A natural alternative
For those looking for a refreshing drink with less sugar, Newton’s appl fizzics could be the answer. This new product is a curiously refreshing blend of apple juice and sparkling water with approximately 40 per cent less sugar than apple juice on its own.
Available in both 330ml and 750ml bottles, Newton’s appl fizzics is perfect for adults and children alike – a healthy alternative to both sugary soft drinks and alcohol. Best served chilled, Newton’s appl fizzics makes a wonderfully thirst quenching drink that can be enjoyed straight from the bottle, or in a glass with plenty of ice.
“I did taste this very cold from the fridge and it was wonderfully thirst quenching – I could picture me reaching for this on a hot day when I didn’t want something sickly sweet. It had a good amount of fizz and the apple flavour was natural and in my opinion quite sophisticated – definitely not like any old-school apple-ade!”
Light up my life
Belvoir Fruit Farms has added two new ‘Light’ varieties to its range with 30 per cent less sugar than the original versions; zingy Raspberry Lemonade Light and fragrant Elderflower & Rose Pressé Light.
Like all Belvoir’s drinks, the Light Range is hand made at Belvoir using real pressed fruit juices and freshly picked flowers so that despite the reduction in sugar there is no reduction in flavour. The ‘Light’ range is designed to allow a different audience to enjoy Belvoir’s gently sparkling Pressés too.
All three varieties in the Belvoir Light range are available from Tesco and Ocado for around £2.39 per 75cl bottle.
The team always looks forward to tasting a new Belvoir product and these Light versions split them into two distinct camps. One half loved the Lightness – they appreciated there was less sugar and enjoyed the delicate flavours of both the Raspberry Lemonade and the Elderflower Rose. The editor had one bottle of the Raspberry Lemonade all to herself! But the others found them slightly weak, without the really strong fruity or floral flavours they expected.
Overall, everyone loved the packaging ‘the bottle is very appealing and makes you feel like you are buying a natural product,’ was one comment. ‘I often find this sort of drink much too strong,” said another commenter. ‘I loved this Light Raspberry Lemonade, and it’s actually a treat for me to find something like this, with a delicate flavour that appeals to my palate.”
It’s nice iced
As they launch a new marketing campaign entitled ‘putting the tea back into iced tea’, YumCha are hoping to capitalise on the growing consumer demand for innovative cold drinks and to show UK customers what ‘real iced tea’ tastes like.
The British brand was launched in 2012, but to date have largely concentrated on the mainland European market, where consumption of iced tea is considerably higher and accounts for a large proportion of the $40 billion worldwide market.
With a strong sales base now established in Holland, Switzerland and France the director of the YumCha brand, Guy Woodall (the original founder of Thorncroft Cordials), feels this summer is the right time to show the UK what iced tea ‘should’ taste like.
Guy has invented an innovative new method of manufacturing iced tea,with a patent pending, which allows for the production of a commercial iced tea using a much more traditional method. Guy’s technique uses only natural ingredients and means the actual tea used in the drink becomes a much more prominent feature, also utilising appreciably less sugar (often used to cover up the harshness of acids). Delicious over ice, as a summer cocktail base, a family alternative to cordial or fizzy drinks or even a winter warmer when made with hot water, YumCha look set to revolutionise the iced tea market in the UK.
Guy has also spent time travelling the world looking for exciting and popular iced tea blends and amongst the YumCha range you’ll find Sour Plum, Moroccan Mint, Earl Grey and Jasmine.
As one of the taste test team is an iced tea enthusiast it seemed fair that she should be in charge of the YumCha – and she wasn’t disappointed. “I tried the Earl Grey first and I totally loved it! It’s easy to prepare, given that the bottle is like a cordial that you water down (I did have to restrain myself from drinking the syrup though!) I loved the packaging and the taste and would definitely give it a five out of five!”
Let’s go crackers
Thin, crisp and extremely versatile, Leksands crispbreads are a brilliant alternative to the traditional loaf of bread and make the perfect vessel for a huge variety of toppings. Now available throughout the UK from Ocado.com and ScandiKitchen, Leksands bake genuine crispbread every day in Sweden, closely following traditional family recipes which were first formulated in the 1920’s. Only rye (which carries the Swedish Seal of Quality, the ‘Svensk Sigrill’) is used alongside pure water from Leksands very own spring, yeast and a pinch of salt – and of course expert workmanship.
The crispbreads come in a number of must-try varieties ranging from Original, Brown Baked and Multi Grain to special Mountain crispbread and even up-tothe- minute Sourdough.
The team sampled the traditional smaller triangle Leksands crispbreads, but also the large round variety, which was new to us all! “These can be used as an alternative to a white pizza bread base and what a good idea that is!” said the Ed. “I can’t wait to try it – but in the mean time I’ve also sampled these with butter and cheese and they are delicious.”
“I love how crispy these are, it makes them very satisfying,” added another. “They would also make a great alternative to the usual boring crackers we serve with cheese and biscuits at home. They are kind of similar to other rye crackers I’ve tried but also different – I would look out for them in the shops!”
Not your average beer
Founded in 1999 by Alastair Hook and some friends, The Meantime Brewing Company set out to build the largest and most expensive start up brewery seen in the UK for over 80 years. Fast forward to 2016 and the company now brews ten different beers from its state-of-the-art brewery in Greenwich. These include London Lager, London Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, London Porter, Yakima Red, Wheat Beer, Chocolate Porter, Raspberry Wheat Beer, Pilsner and London Stout.
When Meantime was just a seed of an idea back in the early 2000’s it was always its vision to not only make great beer but to educate people about it too, and that is why the brewery is open to the public, so they can come and be a part of the Meantime story! The brewery also offers beer appreciation courses, in order to further educate those who are interested in the art of creating beer.
There is never a shortage of volunteers to try beer samples! The London Lager was hailed as very good, straightforward and clean tasting, and quite hoppy.
The wheat beer was more intense – described as a ‘craft beer with the volume turned way up!’ “I loved the bottle as well – if I was looking to give beer as a gift then this would definitely be included, as it looks as good as it tastes,” said the tester.
My KIND of snack
One of the US’ most beloved snack bar ranges, KIND is set to become the snacking go-to for Brits, as its tasty and nutritious bars can now be found in Whole Foods Markets (£1.49) and Tesco stores (£1.29) nationwide.
A delicious, wholesome snack, KIND bars are made, quite simply, from whole nuts and fruits, bound together in honey. Not only do their unique flavour combinations taste great, they’re also gluten-free, high in fibre, and contain no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives.
The UK’s first bite of KIND comes in two popular ranges: KIND Nuts & Spices (Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, Caramel Almond & Sea Salt and Maple Glazed Pecan & Sea Salt) and KIND Fruit & Nut (Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate, Almond & Coconut, Cranberry Almond & Macadamia Nuts and Dark Chocolate & Cherry Cashew).
“Just looking at these bars you can see they are packed with ingredients, which is always a good start – they really appeal visually, the clear packaging is a really great way of showing you what you’re getting and they look very tempting,” said one tester. “Gosh, these are tasty,” echoed another.
“They’re packed with fruit and nuts and are lovely and chewy in consistency. The little touch of sea salt also made them stand out from the crowd, and made them a bit different. When you’re faced with a huge selection of nut bars it is hard to know which to choose, but these are really pushing all the right buttons.”