Gourmet Food

Fruits Of The Forage

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At The Amazing Blog, we love writing about brands that have adopted sustainable practices, especially food brands that have joined the fight against our current consumer-driven society. Fruits of the Forage, is one that has made it their mission to capture the ‘sustainable taste of the British landscape’ with their range of chutneys, jams, cordials, wines and beers which are made using less than conventional ingredients. Recently, they kindly sent us five of their amazing chutneys and chilli jams to try – and trust us, we were not disappointed!

Based in founder Freddie Throrneycroft’s hometown of Cheshire, Fruits of the Forage uses neglected fruits from abandoned British orchards and other wild British native plants in all their products. Chutneys, are widely used in South Asian cuisine, are made up mainly with a mix of vegetables, fruits and spices. Their tastes, spice-levels and textures can range as well depending on the concoctions of ingredients used. What we like about Fruit of the Forage’s products is that they have elevated jams and chutneys contain less-known ingredients such as Cheshire Damsons, heritage plums and even Hogweed seeds.

After trying their Hogweed Curry Chutney, Hot Crabby Chilli Jam, Perfect Pair Chutney, Damsloe Chutney and Hot Rhuby Chilli Jam, we can see why Fruits of the Forage has won not one BUT 10 Great Taste Awards in the last three years! Each of the jams and chutneys have a delicious and very individual taste which will suit all sorts of different taste palates. The Hot Rhuby, is made out of rhubarb, garlic and ghost peppers, is a good mixture of warm and spicy and, like Fruits of the Forage and is indeed very moreish. If you’re craving a more fresh and fruity spread, the Hot Crabby Chilli Jam, made with crab apples, adds a sweetness to cured meats, lamb or game. Or perhaps you want to add a savoury kick to your cheeses and meat? Fruits of the Forage’s trio of chutneys (Hogweed Curry, Perfect Pair and Damsloe) are a great mix of fruits, vegetables and pickling spices and add a great piquante to any food. For our vegan readers, don’t worry, all of their products are entirely animal-product free. We particularly liked spreading some of the Hogweed Curry Chutney on our veggies to give them that perfect little kick – Yum!

If you want to try Fruits of the Forage’s chutneys and jams for yourself, purchase a jar on their website here for £4.

Christmas Food

We love the festive period at The Amazing Blog - the time for twinkling lights, mulled wine and time spent with loved ones. As if that’s not enough, Christmas is also the time for gourmet food choices, from the classic roast, to the after dinner cheese board. Tis’ the season for overindulging and treating ourselves, and with the New Year diet looming, it seems only right to make the most of the festive treats on offer. There are also few things we love more than to receive a selection of foodie treats on Christmas morning, so we thought, why not compile some of our favourites, so you too can give the gift of food!

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Firstly, we came across Cottage Delight, a brand based in the Staffordshire moorlands, bringing hand-crafted and innovative flavours to the condiments market. Established in 1974, the vast amount of experience helps the brand to lead the way in providing delicious additions to our meal (which more often that not, are even more delicious than the foods they are paired with). We were therefore excited to try their Gin & Fizz Set, compromising of two jams, a curd and marmalade - perfect to spice up any scone, crumpet or piece of toast.

Firstly, we tried the Raspberry & Prosecco Jam - a delectable treat to jazz up any morning. Made with 43g of fruit per 100g, this jam is characteristically tangy, but with a depth of flavour thanks to the addition of prosecco. Similarly the Lemon Curd with Gin has a zesty kick, yet an almost buttery texture that is not only indulgent, but also delicious. The addition of gin cuts through the tartness - ideal for any gin lovers in your life. For those who gear towards orange, the Marmalade with Gin has a fruity and juicy flavour - we love it spread across freshly made bread. Finally, for those who like a traditional strawberry jam, the Strawberry Jam with Marc de Champagne is a great option. Made with whole strawberries, this reminded us of our Grandma’s homemade jam. The champagne adds a luxurious aftertaste, solidifying this set as the ideal Christmas present. If that’s not enough, then the box itself is ready made for present giving, so there’s less hassle with wrapping, and more time to indulge in a glass of mulled wine (or two). Purchase a Gin & Fizz Gift Set here for £9.95.

