Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

The Dean & Deluca Catalog


munchymom
 Share

Recommended Posts

So I somehow or other got on the mailing list for Dean & Deluca's catalog. Whenever it comes, my husband and I have a good time chuckling over the outrageous prices they charge for things, but the one that arrived today hit a new level.

"Grilled Corn on the Cob

A Dean & Deluca Exclusive.

Our summer fresh corn on the cob is bathed in chili lime butter. The corn comes uncooked, wrapped in foil and is ready to grill. Preparation couldn't be simpler and it cooks while your barbecue is heating up for your steaks or burgers. About twenty minutes turning occasionally - keep wrapped in foil until ready to serve.

Set of six $32."

They're charging thirty-two dollars. For SIX EARS OF CORN. Plus $15.25 for next-day delivery. Someone, somewhere, is buying corn on the cob at the price of eight dollars an ear.

And after all that time in transit...the corn won't even taste good.

"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I somehow or other got on the mailing list for Dean & Deluca's catalog.  Whenever it comes, my husband and I have a good time chuckling over the outrageous prices they charge for things, but the one that arrived today hit a new level.

"Grilled Corn on the Cob

A Dean & Deluca Exclusive.

Our summer fresh corn on the cob is bathed in chili lime butter.  The corn comes uncooked, wrapped in foil and is ready to grill.  Preparation couldn't be simpler and it cooks while your barbecue is heating up for your steaks or burgers.  About twenty minutes turning occasionally - keep wrapped in foil until ready to serve.

Set of six $32."

They're charging thirty-two dollars.  For SIX EARS OF CORN.  Plus $15.25 for next-day delivery.  Someone, somewhere, is buying corn on the cob at the price of eight dollars an ear.

And after all that time in transit...the corn won't even taste good.

Oh come on, the chili lime butter is exquisite. :raz::wink:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe that foil it is wrapped in is gold leaf. Ya' think?

Today's Kroger sales ad had Florida sweet corn at 44 cents an ear and butter for $2.29 a lb.

Dean and Deluca both must be rolling in the money. :raz:

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Epicetus

Amanda Newton

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

The insanity continues. The Fall catalog arrived today.

"Caramel Apples

Nothing says Halloween quite like a crisp apple dipped in butter-rich caramel. An American tradition dating from the 1950's, these apples up the ante with a final flourish of dark or milk Belgian chocolate. Made exclusively with tart Granny Smiths, a treat for even the most discerning ghosts and goblins. Kosher.

Set of four: two milk, two dark apples: $45."

With shipping costs, including required next-day shipping, of $25.90, you're looking at about 18 bucks per apple. I need to get in on this racket.

I also liked this tidbit:

"Dean & Deluca Osetra Caviar

The finest Osetra caviar originally came from the Caspian Sea where it now is endangered. Ours is harvested in California, where the sturgeon are farm-raised in artisan water and fed natural foods. Clean, creamy and delicately textured.

1 oz. $78

2 oz. $155."

Um, artisan water? ARTISAN WATER?! So, what, they have a chemist somewhere in a workshop painstakingly cobbling together atoms of hydrogen and oxygen? What could this possibly mean?

"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The insanity continues.  The Fall catalog arrived today.

"Caramel Apples

Nothing says Halloween quite like a crisp apple dipped in butter-rich caramel.  An American tradition dating from the 1950's, these apples up the ante with a final flourish of dark or milk Belgian chocolate.  Made exclusively with tart Granny Smiths, a treat for even the most discerning ghosts and goblins.  Kosher.

Set of four: two milk, two dark apples:  $45."

With shipping costs, including required next-day shipping, of $25.90, you're looking at about 18 bucks per apple.  I need to get in on this racket.

I also liked this tidbit:

"Dean & Deluca Osetra Caviar

The finest Osetra caviar originally came from the Caspian Sea where it now is endangered.  Ours is harvested in California, where the sturgeon are farm-raised in artisan water and fed natural foods.  Clean, creamy and delicately textured.

1 oz. $78

2 oz. $155."

Um, artisan water?  ARTISAN WATER?!  So, what, they have a chemist somewhere in a workshop painstakingly cobbling together atoms of hydrogen and oxygen? What could this possibly mean?

Actually, in Defense of Dean & DeLuca's water sources and copy writers, I'll suggest that the catalog is trying to make the point that their water source is natural, from aquifers and wells called "artisan", rather than city water or a less pristine natural lake.

As for the apples, if they can get it, why not charge it?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The copy says "artisan". I didn't even think of it being a misspelling of "artesian", but that makes a lot more sense. I bet a spell-checker changed it.

And yeah, Busboy, I can't fault D & D for charging whatever they can get; in my opinion, the insanity here is on the part of the consumer willing to pay the price.

"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had to smile when a girl at the farmers market offered me some artesian bread.

