I’m a culinary judge who shops at Costco for the holidays. Here are 10 things I recommend buying.

On the left, blue, white, and red boxes of Ocean Spray cranberry bags at Costco.  On the right, clear and gold containers of pecan praline stocked at Costco.

I pick up cranberry and pecan praline from Costco.meredith ochs

  • As a judge for the Specialty Food Association, I’ve evaluated hundreds of high-quality products.

  • I think Costco is a great place to stock up on holiday staples and special winter treats.

  • I often get cranberries, crispy onions, smoked salmon, and walnut praline from the wholesale chain.

Fresh blueberries herald the holiday season.

Blue, white and red boxes of Ocean Spray blueberry bags at Costco

Blueberries freeze well.meredith ochs

I’m a produce nerd, so I get excited when the new crop of blueberries hit store shelves each fall.

Costco sells a 2-pound bag of fresh Ocean Spray blueberries for $3.99.

I grab two and freeze one as they keep very well in the freezer. So I can bake a blueberry crumb cake any time of the year.

If you have the patience to string them together, blueberries also make pretty tree garlands.

Costco has Wonderful POM Grenades, which can dress up dining tables and festive plates.

black and red boxes full of grenades at Costco

The pomegranates are full of red arils.meredith ochs

Fresh pomegranates are beautiful both inside and out.

Their blushing skin is part of the fall color palette, and their round shape makes them look like natural ornaments, so they’re great as holiday table decorations.

Inside, pomegranates are packed with juicy arils that add a beautiful ruby ​​red color and tart flavor to salads, sauces, and desserts.

The key to enjoying these jewels is learning to disassemble them. Score the shell with a knife and gently break them by hand into a large bowl of water. Ready-to-eat arils will sink to the bottom.

A French rack of lamb is an elegant holiday meal.

Various rack of lamb in clear wrap at Costco

French-style rack of lamb has had the fat and meat removed from each bone.meredith ochs

A rack of lamb can offer a wow factor to your holiday meal. Buying it French-style means that the fat and meat have been trimmed from each rib for an elegant presentation.

If I’m craving more, I buy two or three of these racks of lamb and tie them in a circle around a mound of stuffing to make a crown roast.

Costco sells this Australian rack of lamb for $14.99 a pound. Each package contains eight ribs, weighing approximately 2 pounds.

The flavor of this cranberry walnut bread goes with many herbaceous and meaty winter dinners.

Brown loaves of Cranberry Pecan Bread in clear containers at Costco

Kirkland’s Cranberry Walnut Bread is great with herbed or salted butter.meredith ochs

This large round loaf from Kirkland Bakery looks great and is fun to eat with almost any meal. I’ll put it on a wooden cutting board with a pan filled with room temperature herbed or salted butter.

Cranberries, walnuts, and whole grain rye would complement a Thanksgiving spread or the holiday flavors of a winter roast.

Costco sells the 30-ounce loaf for $8.99.

You can’t make a classic green bean casserole without crispy onions.

Orange and White Bags of Boxed Crispy Onions at Costco

Fresh Gourmet Crispy Onions are a versatile staple.meredith ochs

My family didn’t serve a green bean casserole topped with lots of crispy onions at Thanksgiving as a kid, but as an adult, I more than made up for this shortfall.

Fresh Gourmet Crispy Onions come with recipes for the classic garnish on the back. I also like this particular brand because it’s made with non-GMO onions and no trans or saturated fat.

These onions are also great for topping burgers, mashed potatoes, rice, and mac and cheese.

Smoked salmon can enhance your traditional lunches and latkes.

Hand holding a black and clear two pack of smoked salmon at Costco

I love to top latkes with smoked salmon, crème fraiche, and caviar.meredith ochs

I often keep smoked salmon in the fridge, but I like to have more during the winter holidays.

For $20.99, this Kirkland two-pack contains 24 ounces, which is technically a dozen servings, but at my house it’s more like six.

The dressing can elevate your holiday brunch. I serve it alongside bagels and cream cheese with chives or with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce as meatless eggs benedict.

During Hanukkah, I use this smoked salmon to top latkes, the traditional fried potato pancakes. Its silky texture contrasts pleasantly with the thin and crunchy bites. Also, a bit of crème fraiche and caviar make a perfect combination.

El Almendro nougat is a European Christmas tradition.

white and red boxes of el amendo candy at Costco

Each package of El Almendro nougat contains three boxes.meredith ochs

The Spanish company El Almendro has been making treats for some 140 years, and turrón duro, a firm nougat with almonds, is a Christmas staple.

It’s made with honey, sugar, and egg whites, but since it’s mostly almonds, the bite isn’t cloying. I like to add this crisp white to cookie plates.

Costco sells three-packs of festive treats for $10.99.

Praline nuts are a nice addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes.

Clear and gold containers of praline nuts stocked at Costco

A container of Kirkland’s walnut praline costs $15.99.meredith ochs

Kirkland Praline Nuts are a Costco favorite. I buy them around the holidays to add sweetness and crunch to a variety of dishes.

Pecans have a distinctive buttery, slightly woody flavor that is enhanced by the sugary praline coating.

I like to crumble them over a Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole, add them to salads with goat cheese, and top pancakes with them for a decadent breakfast. They’re also great on a cheese plate.

A 40-ounce jar of walnut praline costs $15.99.

This fruity cabernet sauvignon has an amazing flavor profile.

Black and gold bottles of 1924 cabernet sauvignon on a wooden shelf at Costco

The Gnarly Head 1924 cabernet sauvignon is a great wine to accompany winter dinners.meredith ochs

I’m not usually a cab drinker, but the Gnarly Head Limited Edition 1924 Double Black cabernet sauvignon awakens my palate.

This wine spends some time aging in bourbon barrels, where it takes on notes of brown sugar and a hint of charcoal. It’s bold and jammy, heavy on blackberry, with undertones of cherry and fig, making it a rich accompaniment to a winter meal.

A bottle of this California wine costs $12.99. And in some states, Costco liquor stores don’t require a membership to shop, so check with your local store if you’re not a member.

Don’t forget the beer drinkers around the holidays.

blue and red boxes of Samuel Adams Christmas beer at Costco

This 12-pack includes Samuel Adams Winter Lager and other varieties.meredith ochs

Costco sells 12-packs of Samuel Adams’ Christmas-themed Beers for Cheers, which include some of the brand’s seasonal beers.

The half case combines timeworn favorites, from the malty-sweet Old Fezziwig and the modern new cold IPA (which is fermented at cooler-than-usual temperatures) to the hazy Holiday White Ale and Black Lager with a touch of mocha So the collection is perfect for seasonal celebrations.

It even includes two regular Boston lagers for those who prefer a beer that just tastes like beer.

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