Northern Munkee’s Top 10 Foodie Gifts for 2017

So, although you might not be ready for it and you might not want to admit it Christmas is nearly here. That time of year when people over-complicate, over-think, over-spend and over-eat; I love it! It’s a time when we forget what food fad is en vogue this week and we just think about what’s the best way to treat ourselves and delight all of our senses.

However, I’m a Yorkshireman so I must have something to moan about and for me there is one part of Christmas that can cause unnecessary strain, stress and disappointment: the Gift. Now, thankfully, Mrs Munkee knows how to keep me quiet and always does really  well with presents but I can’t say that about every gift I get. So if you’re stuck for what to get that hard-to-buy-for person then you’re in luck because I’ve created my Top 10 Gifts for Foodies in 2017. This guide is compiled with some incredible brands and some fabulous ideas for Christmas (or any other gifting occasion) this year.

So, without any further ado, drum roll please, in no particular order…

Northern Munkee’s Top 10 Foodie Gifts for 2017

  1. A Chocolate Safari in Bruges from Coeur de Xocolat

northernmunkeebites.chocolatesafariHow Much Will It Cost Me?: £500 (for two people, with discounts for larger groups)

Where Can I Buy It?: www.coeurdexocolat.co.uk

What Is It?: Food tours and safaris are becoming an increasingly popular way to spend our free time and it’s an incredible way to enhance a short, city break. On this trip you will not only explore the chocolate in its spiritual home but you will be accompanied by David Greenwood-Haigh, Master Chocolatier, who will teach you how to taste properly, share the food’s vibrant history and potentially throw in a food pairing session for good measure. The safari is two nights with one full day in Bruges with ferry, food and accommodation included.

Why’s It On The List?: It’s pretty obvious isn’t it? Bruges is an incredible city in itself but what could be better than a flaneur’s jaunt through its magical streets guided by a Chocolate Mastermind? And possibly a cheeky Belgian beer or two because…when in Rome!

  1. A Cheese Toastie Subscription from Cheese Posties

How Much Will It Cost Me?: £4.59 per postie (if you’re just going for one a week, I darenorthernmunkeebites.cheesepostie you to try just one a week!)

Where Can I Buy It?: www.cheeseposties.com

What Is It?: It’s amazing melted cheesiness that’s what! This is the most beautifully simple, expertly branded and great tasting thing that will ever come through your letter box. The variety of food subscriptions you can get your hands on now is growing day by day and surely this is evidence that this is only a good thing!

Why’s It On The List?: Have you seen one of the greatest non-food related shows on TV, Taskmaster? Well, the prince of all subscription boxes was introduced to me by none other than Noel Fielding (not personally but allow me to have my moment) on an epic episode of that show; so how can it not be on the list?

  1. Small Batch Premium Gin Gift Pack from Daffy’s

northernmunkeebites.daffysHow Much Will It Cost Me?: £49.99

Where Can I Buy It?: www.daffysgin.com

What Is It?: If you haven’t seen the gin revolution then the rock you’ve been living under must be cosy! This is an absolute must for gin-lovers and a real premium offer. An award-winning 70cl bottle of Daffy’s gin between to incredible Spanish crystal gin glasses.

Why’s It On The List?: Just imagine the scene…the Queen’s speech has just subsided along with the last goose-fat enrobed roast spud and you crack out these bad boys to enjoy an incredible Scottish gin. Winner! Need I say more?

  1. Gin Selection and Salted Selection Sliders from Fudge Kitchen

How Much Will It Cost Me?: £16.00

Where Can I Buy It?: http://www.fudgekitchen.co.uknorthernmunkeebites.fudgekitchenchristmas2

What Is It?: These fantastically packaged fudge slider collections are perfect for when those dark nights draw in and you need a naughty sugar fix. The indulgently creamy squares are off-set delicately by micro-distilled gins and Skye Sea Salts which delivers a phenomenal flavour northernmunkeebites.fudgekitchenchristmas1juxtaposition.

Why’s It On The List?: These treats are just excellent. Great on their own or with a nice dark roast coffee or smooth whisky or…almost anything!