Maybe there was really good oven spring during the baking.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few years ago I worked in their call center during the Christmas season. They have a cooler, I'd say about 9' x 12', that houses nothing but chocolate. Nirvana! The aroma was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. You can't imagine how good an entire room full of chocolate smells!

Almost as good, was the room where they pack the dried spices into tins and test tubes. (They have a test tube spice rack, if you don't have qualms about exposing your dried herbs and spices to light. Not terribly functional because of that, but still very colorful and cool-looking.) It was a lot of fun getting to try the different products; interesting how you can convince yourself you "need" something you hadn't known existed, 6 months before. :laugh: My paychecks, needless to say, despite the 30% employee discount, usually wouldn't buy a tank of gas.

As for customers and how much they'll spend, you would not believe. D&D has some lovely customers who really spend money on food, and I enjoyed helping them do it. Sadly, I could not convince any of them to adopt me. But I've gotta tell you, I loved that job, even though it just paid minimum wage. Maybe my ID for eG should have been "Vicarious Gourmet".

Truffle season is the most interesting. With a golf-ball sized white truffle selling for over $300, we here in Kansas at first had trouble envisioning anyone spending money that way. But by the end of the season, we were believers. One customer spent nearly $10,000 on truffles, between Thanksgiving and Christmas that year. I think it's safe to say that in the years since then, there have been even more fantastic stories than that.

Also, keep in mind that companies often buy their products as gift items. Corporations are even bigger spenders than wealthy individuals.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, keep in mind that companies often buy their products as gift items.  Corporations are even bigger spenders than wealthy individuals.

It's hard not to keep that in mind, when you consider that they simply pass the cost of their largesse on to consumers. :angry:

I went to our local D&D last weekend and left empty-handed. That was a first for me, but I guess I have finally gotten too disgusted by the conspicuous consumption for its own sake. Most of the people who were shopping in there had little or no idea what they were buying or that it could be gotten for a fraction of the cost at an ethnic market (not that they would consider going to an ethnic market, mind you, but that's another topic). I may get some apples and go stand on the street corner in front of the store and under-cut them!

Having said that, the holidays will likely find me there, since we are often the benefactor of some of the corporate gifting. At least, as we have a brick and mortar here, we get gift cards so we can opt out of the $8/ear corn and the $18 carmel apples!

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I stepped into my first ever D&D when I visited Kansas City last month; wanted to see what all the fuss was about and to pick up a water bottle and a snack for the drive to the airport.

Okay - what is it with this place? $8 USD for 200 g of Puy lentils which look about the same as the ones I buy at $2.29 CAD for 900 g (only 17x more). Produce didn't look any better than anywhere else I've seen though I would expect that someone's grandmother hand-nurtured each avocado for what they were charging for it. It all reminded me of buying luxury goods at Sogo - the only thing important was to be able to tell everyone how much money you spent.

I left without buying anything: price-wise it was cheaper to eat at the airport.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not to blindly defend D&D, but this happens with other stores, too. Here in Wichita, at Dillons (Kroeger), I can buy a particular brand of San Marzano tomatoes at $2.99 for (I think) 28 ounces. Across the street, at the "gourmet" grocery, the very same can is $5.99. Same kind of thing is going on with cannelini beans, and probably several other products, if I made the effort to do comparisons. Even Williams-Sonoma has certain items cheaper than the "gourmet" place.

I'm actually pretty ticked off at D&D right now. In 1999, when I last worked there, I purchased the small test tube spice rack. They were having trouble getting decent racks from their source, and every one that came in was warped. They looked for the best one they could find for me, but it was still pretty sorry-looking. I accepted it, though, and they told me to check back in a few months, and if they had better ones, they'd swap it out. I put it up in the cabinet, used it from time to time, and forgot all about it. A few months ago, I decided my kitchen had a dark enough spot that it wouldn't hurt to display it, and when I brought it out, realized that the thing really is pretty wrecked. I wrote to them, described the situation, and asked if I could BUY the rack only, and was told "we don't sell them separately." I again explained what the deal was (silly me, I expected them to be reasonable), and offered to not only BUY the replacement, but to also return the old one to them so that they could have confidence I wasn't trying to pull a fast one. "No." was the reply. So I wrote back to them and said fine, I'll display it 'as is', and everyone who enters my home can see the shoddy crap that D&D sells. And as I expected, I received no reply. I understand that after all these years, they're under no obligation to replace a defective product, but I'd thought that since I offered to pay for it, there shouldn't be any problem.

