The FoodChain team sample a selection of new and innovative foods and drink
With less calories per scoop than an apple, and 60 per cent less sugar and calories than regular ice cream, Oppo is a healthy ice cream made with virgin coconut oil, stevia leaf & fresh milk.
The company’s founders Charlie & Harry Thuillier have worked extremely hard to create a product without loads of sugar and calories but still with the decadent feel of traditional ice cream. Available in Madagascan Vanilla, Mint Choc Swirl, Salted Caramel, and Columbian Chocolate and Hazelnut, Oppo is now available at Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose, Wholefoods, Holland & Barrett & online at Ocado.
Our tester tried the Mint Choc Swirl and she was very impressed. “This had a really creamy depth of flavour that you wouldn’t expect from healthy ice cream. The chocolate to mint ratio was spot on and the finishing mint taste was very refreshing. Unlike the other healthy ice creams I’ve tried this had no artificial sweetener and no unpleasant aftertaste – it felt and tasted high-end from start to finish!”
A taste of something different
Inspired by tradition and based on the Founders’ heritage, Bimber Distillery takes its name from the Polish word for Moonshine. The Distillery prides itself on using only 100 per cent natural ingredients, sourced from within the UK and, like Moonshine all Bimber spirits are ‘homemade’ using traditional distilling methods to create unique flavours.
Unlike most distilleries, Bimber not only distil its spirits onsite, it also bottles and labels all products at its West London site in Park Royal. Crafting innovative tasteful spirits is at the heart of Bimber’s ethos. From unique Oak Aged and Fruit Infused Vodkas to classic London Dry Gin, the range has already received multiple awards from the International Spirits Challenge & the International Wine & Spirits Competition.
Our tester tried Bimber’s Oak Aged Vodka, which combines the toasted influence of ex-Bourbon casks with the spices more commonly used to enhance rum. “This was an extremely sophisticated vodka; a step apart from anything I’ve tried before,” said our tester. “I tried it neat and it was great for sipping and savouring over ice, it made a great aperitif. It also worked brilliantly as a long drink with lime and soda. I wasn’t surprised to learn it had won so many awards, and I would definitely buy it – a very valuable addition to a gourmet’s drinks cabinet!”
Founded in San Francisco in 1868, the Guittard Chocolate Company remains the oldest continuously family-owned and operated chocolate making business in the United States; and its products are now being launched into the UK for the first time.
The Guittard baking range offers blends, fair-trade and organic chocolate in a variety of different forms; from chips that are just waiting to become chocolate chip cookies to cocoa powders ideal for brownies and discs designed to melt into cakes. For those who prefer to take a moment to enjoy their chocolate unadulterated, Guittard offer six blended bars, ranging from 38% milk to 91% dark.
Guittard uses beans from around the world, with sources including South and Central America, West Africa, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific. The company’s uncompromising attitude towards sourcing and dedication to building and nurturing relationships with its growers are hallmarks of Guittard’s ‘quality from the ground up’ approach.
The Team was delighted to be sent a selection of Guittard products – they certainly didn’t disappoint. The range of different flavours and styles available was impressive, and while the baking chocolate may be designed to be incorporated into other delicious concoctions, a handful of extra dark chips certainly made the afternoon go more quickly! “The milk chocolate was smooth and creamy, and the extra dark was rich and not too bitter – I am sure it’s perfect for cookies or cakes but my share didn’t make it home – my cupful was demolished as a snack! I would certainly have to bake these quickly at home – otherwise the chef might be full of chocolate and the cookies would be bare!”
A saucy deal
Salubrious Sauce Co. produces four sauces: The British Breakfast Sauce, Sunday Lunch Horseradish Sauce, Classic BBQ Sauce and Chip Shop Curry Sauce. Having achieved its first national listing with Ocado in September 2017, the sauces are now also being stocked in Azubka Vkusa, Russia’s answer to Waitrose, following the buyer discovering Salubrious Sauce Co. at the International Food & Drink Exhibition. This latest deal adds to the continued success of the brand, which is making a name for itself in producing, high quality, British-inspired sauces.
“This is a fantastic start to our export journey,” explains Jim Fennell, founder of Salubrious Sauce Co. I think the buyer liked the provenance and Britishness of our range of products. Sales are growing every day, we’re picking up new customers both at home and abroad and brand awareness is increasing. We look forward to see what lies ahead in 2018,” adds Jim.
The British Breakfast Sauce really got the double thumbs up from one tester “this is even better than ketchup!” he praised [a big compliment – ketchup-loving ed]. “It is rich and I think has a sophisticated flavour, I use this in sandwiches, and with sausage and mash, it’s not limited to just breakfast.” The other flavours were equally well received, described as ‘moreish’ ‘perfect for dunking chips’ and also ‘versatile – I not only used the BBQ sauce as a basic condiment but also made Hunter’s Chicken with it – a big hit with the family!’
Use your noodle
Mr Lee’s Noodles are the 100 per cent tasty, nought per cent nasty, gluten-free gourmet instant noodles in a cup. Naturally gluten-free and with nutritious freeze-dried ingredients, Mr Lee’s Noodles are one of the market’s lowest in salt, calories, saturated fats and certified low in sugar (the only instant noodle to be SugarWise certified) with no MSGs, additives, colourings or preservatives and two vegan option available to address the needs of this growing niche.
The freeze-drying process locks in most of the nutritional integrity of the ingredients, allowing the noodles to be overflowing with goodness when it comes to meat and veg. This is their signature point of difference when compared to the competition, who rely on inferior dehydrated ingredients. Mr Lee’s took great leaps in replacing common food additives such as sugar and salt with healthy alternatives eg. orange blossom honey and lime peel for that salty aftertaste.
Now launched in Ocado, the range is available in two sizes – 16oz cup is perfect for retail, whilst the 14oz cup is ideal for the trains, planes and on-the-move serving.
“These are clearly a step above the average noodle in a cup offerings, with an impressive quality pedigree, and an inspirational story behind them too,” said our tester. “Every flavour was distinctive with its own character, with good but not overpowering spice and clever use of flavours. I wouldn’t hesitate to have these for lunch, safe in the knowledge I was having a healthy hot meal without any nasty additives. Top marks Mr Lee’s!”
A natural health boost
Kermeric is the latest in Turmeric based food supplements; an exciting blend of creamy Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Turmeric and Black Pepper extracts, it contains no artificial colourings, preservatives or flavourings and is suitable for vegans and those following a gluten free diet.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric while Piperine is that found in Black Pepper. The body better absorbs Curcumin when there is fat and Piperine present and so the combination of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and Black Pepper extracts maximises the absorption benefits from the Turmeric.
Turmeric – and the compound Curcumin – have attracted masses of media and consumer attention in recent years, and much has been claimed about its medicinal properties. The recommended daily intake of Kermeric is 10ml (or two spoonfuls) providing a balanced dosage of Curcumin – after all, you can have too much of a good thing.
“I am already a big fan of Curcumin and found Kermeric to be a convenient alternative to taking capsules every day. I cooked with it as a straight cooking oil, which added a great flavour to meats and vegetables; I also spread it on rye toast instead of butter for a quick, nutritious snack. I will be continuing to try all the Kermeric serving suggestions as I am a wholehearted believer in the health benefits of Curcumin!”