  1. Trio of Nut Spreads from The Nut Kitchen

How Much Will It Cost Me?: £17.85

Where Can I Buy It?: www.thenutkitchen.com

What Is It?: This is perfect for anyone who enjoys a nutty indulgence. The pack containsnorthernmunkeebites.thenutkitchen a 200g jar of Gianduia Spread, Hazelnut Spread and Almond Spread. You’ll find that these fantastically creamy spreads can go with just about anything: toast, porridge, pancakes, smoothies, ice cream, cakes etc. etc.

Why’s It On The List?: It’s absolutely no secret that I am a nut butter nutter so it’s no surprise that one of my favourite foods has made it onto the list. If you’re not much of a connoisseur you may not fully appreciate that no two nut butters are the same and they certainly weren’t all created equal. These guys have just upped the game!

  1. Dashfire Bitters from Artisan Spirits Company

How Much Will It Cost Me?: £14.90 (100ml bottle)

northernmunkeebites.dashfirebittersWhere Can I Buy It?: http://www.hedonism.co.uk

What Is It?: Quality bourbon or a neutral grain spirit paired with selected spices to give a vividly vintage bitter with a smooth and spicy finish. These beauties are barrel-aged to deliver a distinctive finish.

Why’s It On The List?: Here in the UK we’re more than used to coping with the cold weather but I’ll always appreciate something to just take the edge off it. These characteristic bitters are an awesome flavour-enhancer to add to your festive repertoire and are the perfect gift for that inquisitive foodie!

  1. 70cl Durham Gin from The Durham Distillery

How Much Will It Cost Me?: £27.50

Where Can I Buy It?: www.durhamdistillery.co.uk

What Is It?: This is a small batch gin produced in copper pots with three very distinctivenorthernmunkeebites.durhamgin notes: spicy, savoury and sweet that are all induced by its careful and considered production process. This gin offers the traditional expectations of the drink coupled with the influences of the beautiful Cathedral City of Durham.

Why’s It On The List?: It’s the second appearance for gin on the list so it’s got to be good right? And different to the other one? Well, in that case, I’m two for two! For the gin connoisseur this is a real treat with some subtle nuances in the layered flavour notes. Forget the Fever Tree and go solo on this one!

  1. Peppermill Pizzazz & Sweet Delight from Spice Sanctuary

How Much Will It Cost Me?: £11.98

Where Can I Buy It?: www.spicesanctuary.com

northernmunkeebites.spicesanctuary2What Is It?: Peppermill Pizzazz is a fantastic, Great Taste award-winning, gourmet finishing pepper designed to enhance any savoury food. The Sweet Delight, conversely, is a staple for any baker and will soon become that secret ingredient for your baking.

Why’s It On The List?: Scratch cooking and baking has seen a real resurgencenorthernmunkeebites.spicesanctuary1 over the last few years but I’m a big believer in those little secrets that can help enhance your repertoire that no-one needs to know about. These fantastic spices will help you get the edge over any other competitive cooks or bakers in your family or friendship group!

  1. Stollen Gift Tin from Elizabeth D Bakes

How Much Will It Cost Me?: £16.50

Where Can I Buy It?: www.elizabethdbakes.co.uk

What Is It?: This is a dual layered gift box of stolleny goodness! If you haven’t crossednorthernmunkeebites.elizabethdbakes the bridge and taken the leap with stolen I must say you’re missing out! Big time! There are 16 pieces of the sweet sweet stollen in this pack but I really don’t recommend sharing!

Why’s It On The List?: My first ever proper job was as an Area Manager for a big German Discounter (no prizes for guessing which one), this was my first introduction to stollen… and I haven’t looked back since! Stollen had to feature on my Top 10 Foodie Gifts for 2017 and if I’m going to recommend anything then it needs to be top quality so it could only be Elizabeth D Bakes!

  1. Chilli Jam Gift Box from Single Variety Co.

northernmunkeebites.lemondropchillijamHow Much Will It Cost Me?: £17.00

Where Can I Buy It?: www.singlevariety.co.uk

What Is It?: This is a fabulous collection of three chilli jams made from three different varietals: Jalapeno, Lemon Drop andnorthernmunkeebites.jalapenojam Anaheim. Chilli jams aren’t anything new but they’re becoming ever more trendy and multifarious in their uses. The entire range produced by Single Variety Co is phenomenal and brilliant quality so you won’t be disappointed if you gift these this year.

