The FoodChain team sample a selection of new and innovative foods and drink
Using handmade tonics, sodas and seltzers that are combined with craft spirits, The Longflint Drinks Co., is pioneering a new style of ‘long drink,’ in the UK. Founded in east London, co-founder James Law explains that their approach is actually simple: “We hand make a range of tonics, seltzers and sodas before matching them with gin, rum, vodka or mezcal from our favourite craft spirits producers.”
Flavours in the range include A Winter Spiced Pear, Vodka Tonic, Ginger & Rum Fuego, Hibiscus Gin Tonic, Grapefruit, Sour Cherry & Mezcal Paloma, Negroni Sbagliato, Rhubarb & Vodka Seltzer and Rose Hip & Gin Fizz.
Our team tried a few flavours of Longflint, with the Hibiscus Gin Tonic a firm favourite: “Enjoyed on a hot day, this was an ideal thirst quencher when poured over lots of ice. The hibiscus made it very sweet and it had hints of botanical notes, which is a winner for me with gin. I found the flavour reminiscent of angostura bitters which I love!”
Vegbred, a first of its kind bread made with fresh sweet potato, has launched in the UK, offering a long-anticipated lower carb and high protein alternative kitchen staple for everyone. Made with 100 per cent natural ingredients, this new-to-market bread uses only plant-based flours, making it naturally gluten free, veg-packed and nutritious.
Currently available nationwide through the Vegbred.com subscription service; the team at Vegbred plan to ensure that every region of the UK will get access to their seeded sweet potato bread through retail stores within the next 18 months.
The versatile loaf is also perfect for those who are environmentally conscious, as not only do the strictly plant-based ingredients make Vegbred completely free from animal products, but the surplus peel from the ethically sourced sweet potato also helps fuel its production, running on green energy produced from the leftovers.
Vegbred recommend toasting the product and our tester agreed this was the best approach: “I really enjoyed this! I found it at its best topped with some mushrooms sautéed in garlic and butter with a sprinkle of rocket, and I also had it with some smashed avocado and scrambled egg. The fact it was gluten free was amazing too as it was very easily digestible. Definitely a fan!”
Let us eat cake!
Known for producing and supplying cupcakes to the major multiple retailers and discounters in the UK, The Cake Crew is extending its offering to reach even more consumers than ever before. The Cake Crew’s Beautifully Crafted Twin Pack Chocolate, Salted Caramel and Red Velvet varieties; Mini Fruit Platter and Mini Chocolate Platter is now available at Ocado, reaching customers nationwide. The Cake Crew has also launched a Luxury platter into Costco stores nationwide marking its second national listing. The hand-finished cupcakes consist of 12 mini cupcakes in three indulgent flavour combinations; Raspberry Champagne Truffle, Chocolate Truffle and Sea Salted Caramel.
“The quality of these cupcakes really stood out – the light sponge had just the right amount of filling in the centre, in either jam, caramel or chocolate sauce. The smooth frosting was generous, and I was impressed with the final touches too! I liked that while they were indulgent, they were also made with natural ingredients and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. I particularly liked the strawberry variant; it was the perfect size, it had moist sponge, a delightful amount of jam in the middle, and smooth and sweet icing on top – it really made my taste buds tingle!”
Born from their London food truck back in 2014, Co-founders Dan and Hayley Shearman saw a gap in the market for a hot sauce that complimented both sweet and savoury dishes. They combined raw urban honey sourced from local, independent London beekeepers with British grown chillies for a sweet, spicy kick.
Co-founder and chef Dan Shearman says: “As demand grew for our chilli honey with our food truck regulars, it was high time we bottled it for the masses, so we parked the wheels for a while to set up The WilderKitchen, focusing on natural condiments handmade in London. Our ethos is to use pure, unprocessed ingredients with only natural 21additives. Our honey is straight from the hive and infused in such a way that it retains its raw properties making for a floral, spicy honey that is fantastic on so many dishes.”
“I found this product really interesting – like an upmarket sweet chilli sauce, and yet different!” said our tester. “Much more sophisticated than supermarket sweet chilli sauce, the honey adds a lovely sweetness before the chilli kicks in and it does pack a punch. I drizzled it on a variety of different options, and it enhanced them all, from a humble chicken burger, to dipping spring rolls. I even put it on ice cream for a real taste bud sensation!”
The skilled team at Buttermilk has created five indulgent ‘slice and serve’ fudge flavours inspired by desserts: Salted Caramel, Lemon Pudding, Fudge Brownie, Pecan Pie and Strawberries & Cream.
A family-run business, born and bred in Cornwall, a love for everything sweet has been inspiring Buttermilk’s artisan confectionery for over half a century. Their story began in 1964 with the opening of their first shop in Padstow, and although demand for their fudge has grown and grown, their award-winning treats are still lovingly handmade by craft confectioners. Staying true to their heritage, Buttermilk still uses traditional copper pans over open flames, carefully blending ingredients to create indulgent, award-winning treats.
