I was recently contacted by gourmet food company, Atkins and Potts, to see if I’d like to review any of their new pasta sauces. I wrote back saying thank you for the offer, but that I was more of a sweet and baking blog, so I would pass this time. They then offered to send me a little selected of their other products, more in keeping with my blog. I had a quick look at their website and was delighted to find that all their products are vegetarian and gluten free, with many being vegan too! This was such a lovely surprise, and I was excited by the variety of products they made and so eagerly accepted.
A few days later I received the following exciting products: Chili Chocolate Spread, Basil Jam, Cranberry Relish and Pomegranate Syrup.
Chilli Chocolate Spread
Unscrewing the lid I instantly smelt the aroma of rich dark chocolate. Dipping a spoon in, I found the consistency to be more like a giant ganache truffle than the gooey sticky spread I was expecting. It was very thick and smooth. The first taste is of rich dark chocolate, not overly sweet, which being a dark chocolate lover I really enjoyed. A few seconds later a slight warmth began to develop at the back of my throat which built up into quite a spicy kick. This took me a little by surprise but was wonderfully addictive. The thick texture made it quite hard to spread on softer foods like bread or cake, but delicious spread over toast, where it slowly melts into a glossy pool, giving off wafts of dark chocolate aroma. I image it would be wonderful melted over ice cream too. Very indulgent, but defiantly one for the grown ups.
Purple Basil Jam
This idea really intrigued me and I wondered what to expect. It sounded wonderfully exotic. I was imaging a smooth sticky jam, sort of like a mint jelly only made with basil. However, on opening I found it to be quite chunky, containing little squares of onion set it a sweet and sticky syrup. To me this made it more of a sweet pickle or relish than a jam, but naming aside, it was delicious. It reminded me of onion marmalade. Very sweet, with a slight twang. The basil was flecked throughout the jam in thin shreds which added an intriguing flavour. It was delicious with some cheese, although I would have liked the basil flavour to be more pronounced.
Spicy Cranberry Relish
Again I wasn’t sure what to expect and imagined a sort of cranberry jam/sauce. It turned out to be far more superior than that. There were whole, lightly crushed cranberries mixed with a few other bits and pieces to make a chunky relish. It was not that sweet, with the whole pieces of cranberry giving it a wonderful mix of sweet, sharp and tangy flavours. There was also a slight kick of vinegar lingering in the background. It’s probably intended to be eaten with roasted meats, but I found it delicious with both a sharp cheddar cheese and peanut butter (not all together!) I loved the freshness of the cranberries and again how it wasn’t that sweet. This would be perfect for Christmas.
I was excited by this. I love pomegranates and think they are a very underused fruit. This sweet glossy syrup had a fabulous pomegranate aftertaste. It somehow managed to keep that tart, slightly astringent and mysterious flavour of pomegranate while still being sweet and sticky. I’ve been drizzling it over my porridge this week and it makes a lovely change to honey or sugar. I’m longing to make a cheesecake and drizzle it over that with some berries or figs. Really unique.
Thank you to Atkins and Potts for the samples. I was genuinely impressed with the quality of all the products I tried. Nothing was overly sweet, which allowed the ingredients natural flavours, or tartness to shine through. I loved how I could really see the main ingredients, like the whole cranberries and the shreds of basil in the products. Do have a look at their website, everything they make is a little unique and different to the usual run of the mill products. It’s great to see a company being to create with flavours and ingredient combinations. When was the last time you saw quince syrup or wasabi mayonnaise stocked in your local supermarket?