Why’s It On The List?: We all know that one chilli fiend don’t we? northernmunkeebites.anaheimchillijamWell now you don’t need to worry about what gift to get for them…or…if there’s a risk of your Christmas Day meal being a little pedestrian why not melt some of the Lemon Drop Chilli Jam into your Nan’s gravy? Just a thought!

I’d love to hear about your favourite gifts for Foodies in 2017…pop a comment below!

Northern Munkee.

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Going Nuts…Over Nuts!

With the focus on healthy eating, there has been scare-mongering within the health PR industry to steer clear of items that are termed ‘junk’. Whether that’s pizzas, burgers and chips or crisps, chocolate and sweets.

So the search to find healthy replacements for these foods has surged with focus on energy bars and protein balls. Yet one of the food groups that has always seemed to balance between the healthy and the unhealthy are nuts and seeds.  This small yet powerful food group have been hailed as ‘superfoods’, ‘miracle-foods’ and everything else associated with ‘clean-eating’.  That is if you have them in moderate amounts of course otherwise they become the epitome of bad eating, unhealthy eating and everything else associated with over-eating!

Whilst nuts have been around for eons, and come in all shapes and sizes – the popularity of these have grown as consumers add pumpkin seeds to porridge, nibble on brazil nuts as an afternoon snack or grind almonds to make almond butter. They can be sweet or savoury, pre-meals or post-meals, starters or desserts.

The variety these little foods offer are endless.

Miss Nang Treats: Nang Cin-Almond, Nang Sweet Pea-Original, Nang Vee-Cornish

northernmunkeebites.missnang2Rating: 7 out of 10

Appeals to: nut-lovers and those with a sweet tooth who want to (try) and be relatively healthy

Packaging:

These delights come packaged in little bags of equal looking delight. Wrapped in clear bags with tasteful ribbons, the consumer can see the nuts clearly which are attractive.  The colours of the nuts add to the overall look and feel, one can see these presented as favours in weddings or gifted to loved ones for special occasions.  I like the fact that these are small enough to pop into your bag as well rather than being in a box or dividing up a larger bag.  The tasteful sticker details the ingredients, although perhaps the brand could be a little more prominent on this.

Price:

For 100g bag, ranges from £2-£3. These can be purchased from the website directly.  Although the price is a steep for one bag, these are intended as gifts and can be bought in bulk for events.  The price though for one bag can be deemed fair as the nuts do last over a few days/weeks and can be shared.  It helps manage consumption that’s for sure!

Delivery:

These little bags of nuts are tasty! The three different flavours I tried were all spot onnorthernmunkeebites.missnang1 with my favourite being the Cin-Almond one.  These were so more-ish, sweet without being too sweet, tasty without being overpowering.  Whilst they were sweet flavoured nuts, at no point did I feel guilty for having one too many.  The Nang Sweet Pea – Original were just incredible too, the ingredients just say sugar and salt but these seemed to have just the right balance of delicious-ness.  There is definitely a certain je ne sais quoi as you can’t quite put your finger on the flavours but whilst popping these in your mouth, all you need to do is savour and enjoy them rather than trying to figure it out.  Although I may not purchase these regularly, I do know where to go now for a tasty nut treat and to order some packets for special friends.

Verdict: in a word –more-ish. Whilst the price can initially cause you to pause to purchase, after tasting it you can see that it’s actually a fairly reasonable price.  The whole look and feel is of something that is quite homely and very personal.

Details: https://missnang.com/

I would love to hear your thoughts if you have tried this product – feel free to leave comments below.

Guest Blogger: Mrs M.

About Me

As a person with a recently diagnosed sensitive digestive system, I’m now on a path to make sure I eat well whilst still enjoying myself. Having been fearful of food, I now love finding new products, going to new restaurants to try new twists on dishes and am constantly looking for quirky items to consume.  I’m a huge supporter of simple food that is made tasty with the right combination of ingredients and more importantly enjoying your food and diet in a balanced way.  That means I always have room for my favourite item – chocolate!

