As a blogger, I’m very lucky to be sent products to sample, and as a family who enjoy trying out new things – especially food and drink, we graciously accept them. I thought it would be an easier read for you all, to have a round-up post each month, and so here is the June edition of “Food & Drink We Sampled This Month”
Food reviewing is always so subjective as it depends on personal tastes, and if there are products that I really didn’t enjoy the taste of this month, it doesn’t mean that they are bad, it means they’re just not for me!
If you are a long time reader of my blog, you will know that I love food & drink subscriptions that come in the mail, and I recently discovered Carnivore Club which celebrates British charcuterie. As we are a family of meat lovers, this is right up our foodie street!
Each month, members receive a box filled with 4-6 handcrafted charcuteries from Britain’s best artisans. Each month’s box is themed around one featured producer who is among the nation’s charcuterie elite. Carnivore Club selects artisans that purchase ethically treated animals, employ humane slaughtering practices and use locally sourced ingredients. The provenance and sustainability of the charcuterie is just as important as the artisan’s passion for making exceptional products.
Everything about the box and its contents shouted quality to me – the box, is gorgeous! (I know I’ve harped on about style and design in this month’s food and drink round-up, but, it’s what has really stood out for me in June’s products.)
The meats inside the box are cured, which means, once packaged, they have a shelf life of 40-60 days while stored at room temperature. Carnivore Club recommend storing your meat in the fridge once it arrives though… although, if you’re like me, and put the sealed package to one side for a few days, thinking it was something else and not reading the label properly before opening and then panicking… don’t panic! Just let it be a lesson – open packages as they arrive!!
Inside the box are the month’s selection of charcuterie – June’s box had 6 products, along with a card telling you about the month’s supplier, as well as a description of the meats, and suggestions of how to use them.
This month, the box was from Deli Farm Charcuterie in Cornwall, which started from humble beginnings in 2005, making a batch of salami in a smoker made from an old refridgerator! They are the only UK producer dedicated to air-dried, Cornish charcuterie, and the majority of the pork that Deli Farm use, comes from a neighbouring farm that grows its own pig food, ensuring quality from start to finish. They also use 100% renewable energy from solar panels and the family’s wind turbines.
I really loved reading about the supplier, as it adds interest to the membership, and it’s good to know where our food comes from. You can read about each of the products in June’s box on Carnivore Club’s website, where the information about past boxes is listed (which is handy if you end up losing the info card!). You are told about each product, how it’s made, what is in it etc. I scribbled down some notes as we sampled the different meats…
- Sliced Coppa – peppery and full of flavour.
- Devil’s Poker – like a very posh Pepperami (I know, probably sacrilegious to say that!) Had a nice chilli kick right at the end.
- Spicy Chorizo – not tough and chewy, like some supermarket chorizo. A subtle hint of paprika, allowing the flavour of the meat to really come through.
- Garlic Salami – good garlic flavour, meaty and soft.
- Pancetta – can be eaten as is, but the flavour really comes out when cooked, as I did with some scrambled eggs one morning for breakfast!
- Coppa Chips – unusual and crunchy – went well crumbled over a salad.
All in all, we loved the Carnivore Club box, and really enjoyed sampling something very different. It’s the sort of subscription that would be lovely gift for a foodie friend or family memember!
The membership fee is £29 per month (minimum 3 months membership), and given that these are top quality artisan products, I think is a fair price. A one off box costs £32, if you just want to try it the once to see if you like the service.
Carnivore Club have kindly provided a 20% discount code for readers of The Purple Pumpkin Blog, so if you would like to try this box out, then simply add Purple20 when prompted to received your Carnivore Club discount!
We’ve tried Cawston Press before (Rhubarb & Apple flavour) and was looking forward to trying out the two new flavours from soft drink makers – which are for grown-ups :D The two flavours are Elderflower Lemonade and Ginger Beer. Cawston make their drinks using fresh ingredients, always pressed, (not concentrated juice) and are free from artificial flavours, colours and preservatives. The fruit used in these drinks has been picked at the peak of ripeness and pressed within 48 hours. They are available in six packs (RRP £4.99) and individually (RRP 99p) and a great for the non-alcohol drinkers at a party or gathering.
I really love the design of these cans of drink – they’re so different from other soft drinks out there, and they really stand out to me! I like that the drinks come in cans, simply crack one open, pop in a straw, and enjoy the delicious fizz! My personal favourite was the Elderflower Lemonade, I love the floral fragrance and taste of elderflowers, and it is such a quintessentially British ingredient too. I also love lemons, so the mix of these two ingredients, for me, was perfect. Very light and refreshing. My husband loves ginger and the Cawston Press Ginger Beer was a perfect drink for him – it had a nice warmth and spicy kick to it.
These drinks make great mixers too, if you want to pour one in with your favourite tipple, or maybe try one of these cocktails that Cawston Press sent to me:
Treacle Tart: In a long glass, stir one teaspoon of black treacle into a shot (30ml) of gin or vodka, a shot of ginger wine and the juice of half a lemon. Fill the glass with ice then top with Cawston Press Sparkling Ginger Beer. Stir and garnish with lemon wedges and a dusting of ground ginger.
Sloe Motion: In a champagne flute, pour 20ml of sloe gin and top with Cawston Press Sparkling Elderflower Lemonade. Garnish with a lemon zest twist.
As I’m not too much of an alcohol drinker (the odd glass here and there), I love trying out grown up soft drinks, and the selection of fizzy summer drinks from Luscombe Drinks fitted that bill. With 5 different flavours –
- Strawberry Crush – made of organic strawberries with Muscat grape juice, Sicilian lemon juice and a few bubbles to lift the aromas.
- Damascene Rose Bubbly – a champagne alternative, a celebration of the Majestic rose of the Orient. Crafted with Muscat grape juice, Damascene rose water and Sicilian lemon, combined with sparkling spring water
- Raspberry Crush – raspberry juice, Sicilian lemon juice and Damascene Rose Water are combined with Madagascan Vanilla
- Wild Elderflower Bubbly – the elderflowers are picked in full sun in May and June and combined with spring water, organic raw cane sugar and a twist of Sicilian lemon juice
- Passionate Ginger Beer – fresh root ginger and Sicilian lemon juice are combined to make Luscombe’s award-winning beer alternative
Luscombe Drinks is an artisan producer of soft drinks from south Devon, and the range is handmade in small batches. This means that each batch will have variations in sediments or colour depending on the conditions their growers encountered during the season, giving evidence of their authenticity and proof that Luscombe uses as few juicing processes as possible. You can only buy these drinks in independent shops, and they sell from £1.79 for a 32cl bottle.
I loved the colours of these bottles of drink, and the very elegant design of the labels. These would be perfect for an afternoon tea party in the garden with friends! Aside from the ginger beer, they all have screw tops, so they’re great for taking on a picnic (although, just bring along a bottle opener for that one!) too.
I loved that they were not overly sweet, and it was almost like drinking a glass of wine – but without the alcohol – so, great for non-drinkers. Surprisingly, my favourite was the Passionate Ginger Beer, which wasn’t overpoweringly ginger-y, and you could see flecks of fresh ginger floating in it. I was supposed to share with my husband, but after he had one sip, it was all mine!! We didn’t try them all in one sitting, as I’m actually saving them to serve at the weekend when we have a barbecue!
So that’s the food and drink we sampled this month! Have you tried any of these products? What did you think?
Disclosure: I was sent these products to review. All thoughts are my own honest opinions.