The FoodChain team sample a selection of new and innovative foods and drinks
Super powered powders
Australian brand Bioglan Superfoods has created a range of great tasting, easy-to-use powders, which can be added to smoothies, cereal, recipes, or even with nut milk or plain water, and which are a simple way to instantly up your nutrition.
Flavours include Superberries, which contains an array of colourful berries including Goji, Acai and Pomegranate, with added Vitamin C&K (great for skin, hair and nails) and Folic Acid with Magnesium (great for women) and Supergreens, made up of amazing superfoods such as Spirulina (which has more protein than 5x steaks – so great for vegans) and Chlorella, an algae that draws toxins from the body and lowers cholesterol and blood sugars, with added vitamins B12, C and E for energy.
“I tried the Superberries powder, and I found it a versatile, quick and easy way to include more superfoods in my diet! I added to yogurt and smoothies, and it was lovely and fruity, not powdery and had a natural flavour. I intend to buy the Supergreens next – I definitely feel this is an easy way to improve my diet,” said our tester.
Deerness Distillery is Orkney’s first new distillery for over 130 years, and it is here that company founders Stuart and Adelle Brown produce the multi-award winning ‘Sea Glass Gin’, new ‘Scuttled Gin’ and the UK most Northerly distilled vodka, ‘Into the Wild’. Plans are afoot to extend the range of their award-winning spirits with a small batch rum and small batch whisky. If you’re looking for an exclusive premium gin or vodka, Deerness Distillery spirits are a must try.
“I tried the Sea Glass Gin and it was honestly the nicest gin I’ve ever had!” said our tester. “It had a strong, warm taste without being overpowering, and a superb citrus freshness to it – perfect with bitter lemon or tonic with lime. It was smooth enough to drink it on its own and in fact, I wouldn’t waste it in a cocktail, as the quality was just so high.”
ONE to look out for
Top Beverages, the leading luxury CBD craft distiller creating original small batch spirits, has launched its first CBD Craft Gin – Navy Strength and CBD Craft Spiced Rum – Navy Strength under its brand ONE. Both spirits are carefully crafted and include 10 mg of premium full spectrum CBD.
Top Beverages distils all of its spirits on the scenic coast of Scotland, and each distillation creates no more than 500 bottles to ensure that each drop meets its rigorous and exacting standards. They are bottled and labelled by hand in 100ml Italian glass.
The packaging of these products is certainly beautiful and distinctive, and immediately illustrates the quality of the products inside – they are clearly aimed at the luxury end of the market. “The ‘Navy Strength’ translates into a strong high ABV, and coupled with the relaxing nature of CBD, means that the One beverages are quick to make you chill out!” said our tester. “These are a sophisticated take on gin and rum – best sipped and savoured, with the gin zingy with citrus and the rum with a deep warm spice. Very interesting.”
Passionate about cooking with his family, founder of Jeyel’s sauces Jeby Samuel noticed that not only were there very few authentic curry sauces in shops from South India, but that many shop bought packets also contained additives, sugar and preservatives.
Inspired by generations of family recipes and after being encouraged by friends and family, Jeby started the Jeyel’s curry sauce range to fill this gap in the market. The father-of-four has launched a range of five tailored sauces full of fresh, 100 per cent natural ingredients, which are vegan friendly and dairy free and free from added sugar or starch.
Each packet, which is simply added to specific meat or vegetables, is carefully crafted to bring out the flavour of the ingredients.
The team absolutely loved the Jeyel’s sauces! We tried all varieties from mild to hot, and every different tester came back with glowing praise. They were extremely easy to use, with each tester reporting how simple it was to make, but that the flavours themselves were complex and interesting. “I wouldn’t hesitate to buy this – my children loved it and I felt that the natural ingredients really gave a great flavour. I could tell this was authentic and that the creator behind it knew what he was doing. It had a really home-made feel even though someone else had done the hard work – win-win!”
Pretty in pink
Puerto de Indias, the distiller of Puerto de Indias premium gins, has officially launched its Strawberry Gin in the UK. With a crowd of loyal customers in native Spain, Puerto de Indias’ suggested serve for the Strawberry Gin is with a fresh strawberry to garnish, combined with tonic water in a goblet glass. It is the fourth highest-selling gin in Spain and ranks 9th on a list of top ten gins worldwide.