 

Cold-Pressed Protein Balls

One of the great things about the focus on food trends are the innovative new products that appear on the shelves. Sometimes it can be overwhelming with the amount of choice, yet the fact that there can be so much choice now is truly a positive change in the retail food industry.

For me, the most exciting thing of this trend is the combination of healthy yet tasty food products. Now there are numerous ‘super-foods’ out there and companies have tried to make these ‘super-foods’ into tantalising products – kale cupcakes, beetroot brownies, courgette loaf – and whilst some do succeed, others just don’t seem to hit the mark to be sustainable but are part of a fad phase that goes as quickly as it came.

However I love finding those products that are not necessarily ‘super-foods’ but are healthy everyday ingredients that firms have combined to provide nutritional value. Whether that benefit is more protein or less cholesterol or lower carbohydrates, it’s interesting to witness the innovation and passion of companies to do good for consumers.  Of course, there are those mavericks who just say their products are healthy but actually really aren’t!

Much of the trend for this are energy balls which seem to be taking over the market to provide nutritional value in a snack-bite manner. The energy ball market seems to have exploded recently within the fitness world – however these are starting to seep into the mass-consumer market due to their convenience for time-constrained consumers; think breakfast-on-the-go or mid-morning snacks.

Vigor Protein Balls – Sample Pack (Date & Cacao, Peanut Butter, Lemon & Blueberry)

Rating: 7 out of 10

Appeals to: gym-goers, healthy-conscious eaters, time-restraint consumers!

Packaging

I love the packaging of these – they’re brightly coloured, small enough to hold in your hand and easy to store. My bug-bear with energy balls is that they usually come in a bag or a plastic tub and I always think they are going to get squashed in my bag.  However the sturdy cardboard material of this product lets me just throw it in my bag safe in the knowledge that when I dig it out later they will still be intact and not all squished together.  I also think the shape of the packaging is helpful too – easy to grip and hold in your hand.  I’m a huge fan of colour and love how the bright colours are eye-catching and pop out on a shelf or in your bag/cupboard.  The nutritional information and ingredients are easy to read and the fact you can see the product too is always a tick in my box.

Price

£5.99 for a sample pack of three via the company website. I think this is fair price as in each pack you receive 2 or 3 energy balls, plus a range of flavours.  If I just bought one pack for roughly £2 I would think I’m getting fair value for money in terms of quantity, and it’s in line with the price range for other products of the same ilk.

Delivery

I have tried a lot of protein based ‘treats’ during my time when I was really into my gym and work-out sessions. Quite frankly I found them difficult to eat and digest as they tasted like cardboard.  So I was slightly wary of trying these energy balls, especially as they are meant to be protein based.  However, although not totally bowled over I was pleasantly surprised as you could taste the flavours (peanut butter has the strongest).  However there is still the lingering dryness that is associated with many protein promoted products.  I don’t think many protein based products can get away with letting go of the dry taste,although these energy balls do try to at least have some genuine flavour in them rather than the majority which has either chocolate or caramel to try and cover the bland taste.  The peanut butter flavour is definitely the most flavoursome but the lemon and blueberry comes a close second- it’s refreshing to have a protein product with a fruit flavour.

Verdict: in a word – worth-a-try (3 words in 1!). These are a really good attempt to offer something different in the protein-based energy ball market.  There are a lot of protein products available yet these do stand out for packaging, different flavours and for appealing to all for a quick snack on the go.

Details: https://vigor-foods.com/

I would love to hear your thoughts if you have tried this product – feel free to leave comments below.

Guest Blogger: Mrs M.

About Me

As a person with a recently diagnosed sensitive digestive system, I’m now on a path to make sure I eat well whilst still enjoying myself. Having been fearful of food, I now love finding new products, going to new restaurants to try new twists on dishes and am constantly looking for quirky items to consume.  I’m a huge supporter of simple food that is made tasty with the right combination of ingredients and more importantly enjoying your food and diet in a balanced way.  That means I always have room for my favourite item – chocolate!

 

An egg-cellent replacer?

Eggs. That one simple word brings me so much joy.  I LOVE eggs.  Scrambled, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, poached, omelleted, mixing it with veg/salads/rice, fried over a crispy gluten-free toast…any concoction you can think of that would have eggs in or on it, I will devour.

