Taste Test

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

Gum with benefits
BLOCKHEAD’s Vitamin Gum is now available in retailer outlets nationwide, including Morrisons’ entire supermarket store portfolio, WHSmith, Ocado, Amazon and Holland & Barrett. BLOCKHEAD’s genuinely innovative gum products are aimed at adults in need of an immediate, healthy and convenient vitamin boost.

The gum has been developed specifically so provide a consumers’ daily dose of vitamins D, C, B and A, which is important in the UK, where one in five adults are vitamin D deficient.

The production process utilises cutting-edge, cold-pressed technology, which means that the active ingredients are released from the gum-base itself, as opposed to adding a cake-like layer, which is commonplace in other chewing gum brands. Removing all heat from the production process ensures that the active ingredients don’t lose any potency.

The BLOCKHEAD Vitamin Gum was well received by the Taste Test Team. “As someone who is very pro supplements, I was keen to try out this Vitamin gum as I had never come across it before,” said our tester. “I pushed my usual vit pills to the side for a few days and tried the gum as an alternative. The recommended two gum pieces a day give the RDA for Vit A, B6, C, & D. The gum is a nice size to chew, soft and sweet, and the citrus lemon flavour makes it quite juicy. My only question would be how long I had to chew the gum for in order to get the maximum Vits?”

Beer time
Camden Town Brewery has added ‘Off Menu’ IPA to its beer line-up of Hells Lager, Pale Ale, Week Nite Any Day Lager and Show Off Juicy Lager.

Thought of as a lager brewery, in fact Camden has been secretly been brewing IPA’s for years, but now, inspired by the chefs serving secret off menu burgers at your favourite bistros, this IPA has become Camden’s not-so-secret ‘off menu’ dish.

So the company has taken all of its lager learnings to create a north London take on the West Coast style – brewed with clean Californian ale yeast and fresh, early harvest Simcoe hops. In fact, Camden loves Simcoe hops so much it used it at four stages of the brewing process to get a beer that’s hoppy, clean and tropical.

Our tester immediately loved the packaging of the Camden Town Brewery Off Menu IPA, with its jazzy salmon pink can. “I was surprised to get an Indian Pale Ale from Camden as I associate them with lager, but this still has the clean, full flavour that I would expect from one of their products,” she said. “Served cold it was very refreshing for an ale, it was flowery, sweet and fruity. Would be very nice on a summers day, and I would only need one as the ABV was pretty high – so this is not one for a school night!”

Wine o’clock
UK retailer SPAR has made it easy to pick up a bottle of vegan-friendly wine locally thanks to its new Vine & Bloom wine range. Commenting on the launch, Matt Fowkes, Wine Trading Manager at SPAR UK stated: “We’ve sourced these great wines from a long-term partner, who we have worked in close collaboration with on this project. The Vine & Bloom range is not just a ‘vegan wine’ range, it is a selection of great wines that happen to be vegan friendly and available all to enjoy. For the future, we are currently working closely with all our suppliers with an aim for all our own label wines to be vegan friendly from 2021 onwards.’’

As Matt noted, the Vine &Bloom wines have been developed in close collaboration with long-term supplier partner, Cantina di Sociale Soave, based in Northern Italy, focusing on popular grape varieties including, Pinot Grigio, Merlot and a Rose. This is first wine range from SPAR that highlights its vegan friendly on the front label.

The Team tasted the Rose and the Pinot Grigio. “The Rose had a fresh and floral appeal – we had it very cold, and it was light and refreshing. Not too dry, it went well with food and was easily quaffable – very nice for after work, with a meal, simple but delicious,” said our tester. “I loved the packaging design and would never have assumed this came from Spar,” said the other tester, who sampled the Pinot Grigio. “I was impressed with Spar for stocking this, and it was lovely and dry, very crisp. I also found it made an excellent spritzer.”