the brand's snacks have become blockbuster hits. But compared to fan-favorite options like the peanut butter-filled pretzels, Kirkland Signature's Praline Pecans fly under the radar. They're also considerably lesser-known than similarly sweet nuts, like chocolate-covered almonds. This is a mystery to anyone who's tried them; one handful makes it clear that this is one of the best treats in the entire Costco warehouse.

It starts with the pecans themselves. Each nut is creamy, a little woodsy, and boasts a subtle hint of earthiness, which keeps these treats from being cloyingly sweet. Each pecan is also seriously sizable and covered in nooks and crannies, which means it can carry a whole lot of sugary goodness. The glaze is exceptionally well-balanced, even compared to Costco's many other candied nuts. It's sweet, to be sure — no dessert lover will turn these down. But that sweetness is tempered by a rich base of butter and a generous pinch of salt. These treats don't skimp on the glaze, either. Each nut is thoroughly coated in it, to the point that it takes on a whole new texture of its own. What's more, these nuts are pleasantly filling. A bowl of them set out on a coffee table would make a robust and memorable appetizer at a casual gathering.

5. Kirkland Signature Costa Rica Coffee

Kirkland Signature Costa Rica Coffee
Kirkland Signature Costa Rica Coffee - Costco

Kirkland Signature brand coffee comes in a diverse array of roasts and blend. The Costa Rica coffee sets itself apart right off the bat by being a decidedly dark roast. If you're at all hesitant about such coffee, go ahead and skip to the next slide — you're probably not going to like this brew. If, however, you're a dark roast devotee, you're in luck. This is one of the best around, within and beyond Costco's offerings.

This coffee is absolutely bursting with real, true, deliciously dark goodness, and just one glance at the beans makes this obvious. Each one glimmers with oil, indicating a luxurious brew. Hints of smoke, caramel, and even a subtle fruitiness mingle in each cup. It's delicious on its own, but a touch of milk and/or sugar can bring these tones out even further in interesting ways. The most impressive thing about this coffee, though, is the fact that it isn't at all bitter. Every sip is a smooth and rich experience, full-bodied but never overwhelming. There's no acidity, no harshness, no sour tang — just coffee at its absolute best.

6. Beemster Whole Wheel Gouda

Beemster whole Gouda wheel
Beemster whole Gouda wheel - Costco

Yes, you read that right. This is an entire wheel of cheese. You might think you could never have need of a 24-pound round of Gouda that comes in at a whopping $299.99, but if you're at all interested in ever throwing a legendary party, you should think again. We speak from experience when we say that nothing makes a room full of people start cheering like a big, beautiful wheel of luscious cheese (alongside a generous selection of crackers, naturally). This gorgeous wheel of Gouda is also a straight-up efficient way of feeding a ton of people at once. No more fiddling with tons of different cheeses, all in need of their own knife, spot on the cheese board, and informative label — with a whole wheel of Gouda, people know what they're in for.

Beyond the spectacular nature of this cheese, there's also the fact that it's delicious. This is Gouda at its best. Creamy, smooth, ever-so-slightly sweet, and nutty. It pairs well with all manner of goodies, but grapes and berries set off its fruity notes especially well. It also cuts smoothly, which is essential if you're hoping to serve it to a crowd — little of the cheese is lost to crumbling or splintering, and no one will struggle to get a knife through its bulk. Leave the party platters behind and take advantage of your Costco membership in a whole new way with this wheel of dairy deliciousness.

7. Golden Island Korean Barbecue Pork Jerky

Golden Island Korean Barbecue Jerky
Golden Island Korean Barbecue Jerky - Costco

Even the most experienced jerky connoisseur will be impressed by Golden Island Korean Barbecue Pork Jerky. It all starts with the meat itself. Though it's undoubtedly tough, as all jerky is, this pork remains impressively tender and even succulent, no matter how long it's been sitting on the shelf. It's also bursting with true, rich porcine flavor — you couldn't confuse this with beef jerky, even if you tried. Each piece is also generously sized, with most spanning the width of your palm.

The seasoning works in delectable concert with the pork. This is a classic Korean barbecue blend of soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, sesame, onion powder, and vinegar. Each ingredient makes its mark while blending into a tasty whole. Golden Island doesn't skimp on the seasoning, either. The fact that each and every piece is generously speckled with sesame seeds makes that obvious. What results is bite after bite of sweet, tangy, smoky, porky perfection.