Over the last year I have had to cut out a lot of foods but I refused to cut out eggs – I had read about the dangerous effects of eggs – too many will cause you cholesterol, hard-boiled will cause you constipation, non-organic will be pumped full of chemicals, organic eggs are smaller and so forth. However for some reason I never bought into the horrors of eggs as I did with other food products.  I saw them as my one thing that my digestive system couldn’t take away from me and out of sheer stubbornness refused to give them up.

Now as the market trend points towards veganism, with more and more people adopting this lifestyle –I also contemplated it. But the thought of giving up eggs was the one thing I couldn’t quite fully accept.  My mind-set had become so stuck in eggs being a saviour for me that letting go of it seemed impossible.

So I did what any other rational person would do – I googled! Searches showed me of course replacements for eggs in baking and cooking but I couldn’t seem to find an alternative to eating eggs as they were.  Then as the universe would have it, I was offered to review a product that seemed to hear my plea for non-egg eggs. It was also combatting the bad things I heard about eggs such as being cholesterol free and providing fibre as well so was definitely worth a try.

Orgran Vegan Easy Egg

Rating: 7 out of 10

Appeals to: vegans, free-from consumers.

Packaging

The product comes in a bright yellow (naturally) rectangular cardboard box, large enough to make it feel like a substantial size but yet still small enough to be able to pour/tip the product. My first impressions was that it did not look like an egg carton which made me contemplate how could I make boiled eggs from this?!  The writing on the front clearly pointed out all the free-from benefits (it’s not only egg-free but gluten-free, wheat free, dairy free, soy free and yeast free), however the box was covered in writing on all sides making it a little difficult to read the main pointers you need.  Instructions on the back of the box explaining how to make the product with graphics were very helpful.

Price

£4.45. I was kindly provided some samples but a quick search online showed me the price range and it felt quite high.  Although the packaging details that the product is equivalent to 15 eggs, it still seems vegan/free from products will continue to carry the high price tag as it’s not a mainstream lifestyle.

Delivery

The product itself is a flour-based mix. You need to add water and oil to it, to then be able to make a mixture.  This you would then cook as you would normally cook scrambled eggs, an omelette or even make a frittata or quiche.  However if you fancy boiled or poached – this obviously isn’t the answer for that!  It is as quick and easy as it is to whisk eggs.  The taste however is not quite as straight-forward, it tasted a little stringy.  On a second batch I added in some other herbs and spices which whilst covering it up could not deter from the rubbery taste.  Looking at the ingredients I could understand why there was a chewy-feel to it – with a host of stabilisers in the product it may not be the most nutritional of products but for a quick breakfast or evening meal it does the job.  Add a few spices or flavourings to it and it’s a go-to product on those days when you just don’t have enough time.  Whilst not quite tasting the same as eggs, I can see how this can be a replacer for those who don’t want to or cannot tolerate eggs.

Verdict: in a word – easy. This is a go-to quick and easy food item.  However if you’re looking for taste then it maybe doesn’t quite hit the mark.  Spice it up with herbs and flavours and it may just be enough.

Details: http://www.orgran.com/products/vegan-easy-egg-2/

I would love to hear your thoughts if you have tried this product – feel free to leave comments below.

Guest Blogger: Mrs M.

About Me

As a person with a recently diagnosed sensitive digestive system, I’m now on a path to make sure I eat well whilst still enjoying myself. Having been fearful of food, I now love finding new products, going to new restaurants to try new twists on dishes and am constantly looking for quirky items to consume.  I’m a huge supporter of simple food that is made tasty with the right combination of ingredients and more importantly enjoying your food and diet in a balanced way.  That means I always have room for my favourite item – chocolate!

 

Free-From Fudge Fun!

As a free-from eater I have grown used to passing (also read as – missing out) on food items. Whilst there are now an abundance of free-from items available , there are still many branded goods that I cannot eat – wagon wheels, walkers crisps, cadbury’s chocolate fingers to name a few.  Alternatives are of course available, but sometimes you want the real mccoy.

