Taste Test

The FoodChain team sample a selection of new and innovative foods and drinks

The spirit of rock
Legendary rock band Motörhead has extended its brand beyond the stage and into a portfolio of unique spirits, which launched into the UK at the end of 2019.

The Motörhead Premium Dark Rum, Motörhead Vödka and Motörhead Single Malt Whisky have been crafted with the band’s signature charisma and attitude in mind. Aged for eight years in ex-bourbon barrels, the full-bodied Premium Dark Rum originates from the Dominican Republic and has notes of chocolate, arrack and vanilla. The Motörhead Vödka is pure and clean yet still complex, while the Motörhead Single Malt Whisky has an impressive pedigree. Made in collaboration with Swedish whisky legends, Mackmyra, and their Master Blender, Angela D’Orazio, it is easy to drink – oaky and spicy.

The Team was very impressed with the Motörhead products, starting with the packaging, which was unmistakably ‘metal’ yet maintained a high-quality, luxurious feel and look.

The rum, with its spicy finish and sweet undertones was smooth and full-bodied.

The vodka was easily drinkable neat with its smooth edge, yet carried enough flavour and character to stand out in the crowd when combined with a mixer. The whisky was surprisingly herbaceous, with hints of smoke and liquorice, a citrus edge and a toasty finish.

Do the Jitterbug
Packaged in retro chic bottles, Jitterbug Apple Cider Vinegar tonics are now available, and make the perfect on the go refreshing drink, coffee substitute or even mixer for a new twist on a cocktail.

Tipped to shake up the premium soft drinks category, Jitterbug Apple Cider Vinegar tonics come in three flavours: Lemonade Swing, Orange Jive and Berry Hop. At only 39 calories per bottle, each flavour is handcrafted in the UK using an array of traditional English botanicals and exotic superfoods such as Japanese Yuzu.

“I love fizzy drinks and so finding healthier alternatives to soda pops is on my New Year’s Resolution list,” said our tester. “These fit the bill on all counts – free from nasty artificial ingredients, no added sugar, crafted in the UK and with the addition of Apple Cider Vinegar, and all its health benefits. Most importantly, every flavour was really interesting – fruity, with an acid zing from the vinegar, and an immediate refreshing hit. Loved them!”

Wine online
Newly established online wine retailer, South Africa House of Wine, which launched at the end of November 2019, is bringing the UK’s largest range of South African wines to market.

The new business aims to increase the availability and range of high quality South African wines on offer in the UK, focusing solely on the finest bottles from the country’s most popular producers and regions. All wines have been selected by the company’s team of wine professionals, who have over 100 years of collective experience in the wine industry.

The team was very impressed with the comprehensive selection of products available from South Africa House of Wines. We were fortunate enough to test the Kleine Zalze’s Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – the estate’s premium Cabernet. Rich and dark, the wine was bold and full of fruity notes, with oak and hints of leather and a smoky edge. “I can’t come up with an Oz Clark style review, but I loved this wine – it was smooth, with a pleasantly well-rounded flavour and I found it went particularly well with grilled meat,” said our tester. “I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it again.”

Proper zingy
Gusto Organic has launched a brand-new drink to tantalise the taste buds. Produced in the UK, Gusto Organic’s Sicilian Lemon with Yuzu is a sophisticated Lemonade that blends organic Sicilian Lemon juice with fresh Yuzu juice and cold pressed Yuzu peel. Sweetened with a deliciously luxurious blend of fair- trade agave nectar, fair-trade apple and organic grape, the drink’s calorie count is below 100 a bottle.

Gusto Organic’s Sicilian Lemon with Yuzu is suitable for vegans, free from refined sugar and is bottled in Devon with spring water from the hills of Exmoor.

“Our Sicilian Lemon with Yuzu was a real labour of love,” commented Will Fugard, Gusto Organic CEO and Drinksmeister. “After a long search, we found a farmer in Spain had 5000 Yuzu trees and the most incredible fresh juice, alive with Yuzu goodness. As the stars aligned our Lemon Yuzu was born, and we like to think of it as the world’s finest lemonade.”

Gusto never fails to come up with some exciting new drinks flavours and the Sicilian Lemon with Yuzu maintains its usual excellent standards. “This is zingy and refreshing, sharp but not bitter – it’s also quite delicate and subtle at the same time. I found it very easy to sip on, so it’s definitely a drink to be savoured – I think it would be a really popular choice at a summer BBQ, with lots of ice.”

A different approach to chocolate
Founded by investigative journalist Teun Van der Keuken (Tony), Tony’s Chocolonely was created when Tony identified that illegal child labour and modern slavery are still commonplace on cocoa farms in West Africa. He decided ‘enough is enough’ and set an example by creating incredibly tasty chocolate made differently, to inspire the rest of the industry to change for the better.

Since Tony’s started in 2005 it has grown to be the number one chocolate brand in the Netherlands, and now Tony’s is heading to the UK, so that chocolate lovers here can help make 100 per cent slave free the norm in chocolate. Featuring an amazing and exciting range of flavours from white raspberry with popping candy to dark milk pretzel toffee, the Chocolonely bars come in small (50g) and big (180g) bars.

The team was thrilled to try a selection of flavours from the Tony’s range, and was immediately impressed with both the eyecatching, retro yet modern packaging, and the chunky size of the bars. They also loved the irregular patterns embossed into the bars; much more interesting than the regular oblong chunk of chocolate (and even better, sometimes you get a huge piece when you break it off!) “I want to pick a favourite but I just loved every one of the flavours, they were all so interesting and different,” said one tester. “The bars were satisfyingly chunky, the chocolate was obviously high quality, and frankly – with chocolate this good, I don’t think Tony will be lonely for long!”

Get dipping
Raw vegetable houmous company ChicP was founded on a passionate commitment to reducing food waste. It produces a variety of sweet & savoury houmous from sustainable sources and surplus vegetables, and in 2019 started working with a UK farmer using UK grown chickpeas. This is a very exciting and important development, as eating food that is locally produced is more beneficial to the climate than being vegan.

ChicP’s houmous is made from raw vegetables, adding extra nutritional benefits. All the products are free from gluten, dairy and sugar, and they are designed not just for eating as a dip but are fantastic with any meal, as an accompaniment or sauce; add to chicken, veggies, pasta or as a spread. The list is endless… just be creative!

The ChicP pots the team tried included the Herby Houmous, Carrot, Ginger & Turmeric Houmous and Beetroot & Horseradish Houmous. “The beautiful vibrant colours make the dips immediately inviting to eat. The dry crunch of a breadstick married perfectly with the cool (straight from fridge), slightly grainy, texture of the dips, and they were fresh and clean tasting – still Houmous but with a twist,” commented one tester.

“The Beetroot variety was my favourite and I could really get the distinctive taste of the horseradish, but without heat. The green Herby Houmous immediately took me back to the summer with fresh garden herbs, and the Carrot one had a delicious sweetness.” The team finished the pots in record time – a pretty glowing endorsement!