When the Christmas Food Fest invite from The Bloggers Hangout arrived in my inbox, I didn’t give it a second thought before sending my RSVP. You only have to see my excitement walking past a supermarket sample stand to know that if there is free food, I will be there. Greediness aside, it was also an exciting opportunity to discover some new brands and have a chat with like minded people about my favourite topic of all – food.
There were lots of new products to try out, and I decided to jump in at the deep end by trying out a Crobar protein bar made from crickets. Yes, crickets. I wasn’t too keen on the idea but curiosity got the better of me, and it was actually pretty good – very similar in taste and texture to the existing health bars on the market, but packed with protein, iron, vitamin B12 and omega 3 and 6. My favourite was the peanut and cricket flour bar which I would quite happily eat again. Perfect if you want to enjoy the health benefits of eating insects without getting too Bear Grylls about it.
One of my favourite products from the evening has to be JimJams Hazelnut Chocolate Spread, which despite being just as sweet and creamy as Nutella is made with no added sugar and reduced fat cocoa. I can see it becoming a cupboard staple of mine and I’m planning on using the tub I was given to bake some guilt-free brownies. JimJams also makes a milk chocolate spread and a range of jams with high fruit, low sugar content which is great if you’re looking to cut down your sugar intake, but still enjoy the occasional indulgence.
As much as I love my chocolate, I was definitely in need of something savoury, so Ragini’s stand was my next stop for a touch of spice. I met Ragini herself who was brimming with enthusiasm about her Mauritian curry powder, which had filled the entire venue with it’s warm spicy aroma. The curry powder is a fragrant blend of fourteen different spices, complex in flavour with a gentle heat. I can’t wait to experiment with it in my own cooking – I’m thinking a pumpkin soup or stew will be on the menu this week.
Next I tried a couple of craft ciders from Crafty Nectar, who offer a monthly subscription box. I’m not a big cider drinker myself but I really enjoyed trying some unique ciders from around the UK. Each one had a very distinct flavour, a far cry from my previous experiences of lukewarm Kopparberg straight from the can at a festival. Not only do they taste great, all of the ciders selected are gluten free and contain no concentrates or artificial flavourings, which makes a subscription, or even a one-off box, a great gift for any discerning cider drinker.
Dilly & Wolf were the only brand I had seen before, having spotted them in Whole Foods and in Women’s Health magazine prior to the event, so I was looking forward to trying them for myself. Today I’ve been not-so-slowly working my way through the tub of wasabi and horseradish roasted peas; they are so addictive! I’m a terrible mindless snacker so it’s good to know I can munch away on something that’s delicious and good for me – anything that can keep my hand out of a family bag of Kettle Chips is a bonus for my waistline.
Last but definitely not least is another new favourite of mine, from the geniuses at Frill, who have successfully converted me to the way of the frozen smoothie. With 10x the fibre of regular ice cream, half the sugar and absolutely no dairy, I wasn’t expecting it to taste quite as good as it does. Best of all, because they’re made entirely from fruits and vegetables, they can be blended into smoothies to save buying fresh fruit that can quickly turn bad and go to waste. My favourite was the berry flavour, which would be delicious in an acai bowl.
I’d like to say a big thank youÂ The Bloggers Hangout for arranging the event and also all the brands who kindly let us sample their products.