However one growing trend of the free-from market is the up-take of established brands to cater for the variety of food consumers that now make up the marketplace. Many branded food manufacturers are now going the extra mile to make their popular edible products available in dairy free and/or gluten free options too.

This is great news for ‘fussy-eaters’ like myself – we actually do get to have our cake and eat it. But alongside the obvious benefit of enjoying the real deal, there is a deeper benefit to this trend.  By companies going out of their way to include free-from eaters as part of their clientele, they are making their own attempts to create a more inclusive society.  The amount of times I have felt ‘left out’ because I couldn’t enjoy the same items as friends or family from gifts or eating out are too numerous to count.  So when companies expand their range – they are doing much more than building their own business, they are giving joy to thousands of free-from consumers who have for far too long not been able to enjoy branded products.

northernmunkeebites.fudgekitchen2Fudge Kitchen – Dairy-free fudge, Dairy-free drinking fudge and sugar-free peanut brittle.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Appeals to: dairy-free consumers and fudge lovers!

Packaging

All 3 of these products come packaged slightly differently…

A selection of the dairy-free fudge in 4 different flavours came wrapped up in a luxury deep chocolate brown box – making it a perfect gift, for others or yourself. With gold lettering and minimal detail, it adds to air of mystery. Ingredients are listed on the bottom – so discreet. Each slice of fudge was individually wrapped in tissue paper, and the smell as you opened the box….sigh!

The dairy-free drinking fudge was a selection of again, different flavours, in a small boxnorthernmunkeebites.fudgekitchen3 with strips of colour dripping down the white coloured box. Pleasing to the eye and again giving off an air of luxury it would not go amiss in a gift hamper, or displayed proudly in your kitchen.  Each sachet is carefully packed inside making it easy to select which flavour you fancy.

The sugar-free peanut brittle is boxed in a light tan colour with minimalist writing. northernmunkeebites.fudgekitchen1The golden writing makes this a luxurious product but on a more accessible level.  It feels like it’s a box you would reach for when you have a few hours to yourself to indulge.

Price

£16.00 for a 4 slice dairy-free fudge box.

£10.00 for dairy-free drinking fudge

£6.50 for sugar free peanut brittle

The price points for the products are aimed at the more discerning consumer. Whilst they are appear at the higher end of the price range, these are artisan products and considering this, the price range seems fair.  What makes it fair value as well is that these products are not to be consumed in one go but rather to be enjoyed slowly and over time.  This makes the price points far more reasonable.

Delivery

Each of these products are exquisite. There’s no two ways about it – the care and craftsmanship gone into produce these products make your taste buds come alive.

Out of the 4 flavours, I have only tasted the dairy-free sea salted caramel fudge as yet, but it took a lot of willpower not to devour this in one go. The mix of crunch on the first bite with a soft centre makes this a tasting sensation. There are also pieces of sea-salt mixed within the fudge which provides different textures as  you let this sit on your tongue to melt slowly.  It surprised me this was dairy-free as the rich taste of it made me think there must be milk in it but there definitely isn’t – so there was no difference in taste of this versus a dairy-full fudge.

The dairy-free drinking fudge is no different. A rich luxurious hot drink this oozes flavour and warms the whole body – with serious contentment.  I had the cinnamon spice flavour and although its summer, it just made me wish for winter so that I can enjoy this again in front of a roaring fire!

Sugar-free peanut brittle – this was the surprise product for me. Although not a fudge-based product, the company are clearly trying to cater for different tastes.  The snap of peanut coated in a sugar-free caramel base provided me with a moor-ish new snack that had no different in taste despite using sugar alternatives.  Letting this melt in your mouth literally allows you to truly experience the different textures of crunch against gooey-ness.

Verdict: in a word – exquisite. These products are for luxury moments.  The self-indulgence of the fudge and the peanut brittle makes these ideal for treating – yourself or others.  What makes these extra special is the fact that you can consume these knowing you are not missing out on taste but can experience the same delight as a dairy-free consumer.

Details: http://www.fudgekitchen.co.uk/index.asp

I would love to hear your thoughts if you have tried this product – feel free to leave comments below.

Guest Blogger: Mrs. M.