8. Kirkland Signature Creamy Almond Butter

Kirkland Signature Creamy Almond Butter
Kirkland Signature Creamy Almond Butter - Costco

Almond butter used to be the kind of thing you had to go to a gourmet store to find. Happily, things have changed; while peanut butter still reigns supreme, even bare-bones supermarkets are likely to stock its almond-based cousin. Many brands jostle for attention, and plenty of them offer excellent takes on the delectable nut spread. But Kirkland Signature Creamy Almond Butter is, without question, one of the absolute best choices available.

How does it achieve such lofty status? By firing on all cylinders. First and foremost, this almond butter is absolutely brimming with real, true almond flavor. This makes sense when you glance at the ingredient list — it consists solely of roasted almonds. The nut's woodsy taste and mellow milkiness are on full display, unhindered by added sugar or preservatives. Texturally, things are just as strong. This butter is thick, rich, and as the name denotes, incredibly creamy. It spreads beautifully, and can easily be incorporated into other recipes, especially baked goods. What's more, it pairs exceptionally well with a wide variety of other ingredients. Try pairing it with strawberries, swapping it for peanut butter in a PB and J, or using it to top pancakes.

9. Nutty & Fruity Spicy Chili Tamarind Bites

Nutty & Fruity Chili Tamarind Bites
Nutty & Fruity Chili Tamarind Bites - Costco

Nutty & Fruity Spicy Chili Tamarind Bites seriously live up to their name. These bite-sized nuggets truly are nutty, fruity, and spicy. Each morsel is made primarily of tamarind, which many people know best as the source of pad thai's distinctively tangy flavor. The fruit is chewy, yet also impressively tender — kind of like a cross between a dried apricot and a gummy bear. Its zingy tropical flavor is immediately evident and as delicious as ever.

But it's the added flavors that truly take things to the next level. If you're at all on the fence about spice, this snack really isn't for you. It doesn't do heat by halves. Vibrantly spicy chili explodes on your tongue with each bite, growing more and more intense as you make your way through the bag. It's scrumptiously offset by the added sugar and a generous coating of paprika, which brings a fantastically smoky note. Salt and pepper finish things off in classic style by bringing all these disparate flavors together. This is the kind of snack that demands your full attention; it's genuinely a little hard to eat while watching a movie or having a conversation with friends, it's so bursting with flavor. That's a small price to pay for such deliciousness, though.

10. Sugar Bowl Bakery Petite Palmiers

Sugar Bowl Bakery Petite Palmiers
Sugar Bowl Bakery Petite Palmiers - Costco

Palmiers are a French pastry everyone should try at least once, and Sugar Bowl Bakery's Petite Palmiers are a great example of why. These cookie-esque treats are made from puff pastry that has been curled into elegant scrolled shapes. The puff pastry is then covered in sugar and baked. This creates one of the prettiest and tastiest goodies in the bakery window.

Sugar Bowl Bakery's take on palmiers shows off this treat's unique texture at its absolute best. Each pastry is incredibly flaky, boasting layer upon layer of sweet, feathery dough, yet these pastries don't crumble into a pile of dough shreds. The sugar and baking process gives them a crispy exterior that keeps the whole goodie in shape and adds an irresistible bit of browning to the pastry layers' outermost edges. The flavor of real, rich butter shines through, which provides an elegant contrast to the palmiers' super-sweet exterior. The interior also stays remarkably tender, to the point of being outright moist. A pinch of salt highlights every individual flavor and keeps these palmiers from being cloying.

11. NuTrail Honey Nut Granola

NuTrail Honey Nut Granola bag
NuTrail Honey Nut Granola bag - Costco

Granola is a wonderful thing to keep in the kitchen, as tasty in yogurt as it is atop pancakes. But a whole lot of it is way, way, way too sweet. NuTrail Honey Nut Granola bucks this trend by swapping conventional sugar with monk fruit extract as its sweetener and using a lighter hand with it. What results is a tantalizingly varied mixture of flavors and textures that won't leave you with any sort of cloying aftertaste. And what a mixture it is. This granola combines pecans, coconut, almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds into one diverse whole.

Granola enthusiasts will notice the absence of oats and perhaps cringe — what sort of granola doesn't have oats? It's true that this is a major departure. If the promotional copy is anything to go by, it seems squarely aimed at folks who stick to keto and gluten-free diets, but once you get used to the absence of oats, you'll realize it lets the nuts and seeds truly shine. This granola is tender, crunchy, and crispy in a whole new way, thanks to its unique makeup, and it boasts earthy, sweet, woodsy, fruity, and ever-so-slightly smoky flavors. It's also packed with nutrients and energy, which makes it a great choice of snack for hikers.

