As a blogger, I am often sent products to sample and review, 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 November edition of Food & Drink We Sampled This Month. There was a break for October as we were on holiday, but you can read previous editions here.
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!
We reviewed a box from Carnivore Club back in June, a monthly foodie subscription box which celebrates British charcuterie. 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.
This month, the products came from The Bath Pig, founded by Mash Chiles and Tim French, the company has moved from Bath to Yorkshire and sources the traditional Yorkshire breed, Large Whites. All the pork is free-range and Freedom Foods approved. The Bath Pig are the only Red Tractor approved manufacturer of cured meats in the UK, an award which carefully monitors the supply chain from farms to fork.
When I was asked to try out another box, my concern was that it would arrive while we were on holiday. However, all the meats that Carnivore Club send, are cured, which means, once packaged, they have a shelf life of 40-60 days while stored at room temperature to allow safe shipping. It is advised to store the meats in the fridge after opening, and allowing to come to room temperature for maximum flavour.
My box contained a selection of salami and chorizo – but the contents didn’t quite match what the card said (2 were different), which was a shame. The box felt a little too same-y, compared with the previous box we tried. That said, we all enjoyed the chorizo and salami in the box, my personal favourite was the West Country Salami.
- Spicy Chorizo – Traditionally dry cured for a firm, meaty texture and blended with smoked spicy paprika.
- Extra Dry Chorizo – Carefully prepared to a traditional method with selected cuts of pork and blended with the finest spices, slowly dry cured for maturity.
- Wheat, Gluten & Dairy Free Spicy Chorizo – Cured pork sausage blended with smoked paprika and spices.
- West Country Salami – A true Old English classic salami, made with sage, parsley and cracked black pepper.
- Italian Style British Made Salami – Made with higher welfare British pork and blended with the finest herbs.
- Spicy Salami – Made with a special blend of cayenne pepper for extra heat and flavour.
The membership fee is £29 per month (Minimum 3 months membership. Choose a frequency that works for you: monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.) Given that these are top quality artisan products, I think is a fair price, as charcuterie meats are a high price product. 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!
Another product we’ve sampled before, back in September. This time, a different flavoured popcorn, and just in time for the Christmas party season – Cinnamon Swirl.
Inspired by managing director of Portlebay Popcorn, Jonty White’s passion for sailing on the Salcombe estuary combined with a love for healthier snacks made with the best ingredients, he founded Portlebay Popcorn in 2013. Ever since then, each bespoke bag of this gourmet popcorn has been hand-popped and manufactured at The Poppery in Devon in small batches to ensure freshness and crunchiness. With its distinctive colourful nautical stripes brightening up the bar, the Portlebay team believes that popcorn is one of those simple things that brings a little sunshine into your life.
Small packs are made for snacking alongside a drink in your local and larger packs are perfect for sharing (retail from £1.70 per 75g bag). You can find them for sale in supermarkets and independent retailers.
Cinnamon is one of my favourite spices. There is something so comforting and warming about it, and it paired perfectly a hint of apple in this popcorn! It was sweet, crunchy, and moreish and I’ll definitely be putting a few bags of this on my Christmas party shopping list.
The Christmas party season is nearly upon us, and I was sent the ingredients to make Aperol Spritz; a traditional, and very popular Italian aperitif. What’s an aperitif? It’s an alcoholic beverage usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. But given its pretty colour, I would also serve this as a cocktail at a Christmas party, alongside some delicious canapés.
I have never heard of Aperol before, so was intrigued to try it. It is bright orange in colour, and it has a unique taste. I thought it was grapefruit, but the Aperol says it is thanks to the secret recipe, which has never been changed, with infusions of selected ingredients including bitter and sweet oranges and many other herbs (including rhubarb) and roots in perfect proportions.
The Aperol Spritz is made using Prosecco, Aperol, and soda water, and the quantities are easy to remember, just countdown… 3, 2, 1. I like it when things are easy! No matter how many you are making the drink for, just use the same size measure throughout and you can’t go wrong.
- 3 parts Prosecco
- 2 parts Aperol
- 1 part soda water
- Oranges slices
- Pour the Prosecco, Aperol and soda water into a glass over ice.
- Add a slice of orange, or garnish on the side of the glass.
- Enjoy responsibly!
I loved the smell of the Aperol as soon as I opened the bottle, but the taste was a little too bitter for my palette, but I did manage to finish the glass off, so not too bitter! I think I would experiment by adding lemonade to give a bit of sweetness. If you’re looking for something a bit different this Christmas, this is one to try!
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.