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Secondly, for any chocolate lovers, we recommend Elements for Life. We tried their Yummy Scrummy Brownies not so long ago (see here), and more recently, their Raw Chocolate Making Starter Kit. Founded by Dan and Paula Knowlson, experts in raw chocolate, this brand continues to ensure products are suitable for vegans, diabetics and coeliacs, as well as those with lactose intolerances. This is something particularly difficult to find at Christmas, so we’re sure this set would be popular with anyone who suffers from a dietary requirement. That said, we all equally enjoyed this set, whether intolerant to common allergens or not.

The Raw Chocolate Starter Kit contains 100g raw cacao powder, 100g raw cacao butter, 100ml Sweet Freedom syrup and a reusable silicone chocolate mould. You can also choose your mould design, picking from the spiral swirls (which we went for), or the Valentine’s hearts. Using Peruvian Criollo raw cacao powder and butter, the ingredients are the best of the best, providing a rich and smooth chocolate that has a low GI. This makes it suitable for diabetics, furthermore displaying the inclusive nature of this brand. In terms of making the chocolate itself, we found the process incredibly easily. Simply melt the cacao butter, add the cacao powder and Sweet Freedom syrup and you’re done - pour into the moulds, pop them in the fridge and return to professional looking chocolates. To purchase a Raw Chocolate Making Starter Kit for £17.99, click here.

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Although we’re big sweet lovers at The Amazing Blog, we’re equally enticed by flavoursome and spicy dishes. For the spice lovers in your life, we present SteenbergsMediterranean Mini 8 Spice Box, a set packed with numerous spice blends, heavily influenced by the Arabic side of the Mediterranean. Having tried their Botanicals for Cocktails in October (see here), we were keen to try this set for ourselves - and can confirm that it will indeed be well received by any foodies in your family.

Founded by Axel and Sophie Steenberg in 2003, Steenbergs is passionate about providing top quality and organic spices, with over fifteen years of experience to draw from. You can therefore be safe in the knowledge that by gifting their Mediterranean spices set, you’ll be helping your foodie recipient to create delicious meals, with ingredients they can trust. This set compromises of organic tagine, ras al hanut, za’atar, organic harissa with rose, organic Italian herbs, organic Lebanese 7 spice blend, organic paella spice blend and organic chermoula spice blend - a vast array of flavours to create a multitude of dishes. Our personal favourites are the organic paella spice blend, which helps us to create an authentic taste of Spain, and the chermoula spice blend, which we were admittedly less familiar with - but now cannot be without. To purchase your own Mediterranean Mini 8 Spice Box for £15.99, click here.

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Finally, for something a little more luxury, we came across Haupt Lakrits, a Swedish liquorice brand aiming to bring gourmet products to the market. Having tried a variety of their products, we can confirm that these are far from the packet of slightly squashed liquorice wheels in your cupboard, but instead, provide a new take on a traditional classic. Even those less enthusiastic about liquorice were found sneaking these on our lunchbreak - testament to their scrumptious flavours.

Firstly, for those of us with a penchant for liquorice, SÖT (€9.00) proved to be popular. Thanks to being cooked for 8 hours and stored for 10 weeks, this liquorice is soft and sweet, and has a pleasantly chewy texture. Secondly we tried the Hallon (€9.00) flavour, liquorice dipped in 60% Belgian milk and dark chocolate and coated with raspberry and vanilla. These proved very popular amongst those will less of a liking for traditional liquorice, and we found they work well with rose wine. Thirdly, we tried the limited edition God Juhl: Merry Christmas (€11.00) jar. Coated in Belgian white chocolate and flavoured with a Swedish Christmas spice mix, this liquorice is undoubtedly festive, even covered in a glittery outer layer. Finally, we tried the slightly lighter God Helg: Happy Holidays (€11.00) liquorice. Dipped in Belgian white chocolate, the additions of lingonberry and saffron add sweetness, yet the fruity nature helps to cut the sickliness often associated with white chocolate. Like God Juhl, this Christmas edition liquorice is best paired with a glass of mulled wine. Visit the Haupt Lakrits website here to purchase your own liquorice delights - some flavours are also available as gift sets, smaller jars and refill packs.

So there we have it - four foodie treats guaranteed to put a smile on your receiver’s face. And if you’re thinking ‘I’ve already finished my Christmas shopping’, then why not treat yourself instead? After all, we think the festive period is the perfect excuse to indulge!