About Me

As a person with a recently diagnosed sensitive digestive system, I’m now on a path to make sure I eat well whilst still enjoying myself. Having been fearful of food, I now love finding new products, going to new restaurants to try new twists on dishes and am constantly looking for quirky items to consume.  I’m a huge supporter of simple food that is made tasty with the right combination of ingredients and more importantly enjoying your food and diet in a balanced way.  That means I always have room for my favourite item – chocolate!

 

Ooh-La-La Tea Biscuits!

As a gluten-free eater, there are some things I really miss. One of those is dunking biscuits into tea.  There is nothing better or more soothing that timing the moment of how long you dunk before the biscuit becomes soggy and drops!

When I became gluten-free this appeared to be one of the perks I had to give up. People think it’s the food we miss, but sometimes it’s the memories and actions associated with the foods that are the biggest losses.  I did of course find other things to replace with tea/biscuit dunking including the bliss of dunking chocolate to let it melt over my fingers, but there was always something missing as it wasn’t a biscuit.

Of course the market must have clocked on to this fact as there then arrived an abundance of gluten free treats, including biscuits and the return of tea/biscuit dunking was back. Alas, these biscuits just were not up to the scratch, they tasted like cardboard and even worse, the seconds to dunking were longer so you could never time it just right.  Plus so many of these gluten-free treats were just round balls of sugar and taste was compromised.

Then popped up another market – healthier free from treats. Lower sugar, more fibre, healthier ways of baking etc.  Whilst I scoffed again at some of the products, a few caught my eye.  Although I have made a personal decision to cut down on treats generally, it does feel nice to know that when I do want to have a healthier gluten free treat, there’s an increasing market of naturally good treats where companies are genuinely trying to look out for health AND focus on taste too.

northernmunkeebites.808rhythm1 Rhythm108 Ooh-la-la Tea Biscuits – Coconut Cookie

Rating: 9 out of 10

Appeals to: free-from lovers, healthy-conscious eaters and tea/biscuit dunkers

Packaging

These packs of biscuits screamed out to me. Whilst I didn’t source these from supermarket shelves (I was kindly provided with some samples) I was overjoyed when I opened the box as they were so colourful! The bright pinks, turquoises and pastel colours completely played to colour palette and if I were to see them on the shelves then yes definitely I would be attracted to them.  The material of the packaging itself was good – it felt like I would be purchasing purchased a high quality product, plus was easy to open – always one of my bear-bugs. I then saw that the packaging was home compostable so for those who are environmentally conscious – another win. I was also happy to see simple ingredients listed on the packet in an easy-to-read manner. A big tick on all fronts re packaging.

Price

£2.99 – I was kindly provided some samples but a quick search online showed me the price range and I was impressed.  So impressed I have purchased these again.  The sharing packets lasted a few days in my house, despite having a husband who scoffs biscuits like they’re grapes, so definitely value for money.

Delivery

These are moor-ish with a capital M! I could not stop myself from snacking on these.  Whilst they are still snacks, I reasoned with myself they are healthier treats so allowed myself to just eat as many as I could in one go! The other huge win for me was that these were not only gluten free, but also dairy free and refined sugars and using organic ingredients – for a fussy eater like me, this was an item I could eat safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have reactions later.  I truly did indulge, so much that I had to hide a packet of these so that my husband wouldn’t finish them.  Even he could not notice any difference between gluten biscuits and these gluten-free biscuits and was quick to keep on taking them.The taste was spot on – exactly what a coconut biscuit should taste like – crumbly yet softened when dunked in tea.  Plus the flavouring of coconut was just right for me, I love coconut and can’t get enough but didn’t feel this overwhelmed the whole taste.

Verdict: in a word – delicious! These are definitely my new to-go biscuits now. They hit all the right spots for free-from AND non free-from consumers as well as just getting the taste bang on.  Not only were they healthy but they gave me back one of my greatest missed moments – tea/biscuit dunking.

Details: https://www.rhythm108.com/

I would love to hear your thoughts if you have tried this product – feel free to leave comments below.

Guest Blogger: Mrs. M.