Made with fresh distilled strawberries grown locally in Seville, the product is made with 100 per cent natural ingredients. Margaux Maupate, Brand Manager at Puerto de Indias, says: “We are passionate about our gin and our numbers show that there is a huge market for strawberry gin variants. We have a rich heritage and marry traditional customs of distillation with modern techniques to craft our drinks, and this passion for what we do really shows in the finished product.”
“You can smell the delicious sweet strawberries as soon as you pour this gin, and it also has an interesting aniseed tang, too. It’s so pretty in the bottle and the glass that I think that it would make an excellent present, especially as the gin inside the bottle is of such high quality too. With so many new gins around to try, this one stood out for me on the really fruity strawberry aroma – it was really different, and I liked it a lot.”
Beer of kings
Following the success of multi-award-winning King Cobra, the world’s first Pilsner style lager double fermented with an ale yeast, Cobra Beer has launched Mini King Cobra – the same beer only packaged in a smaller 375ml offering.
Mini King Cobra’s first venture into the on-trade is a partnership with Kama by Vineet, located within the newly renovated Harrods Dining Hall. The restaurant, headed up by Vineet Bhatia, the first Indian chef-proprietor to receive a Michelin star, is the first Indian restaurant to feature in Harrods’ 170-year history. Mini King Cobra has been chosen by Vineet as the perfect premium pairing to the Lobster Chettinad Biryani.
Brewed in Belgium’s historic Rodenbach Brewery, Mini King Cobra is created using the finest barley, malt, hops from Bavaria’s Hallatau region, and crucially, rice, before undergoing the primary fermentation process. The liquid is subsequently refermented in the bottle – precisely the same method to that of champagne – to produce a premium, warming and powerful depth of malt flavour coupled with an extra smooth yet frothy mouthfeel.
With the strapline ‘brewed smooth for all food’ the team was confident that the King Cobra was going to be a superlative beer – and they weren’t disappointed. “It is very well balanced, and has a good malty tone, with a citrus fruitiness. I love the champagne-like fizz to it as well, and the packaging is excellent. It is quite a complicated beer, which I liked to savour. I just need to get to Harrods as that Lobster Chettinad Biryani sounds amazing!”
London-based healthy snacks company Abakus Foods has introduced the world’s first Chocolate Coated Red Dates. Made of the superfruit Red Dates (aka jujube fruits), coated with premium dark chocolate, this delicious snack offers balance in both taste and nutrition: dark chocolate is known for its natural anti-oxidant properties and for being a source of iron, while Red Dates contain 18 out of 24 essential amino acids, which help tissue repair and recovery. Also, they are known for their adaptogenic properties, which can help the body adapt to stress, both mentally and physically.
“I found these were such a lovely little treat to have at my desk,” said our tester. “The dates have a natural caramel flavour and a chewy texture, while the chocolate coating had a good crunch. The fact they are packed with nutrients was a nice bonus – it felt like I was indulging, but in fact, was improving my wellbeing. This kind of smart product is always something I look out for, as I would much prefer to reach for these than traditional sweets.”
Good for you and the planet
To support the launch of its brand-new Orange and Mango flavour, Vieve, a UK-based start-up sport nutrition company, has partnered with The Mango Tree Orphan Support Trust and global business giving initiative, B1G1, and is hoping to assist in replacing devastated forest areas in Kenya that face continued environmental degradation where trees have been cut down and destroyed for profit. It has announced its plan to plant one tree for every pack sold of its revolutionary protein water, hoping to plant 10,000 trees in areas of Kenya affected by man-made devastation. The new Orange and Mango flavour is added to the existing stable of fruity options, and bottled in the same 100 per cent recyclable material.
“I found this an interesting change to the usual powdered options and a very easy way to get 20g of protein. It had a good orange and mango flavour, and there wasn’t any taste of ‘protein’ to the drink. It was also a bonus to be dairy free.”
