Foodie Parcels in the Post - April 2014

Sunday 20 April 2014
A long overdue roundup of the foodie parcels I've been receiving in the post over the last month, two months. Where is this year going? Was it really February when I did my previous roundup?! It's always nice to receive a parcel in the post but even nicer if its edible (or drinkable). Here's what Mr Postman has been bringing me of late...

These goodies were sent to me for Fairtrade Fortnight which ran from 24th February until 9th March. I do try to buy Fairtrade products when I can - particularly in relation to bananas, sugar and chocolate - but its always good to be reminded of where else you can make a real difference with your purchasing decisions. There are some fantastic stories behind these products. Take a look at Nadali Vanilla Pods, Liberation Nuts and Equal Exchange Coffee and be inspired. The campaign this year focused specifically on Sticking with Foncho to make Bananas Fair. Whilst around one third of bananas sold in the UK (by value) are Fairtrade, only three supermarkets currently stock 100% Fairtrade bananas, namely Sainsbury's, Co-Op and Waitrose.

I'm not normally one for RT and follow competitions on Twitter but I make an exception where Gin (or cheese) is involved. Blackwoods had actually been on my Gindar for a wee while being as its one of the many small batch Scottish Gins. It hails from the very far north on the Shetland Isles and is made to a slightly different recipe each year depending on the quality and quantity of local botanicals available at harvesting time. I was out when the postie delivered this parcel. I suspect that never has anything so wonderful ever been left under a wheelbarrow. The citrusy flavour works well with a premium tonic and lots of ice. Very smooth. I really must try the suggested Shetland Storm cocktail. 

Does lightening ever strike twice? It would appear so and I got lucky in another twitter Gin comp. This time receiving samples of Opihr Spiced Gin. This was one a new one that I'd spotted, on social media primarily due to its funky elephant branding. The miniatures came in a cute hessian sack complete with ingredients and a recipe for Opihr Chai Brew. If its too early to legitimately drink gin - pour it in your tea. I've not tried the cocktail yet but have sampled the elephant with tonic. Perhaps a wee bit heavy handed on the cardamom and light on the juniper for me. But if you like your G&T spicy this may well be the one for you.

My truffle oil from Supenature didn't arrived in the post but rather in person at a food writers and bloggers event that I attended at Craigie's Farm. Lynn of Supernature Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil was there to tell us all about its health benefits, provenance and versatility. Supernature is light in colour and taste and works very well with infusions. They have an impressive range of 13 flavours. I requested the White Truffle for my take home sample. Its flavour is intense and instantly transported me back to our Tuscan holiday. I'm been sparingly using my 100ml bottle to drizzle on risottos and pasta and for crusty bread dipping.

I attended an event at the Marcliffe Hotel towards the end of February promoting the Taste Our Best quality assurance scheme. Always great to catch up with local producers and suppliers who are passionate about their products. One such person was Anne Thompson of Bouvrage (the old Scottish word for drink) and Ella Drinks. Based near Brechin in Angus their range of juices are made solely with local berries and fruit. Their Angus Apples is most probably the best Apple Juice I have ever tasted. Such a fresh, crisp, tart taste comprising 100% pressed juice. The apples are picked from the walled gardens of country houses in Angus. There they find many long forgotten orchards containing ancient varieties of apples that were previously going to waste. A win win situation.

More rapeseed oil. It's pretty much my favourite thing to both cook with, marinade and drizzle these days. Olive Oil has taken somewhat of a backseat in my cooking. The high smoke point makes it perfect to use for roasting and stir frying. These are from Mackintosh of Glendaveny based right here in Aberdeenshire near Peterhead. They are extra virgin and cold pressed. Garlic and Chilli are my usual purchases in terms of flavoured oils and I really wasn't too sure about lemon but it worked really well drizzled on salads and pasta. Great to catch up with local loon MD Gregor Mackintosh at the Taste Our Best Event. 

Disclosure : Thanks to Fairtrade Foundation, Blackwoods, Opihr, Supernature, Bouvrage and Mackintosh of Glendaveny for providing the above products. I was not obliged to review positively in return. All views expressed are my own. If you're a brand who'd like to have your product featured here, please do get in touch

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