12. Trufflehunter White Truffle Oil

Trufflehunter White Truffle Oil bottles
Trufflehunter White Truffle Oil bottles - Costco

When you think of truffle oil, you probably think of fancy restaurants and elite chefs. Truffles are among the most sought-after delicacies in the culinary world, after all, and they're nowhere near as easy to find as, say, the white button mushrooms available at your local supermarket. But in fact, truffle oil can be found at Costco, and at a remarkably affordable price. Enter Trufflehunter White Truffle Oil.

Unscrew the cap, and there's no mistaking it: This is truffle oil at its most potent. Its scent is full of the rich, earthy notes that make this fabulous fungus such a powerhouse ingredient, and the taste is just as impressive. With nothing more than a drizzle, you can infuse just about anything with the savory depth of pure truffle goodness. All things starchy make a superb canvas for Trufflehunter's oil; potatoes, popcorn, and bread soak it up particularly well. But if there's one thing this oil is meant for, it's pasta. It adds savory, almost cheese-like funkiness and woodsy flavor to just about any pasta dish you can imagine. This oil is ready to become the secret weapon in your kitchen — if you can keep yourself from gushing about it to everyone you know, that is.

13. Kirkland Signature All Chocolate Bag

Kirkland Signature All Chocolate Bag
Kirkland Signature All Chocolate Bag - Costco

All candy has its place, from lollipops to gummy bears, but chocolate aficionados know that there's something special about their favorite sweet treat. When Halloween comes around — or any other event that necessitates purchasing huge bags of candy — these chocoholics must sift through bins of taffy, caramels, and hard candies just to get their hands on their preferred goodie. But what, Costco asks, if they didn't have to? What if there was a bag that consisted solely of chocolate-based candy?

The answer is the Kirkland Signature All Chocolate bag, and it's a beautiful thing. It's all in the name; this sack of candy contains 10 of the most popular chocolate-based candies, including Twix, York Peppermint Patties, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and M&Ms. While the all-out chocolate bonanza nature of this bag is impressive on its own, what's even more eye-catching is its diversity of flavor. Yes, it's all chocolate, but within that category, we've got mint, peanuts, nougat, caramel, almonds, and wafers. This keeps the bag interesting, preventing chocolate-on-chocolate fatigue and ensuring that everyone's favorites are well-represented. Prepare to be the most popular house on the block this Halloween with this one-of-a-kind bag.

14. Loacker Classic Crispy Hazelnut Wafers

Loacker Classic Crispy Hazelnut Wafers
Loacker Classic Crispy Hazelnut Wafers - Costco

Loacker Classic Crispy Hazelnut Wafers keep things a lot more low-key than most wafer-based sweets. Unlike, say, KitKats, these cookies aren't entirely coated in chocolate — or, in this case, the hazelnut cream that lies between each wafer. Neither are they as sugary (or as brightly colored) as the wafer cookies found on most supermarket shelves. Loacker's treats are content to simply combine cream and delicate wafer cookies in the simplest possible way.

This is a winning strategy, and it's all thanks to the quality of ingredients used. These wafers are whisper-thin, yet robustly crispy. Days on the shelf won't wilt them, and neither will a quick dunk in a cup of coffee; every bite still retains a characteristic crunch. The hazelnut cream is the true star here, though. Unlike lesser hazelnut products, this cream isn't vaguely nut-flavored and obscured by way too much sugar. Instead, it's bursting with true, clear hazelnut flavor. The wafers act as a pristine canvas for the cream to do its thing against, and the result is delectable. These cookies are a tribute to the simple things, which at their best are truly the most luxurious.

Methodology

Shopping cart outside Costco location
Shopping cart outside Costco location - Jetcityimage/Getty Images

This list was assembled based on our own personal experiences with each item. First and foremost, we considered each foodstuff's tastiness — if it wasn't delicious, it didn't end up on the list. We also mulled over the various uses of each item in a variety of contexts. Some are great at parties, while others have many different applications in cooking. Finally, we carefully considered each item's uniqueness and level of obscurity. These aren't just any old Costco purchases. We specifically looked for items that do something totally new, and that you aren't likely to have seen people discussing online.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.