OMG it’s OMG
Award winning health and wellbeing drink phenomenon, Captain Kombucha, has launched a new vegan-friendly sparkling fruit drink range – the first of its kind to be listed in one of the top four UK grocers. Handcrafted in western Portugal, the ‘Oh My Gutness’ range is naturally fermented with water kefir grains and includes Original, Atlantic Raspberry, Cola and Ginger Lemon flavours. It is also organic, vegan and gluten free, with no preservatives, artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners.
The new water kefir range, which received the NOPE Best New Organic Product award, adds to the brand’s existing line of kombucha drinks already in the market.
Widely considered to have substantial health benefits, water kefir is said to promote better gut health and strengthen the immune system.
“I was really interested in the water kefir, as I love traditional kefir and all its benefits but don’t always want a thick yogurty drink – a refreshing alternative is a great idea. I tried the Raspberry option and really enjoyed it – very easy to drink, thirst quenching, a good raspberry flavour, nice fizz and not too sour. It was like a nice fruity soda with health benefits!”
The mayo alternative
Vegan mayonnaise pioneer Plamil has now launched its vegan mayonnaise in three varieties – Original, Tarragon and Garlic – and an organic version. With a light creamy, smooth texture, the range can be used in exactly the same way as normal mayo – on salads, sandwiches or as a dip. Priding itself on taste and quality, the range is dairy free, cholesterol free, gluten free, high in essential polyunsaturates, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. The organic range uses the finest organic ingredients, grown by organic crop management techniques which benefit the local population and environment.
“I used this as I would normal mayo, and I was very impressed with it. I had the garlic option, which had a good hit of garlic without being overpowering and was pretty versatile with salads and in sandwiches, or as a dip – I tried it with breaded mushrooms, and it was delicious! The texture and look were very much true to traditional mayo as well. I would try some of Plamil’s other products based on the quality of the vegan mayo, and I like the innovation that is underway to create foods like this, that help anyone be a bit healthier.”
In the bag
New for 2019, iconic British manufacturer, Dualit has released Compostable Coffee Bags. The bags provide all the great taste of indulgent cafetiere or capsule machine coffee with none of the mess or unnecessary plastic usage caused by capsules. They are perfect for those who don’t want to compromise on taste but are short on time – less stress and more time spent enjoying the moment. The new Compostable Coffee Bags use great tasting Fairtrade coffee crafted by Kristina, Dualit’s Master Roaster, which is roasted in small batches at the company’s factory in the heart of West Sussex. Simple to use, all that is required is a mug and a kettle making the Compostable Coffee Bags highly accessible – users can make delicious tasting coffee at home, in the office or before heading out the door with a handy travel mug.
“There is just something about the smell of properly brewed, fresh coffee before I’ve even tasted it, that makes me happy,” said our tester. “But I can’t be dealing with the mess of a cafetiere at work, or the hassle of a coffee machine – and now I don’t have to! I poured my hot water on this genius little bag, and the aroma was instant and delicious. The coffee was of great quality, making it was amazingly easy, and now I have proper coffee with no faffing about. I had expected Dualit to put their name to something excellent and I wasn’t disappointed. Great work Dualit!”
Wine on the go
May saw the launch of Mirabeau en Provence rosé on-the-go slimline cans in Waitrose shops nationwide. Co-founder of Mirabeau and nominee for the prestigious Wine Enthusiast ‘Wine Executive of the Year’ award, Stephen Cronk believes that quality wine in cans is a trend that will continue: “It has become the packaging format with the highest growth in the US for good reason and is driven by solid consumer demand and environmental considerations,” he said. “We wanted to be at the forefront of this exciting development, as we understand that today’s lifestyle demands products that are portable, beautiful and solid in terms of quality and provenance. We aimed for a fashion forward and fresh look, perfect for picnic baskets, beach bags, festivals and parties everywhere. Needless to say, the wine is delicious, a dry and pretty rosé of impeccable quality.”
The Mirabeau Pret-a-Porter is blended for aromas of lush red fruit but with good freshness. “I took the can on the train to make a journey a bit more of a celebration, and I loved the convenience, and also the packaging was very attractive. The wine was nice and dry, and a lovely pink hue. It had a good fruitiness too. It paired ideally with my little train ‘picnic’ of salads but I also feel was sophisticated enough to have with a more extensive meal. I think it will become a staple for glampers and adventurous types who like a treat!”