About Me

As a person with a recently diagnosed sensitive digestive system, I’m now on a path to make sure I eat well whilst still enjoying myself. Having been fearful of food, I now love finding new products, going to new restaurants to try new twists on dishes and am constantly looking for quirky items to consume.  I’m a huge supporter of simple food that is made tasty with the right combination of ingredients and more importantly enjoying your food and diet in a balanced way.  That means I always have room for my favourite item – chocolate!

 

 

 

Purchasing For Disordered Eating Habits

This is going to be a rather vulnerable and personal post.

 From qualified specialists to social influencers – I am tired of the buzz words that become le mot du jour – wellness, intuitive eating, clean eating, healthy eating, paleo, low carb, keto diet and so the list goes on.

This is quite a revelation for me, someone who has over the past 18 months (not to mention on and off across the years) restricted their food intake, both in terms of calories and types of food to try and solve health issues. Only to find out those health issues have not got better but instead deteriorated.  So I have decided to stop listening so much to others and start tuning into my body and listening to what it needs.

But boy is that hard. I am currently going through a tumultuous time with food.  From guilt to elatedness to over-bingeing back to guilt.  It’s hard work and it’s taking its toll – on my mind and my body.  But I am determined to listen to myself – no one knows your body better than you know it.  Yet what I’ve realised is that this needs to be in baby steps.  Disordered eating and unhealthy relationship with food is not something that can be undone overnight or with one week of eating whatever you want.  Instead it needs to be approached slowly as you’re dealing with various different elements – the conscious and the sub-conscious.

So I will still be looking at the ‘healthier’ sections of the store no doubt as this will be the first step. As much as I’d love to go get a box of hobnobs, my mind and my body is not there yet.   I’ll still be eating gluten free for the moment as my body does react to this but I won’t be looking at any more ingredients list but instead allowing my body to choose my food shopping.  I may still also choose free-from foods but in the vein that they sound tasty.  The aim is to purchase (and eat!) a packet of gluten free hobnobs without feeling the guilt.

northernmunkeebites.cru8_1CRU8 – Paleo Banana Courgette Loaf

Appeals to: Everyone!

Rating: 8 out of 10

Packaging

I found the packaging a little flimsy in that it’s in cellophane packaging with the sleeve covering most of the product as a sticker. The product itself feels heavy so having this in a bag didn’t add much confidence that it could be protected in a bag but rather be squashed.  I didn’t read through the nutritional info nor the list of ingredients but from a quick glance at the sleeve this was easily available to read.  The logo of the 8 also wasn’t that obvious as to what it was, it just looked like two circles and the name of the brand folded over the packaging so not the easiest to read.  It’s also quite difficult to open the bag without scissors.  I had to store this wrapped in foil in the fridge as the bag just ripped.

Price

£4.99 (Planet Organic). The clever placing of this product next to smaller treats which are similarly priced does make you think you’re getting more value for your money.  It is a large-ish size so again you’re fooled into thinking this is substantia, yet when you compare it to loaves of bread or other similar products it does seem slightly steep and perhaps not as large as you first think.

Delivery

The product delivers on its flavours. I was expecting a dry cake but it was actually really soft and moist.  I was also hesitant about courgette in a sweet food product but it actually tasted great and it was more so the banana you tasted as the main flavour.  It felt just like you were eating banana bread even though it was gluten free, grain free etc.  It is extremely more-ish and with a dollop of almond butter is a filling snack in between meals or as a dessert.  What’s more it lasted 3 – 4 days and that was with good sized slices so I was impressed with that.  I’d definitely recommend this with a good cup of tea.

Verdict: In a word – fulfilling. You don’t feel at all deprived when eating this version of a banana cake and it’s really tasty, so much that I bought it again after I’d finished and it was enjoyed by non-gluten free members of my family too.

Details: http://www.cru8foods.co.uk/index.php

I’d love to hear whether you’ve tried this and what you thought! Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Guest Blogger: Mrs. M.

About Me

As a person with a recently diagnosed sensitive digestive system, I’m now on a path to make sure I eat well whilst still enjoying myself. Having been fearful of food, I now love finding new products, going to new restaurants to try new twists on dishes and am constantly looking for quirky items to consume.  I’m a huge supporter of simple food that is made tasty with the right combination of ingredients and more importantly enjoying your food and diet in a balanced way.  That means I always have room for my favourite item – chocolate!