I really can't understand why they wouldn't go that far to make a customer happy. Usually, a high-dollar product is accompanied by excellent service.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dean and Deluca in St Helena CA has some great people working there. Their cheese selection is top notch and it's extremely well cared for. I've never ordered from their catalog nor do I buy much of anything other than cheese from them, but I'm happy to shop there any time I'm in the area. More power to them if they can provide a decent product to people who obviously are otherwise unable to get the products any other way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dean and Deluca in St Helena CA has some great people working there.  Their cheese selection is top notch and it's extremely well cared for.  I've never ordered from their catalog nor do I buy much of anything other than cheese from them, but I'm happy to shop there any time I'm in the area.  More power to them if they can provide a decent product to people who obviously are otherwise unable to get the products any other way.

Yes, but it's hard to imagine that the mail-order corn on the cob (!!! still can't get over that) is a "decent product" by the time it gets to the consumer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, but it's hard to imagine that the mail-order corn on the cob (!!! still can't get over that) is a "decent product" by the time it gets to the consumer.

Who knows. It's pretty obvious that we aren't the target audience - who knows where someone who buys mail-order corn would otherwise get it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have a Dean & DeLuca here in Washington and there are good and bad points. As far as I know they have the best charcuterie selection in the metro area and -- on a good day -- arguably the best cheese selection, at prices that are not particularly outrageous. No one has better produce than the farmers markets but they're not cheap -- I think I've paid $4.00 for a tomato more than once. And, for exotic stuff like Meyer Lemons or starfruit , D&D is a good source. They have a pretty unmatched selection of Cali wines, though so many are obscure and expensive enough that I can't judge the price-quality ratio, though when I've sprung for wines in the $20-30 range they worked well more often than not (high praise from a wine curmudgeon like me!). They have good baked goods and their small selection of fish can be very expensive but is ridiculously fresh. And you can buy a slew of rarities like truffles and whole foie gras at competitive prices, not that that makes them affordable.

I think you get in trouble at D&D -- as with a lot of other places -- with the bulk items like the lentils that are packaged opulently and sold at obscene, and the prepared foods you buy because you're in a hurry.

I can't judge the catalog; I'm fortunate enough not to have to buy my goodies on line. But if we lost our local D&D retailer, it would be a serious blow. But you do have to know what you're doing, and it helps to have a highly developed sense of incredulity before you shell out the big money for small items.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

D&D stores vary widely. I'd agree with Busboy's assessment of the DC-Georgetown D&D--particularly his comments on cheese and charcuterie. On the other hand, the small store in Charlotte, NC is pretty crappy. Poor selection of overpriced goods with little redeeming value. I saw boxes of cheap cookie dough sitting on the counter in the bakery area. The cheese selection was only a half-step above a decent supermarket's. And most of their space was devoted to expensive premade sandwiches and other to-go goods. (I did like that wine was in a separate store, where there were tables and a short menu for sampling with the goods.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have a Dean & DeLuca here in Washington and there are good and bad points.  As far as I know they have the best charcuterie selection in the metro area and -- on a good day -- arguably the best cheese selection,

They have a wide cheese selection, but it's often kept long past its prime. I have learned to smell and taste everything before buying after getting burned a couple of times while in a rush.

Mal, completely agree about the Charlotte store.

Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dean and Deluca in St Helena CA has some great people working there.  Their cheese selection is top notch and it's extremely well cared for.  I've never ordered from their catalog nor do I buy much of anything other than cheese from them, but I'm happy to shop there any time I'm in the area.  More power to them if they can provide a decent product to people who obviously are otherwise unable to get the products any other way.

Yes, but it's hard to imagine that the mail-order corn on the cob (!!! still can't get over that) is a "decent product" by the time it gets to the consumer.

This type of thing - meats, produce, etc. - is always drop-shipped directly from the supplier, and if it's delivered by overnight mail, theoretically it could be on the consumer's table within 24 hours of being picked. But I still can't see mail-ordering corn on the cob. Perhaps there are areas in the US where corn on the cob isn't available any other way, but FedEx probably doesn't deliver overnight to those places, either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

D&D stores vary widely. I'd agree with Busboy's assessment of the DC-Georgetown D&D--particularly his comments on cheese and charcuterie. On the other hand, the small store in Charlotte, NC is pretty crappy. Poor selection of overpriced goods with little redeeming value. I saw boxes of cheap cookie dough sitting on the counter in the bakery area. The cheese selection was only a half-step above a decent supermarket's. And most of their space was devoted to expensive premade sandwiches and other to-go goods. (I did like that wine was in a separate store, where there were tables and a short menu for sampling with the goods.)

I visited that same store last September and I thought the same thing. I actually couldnt believe it was a D&D. I'd never been in one before and I guess I expected a lot more. I left empty-handed( rare for me)...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So did the copy actually say artisan, or was it artesian?

I had to smile when a girl at the farmers market offered me some artesian bread.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  But I've gotta tell you, I loved that job, even though it just paid minimum wage. 

They charge ridiculous prices and pay MINIMUM WAGE?

If I was ever tempted to purchase anything from them (and the yearning wasn't really there), that just killed any inclination.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...