Vallebona – Cheese and Honey

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We here at The Amazing Blog always have an appetite for exploring new gourmet foods, so when our friends at Vallebona Sardinian Gourmet  contacted us, our stomachs were rumbling!  This family owned delicatessen is a proud, leading supplier of gourmet Sardinian and Italian produce within the UK.

With history dating back to the 1890’s, this business has been providing genuine Italian foods to homes, restaurants and cafés in the UK for over a decade.  Vallebona offers Artisan Cheeses, carefully selected Italian wines, various honeyssalami and other Italian delicacies that provide healthy, modern options to British cuisine and home cooking.   The company is currently owned and operated by the Stefano Vallebona, the great grandson of the original owner and continues to maintain connections with suppliers from that date to the start of the business.  Vallebona’s dedication to its roots assures customers of its truly authentic Italian foods.

Sensing our hunger for something new, Vallebona delivered delicious Pecorino Rosso Cheese and Honey with White Truffle to our office doorstep!  Pecorino Rosso is a Sardinian pecorino cheese (from the island of Sardina) and is made primarily of local Sardinian sheep milk.  The creamy, medium texture of Percorino Rosso makes the cheese easily scoop-able and the perfect accompaniment to Honey with White Truffle.  This speciality cheese is offered in blocks of 200g and 1kg.  A 200g block of Percorino Rosso Cheese can be found here for £3.20 .  The Vallebona Sardinian Gourmet Honey with White Truffle is a light acacia honey dotted with generous pieces of truffle.  This delectable combination makes for an intensely flavoured honey; Honey with White Truffle is an ideal complement when drizzled over the Pecorino Rosso.  The honey is offered in various size containers of 45g, 120g and 250g.  A 45g jar of Vallebona’s Honey with White Truffle can be found here for £3.92 .  The Pecorino cheese and Honey with White Truffle can also be purchased as a set, along with a suggested recipe and a 50g bag of Music Paper Bread for £12 here .

 Vallebona also invites you to sample their authentic Italian goods, in-store on Saturdays while you shop at their warehouse deli in Wimbledon .  Vallebona Sardinian Gourmet Pecorino Rosso cheese, Honey with White Truffle and other gourmet items can be purchased online here  with free delivery for orders over £50.  Buon Appetito (Good eating)!

FOODHQ

Well, November has arrived and with it just eight Monday mornings remain until Christmas. Festive jingles sing loudly on the radio, shop shelves are awash with stocking fillers and supermarket isles are stocked high with tantalising treats, all promising to ensure that this very Christmas will be the best one yet. While a pleasant thought that may be, it also means that the social season is fast approaching, and with it is the age-old dilemma of hosting a fabulous festive feast.

And while cocktail sausages and sticks of cheddar and pineapple were all the rage many decades ago, the pressure is on these days to serve up a spread fit for a King. Thankfully, the gang at The Amazing Blog have been on the hunt for discerning foodies who want to add a bit of decadence to their do.

Recently launched, FOODHQ is a new online retailer specialising in restaurant-quality ingredients sourced from select artisan producers in Italy, France, Greece and Spain. The first of its kind, FOODHQ is on-hand to offer food-lovers nationwide gourmet products previously only available to restaurants and the high-end catering trade.

With a portfolio of over 300 specialist products including some of the World’s finest extra-virgin olive oils, balsamic vinegars, olives, risotto rice, pasta and other premium Mediterranean ingredients. The company are the sole importers for a number of exclusive boutique products, with over 30 being awarded ‘Great Taste’ award winning medals.

The products span a spectrum of different flavours and textures from the richly flavoured J Leblanc walnut, pistachio and pine nut oils to the punchy peppery, thick unfiltered Barbera olive oils to the bright zingy red pepper and mango vinegars from Belberry in Belgium and the ultra-premium (and stunningly packaged!) Il Borgo balsamic vinegars from the Emilia region in Italy... there’s a whole host of culinary delights that will get passionate foodies itching to stock up their larders and start drizzling, infusing, marinating and finishing dishes with these beautiful artisan products.

So, whether you want to add a touch of je ne sais quoi to a festive dinner party, or are searching for a special something to give the foodie in your life, be sure to check out the fabulous FOODHQ!