Taste Test

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

Extra relaxed gin
The CBD trend shows no signs of slowing, and a Manchester based business is the latest company to join the growing market with a brand new, fully compliant CBD (Cannabidiol) infused gin. Strangeways Beers and Spirits has created Hazy Dry and Hazy Strawberry Gin, using CBD extract of the highest quality and supported by a COA (Certificate of Analysis).

Playing to its Manchester heritage, the products were destined to be ‘only served behind bars’, however due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this was put on hold, and currently gin lovers across the UK can visit the website to purchase directly.

As company founder Paul Hesketh noted, the CBD element sets the product apart. “The gin revolution isn’t slowing anytime soon and for many customers having their gin cocktail infused with CBD is exciting and adds a little more spice to their night than a wedge of lemon or stuffed olive.”

Two of the Team trialed the Strangeways products and both were impressed. The first commented on the sleek black packaging, before going onto the taste of the strawberry variant. “A great summery flavor, very smooth and fruity. Would be great in cocktails and when mixed with tonic the slightly blush shade of gin turns an opalescent color, which is appealing and a little different to the run of the mill gins.”

Moving onto the Dry Gin, and the second tester described it as ‘a proper dry gin with fuller flavor and the added extra of something special.’ “It mixed well with lots of ice and its infused citrus notes really brought out the botanicals,” he added. “The addition of CBD made it a great gin to relax with, bringing added feelings of calmness and self-confidence.”

Fresh and chilled
Deciding that it was high time that fresh chocolate became the go-to standard for quality, simplicity of ingredients and indulgence, Russell & Atwell company founders Steve Russell and Giles Atwell set about the challenge of making restaurant quality, fresh chilled chocolates, for supermarket prices. Their efforts have led to the launch of three sumptuous pouches of fresh chocolates, Outrageously Creamy Milk Chocolates, with a Fino de Aroma Milk Centre; Extra Dark Chocolates with a Premium Solomon Islands Cocoa Centre and Ridiculously Smooth Dark Chocolates with a Fino de Aroma Dark Centre.

Made with delicious, high quality and sustainable ingredients that you can find in the kitchen, Russell & Atwell’s unique blend of cocoa, together with fresh organic cream and honey brings richness and depth of flavor, as well as a much smoother melt. They also source their ingredients from small ethical producers, adding absolutely no nasties, and no palm oil, ever.

Our testers were very impressed with the fresh chilled chocolates. “The milk option was so delicious,” said tester one. “The shell had a good solid texture, making a nice contrast to the creamy center, which had a touch of caramel in the flavor.

“My favorites were the Classic Dark Chocolates, which were rich but not bitter and had a nice honey tone to the center. I did also love the Extra Premium Dark Chocolates – with that added pinch of salt they were seriously grown up, and definitely need to be savored.”