This new range really highlights Buttermilk’s skill at creating perfectly balanced flavour combinations. “I wasn’t sure how Lemon Pudding fudge was going to work but the subtle sharpness of the lemon and the sugary hit of the fudge was a marriage made in heaven,” said our tester. “The Strawberries & Cream again had that hint of fruit that didn’t overpower the fudgy heaven but instead enhanced it.”
“Fudge brownie – what’s not to like!” added our second reviewer. “This had a layer of excellent quality chocolate on top, and conveyed the brownie flavour really well. I also loved the Pecan Pie as the pecans on top added another texture and I could taste the essence of pecan pie all the way through. The Salted Caramel variety had that contrasting flavour profile we’ve all come to love – it’s impossible to pick a favourite from this fantastic line-up!”
Fox’s Glacier, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2018, has introduced its first new mint product since Eric Fox introduced the iconic Glacier Mint in 1918. Made with natural mint oils, the Fox’s Glacier Spearmints (200g) offer a milder, sweeter flavour profile than the classic Fox’s Glacier Mint, but still provide the same great quality and freshness you’d expect. In addition, the packaging will carry the special 100th anniversary banner, highlighting the brand’s heritage.
Andrew Ovens, marketing manager at Big Bear Confectionery said: “We’ve been working hard on our NPD and are excited to be launching our first new mint since Eric Fox was at the helm. 2018 is set to be a big year for iconic brand Fox’s Glacier.”
The Glacier mints sent a wave of delicious nostalgia through the Taste Test team and they were excited to try the new spearmint variety. “I love traditional Glacier mints and I love spearmint so these seem total perfection to me!” said one tester. “I find these are great for the car as individually wrapped so no mess or stickiness, and I loved having a stash on my desk for a quick minty pick me up during the day. The spearmint flavour is fresh and clean, and just strong enough without being overpowering. I will definitely buy these again.”
Brabantia’s stylish 1.3 litre plastic storage jars help to combat food waste, as they not only keep food fresh for longer but their integral measuring cup helps ensure portion size. What’s more – for every storage jar sold, a donation is made to The Hunger Project. This global, non-profit organisation is committed to end world hunger by 2030 through training and investing in people in rural villages in Africa, South Asia and Latin America. Each new storage jar supports the training of one person.
Available in Clear, Mint, Clay Pink and Dark Grey, the simple lines of the jars’ carafe design make them easy to hold and they pour smoothly. The measuring cup, which includes portion per person details, then doubles as a tight-closing lid.
“I absolutely love this Brabantia jar, and find it perfect for rice, cous cous and pasta – anything that’s likely to spill when opened and needs measuring out really! The measuring cup lid is a genius idea and I love how detailed the descriptions are. The lid fits tightly keeping everything fresh but is still easy to remove. And the ten-year guarantee highlights the quality. A really good, solid addition to my kitchen.”
Get your oats
Naturally sweet, vegan, dairy and gluten free, the Great British Porridge Co’s range of delicious, 100 per cent natural instant porridges are high in protein and fibre and full of natural goodness. Containing no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and crammed with the best, ethically-sourced fruit, nuts and seeds, as well as British wholegrain oats, these naturally-delicious porridges come in three nutritious flavours: Goji Berry & Pumpkin Seed, Blueberry & Banana and Strawberry & Peanut Butter.
Made in small batches near the sea in Sussex, The Great British Porridge Co. is aiming to revitalise the porridge category, offering something that’s naturally sweet and full of wholesome, real ingredients; perfect for today’s health-conscious but time-poor consumers.
The ease of making the instant porridges was an immediate hit with the test team – ready in 60 seconds! The resident porridge fan was very excited to try the Blueberry Banana variety. “I used soya milk, and within seconds the porridge had a nice, smooth, consistency, while every mouthful had a few sunflower seeds in, which gave a nice bite. I immediately got the taste of coconut and the blueberries in the colouring, the banana wasn’t really identifiable. Nevertheless, I couldn’t put my pot down until finished!”
The Strawberry and Peanut butter variety was also very well received, being described as ‘rich and delicious’, and again the simplicity of making the product was praised.
Linwoods, the UK’s leading producers of healthy super foods, has launched a brand-new range of organic nuts. Active Nuts are packed with Vitamin E and BioCultures, high in fibre and a natural source of protein, making them the perfect guilt-free snack. Organic and gluten-free, Active Nuts have no added salt or sugar and are high in Omega 3 and vitamins, making them a kitchen cupboard essential to keep cravings at bay, whilst maintaining healthy bones for an active lifestyle.
What makes these nuts different is the specialised process that they are put through, which enhances their flavour and nutrients. The nuts are first soaked to reduce the natural bitterness of the nut, before being slow dried to preserve the nutrients, whilst giving a light texture and feel.
Available in three flavours, the Organic Almonds and Organic Walnuts come in 70g packs and the Organic Walnuts with Apple, Cinnamon & Bio-Cultures come in a 50g pack.
“I found that the soaking and drying process seemed to very slightly soften the usual texture of walnuts, making them melt in the mouth and removing any hints of bitterness. The apple and cinnamon flavouring was subtle and combined with the walnuts was very enjoyable. The almonds did also have a subtly different consistency to a ‘standard’ almond, making them very easy to snack on. I do like to include nuts in my diet and these stand out from the rest of the crowd.”