Welcome to January’s foodie picks featuring a hand-picked selection of lovely things that have caught my attention in the last month. From good reads to gin, popcorn to brownies, there are some great things to hunt out or explore. Whether you fancy a bit of indulgence, or need some inspiration for foodie-related gifts, you’ve come to the right place.
Whilst some of you may have been following Dry January, clearly I have not…However, I have been quite good on the snacking front and I’ve increased my gym time and have finally set up my FitBit – hooray!
Over Christmas, I really enjoyed making cocktails with a special edition of Williams Extra Dry Gin and whilst sipping away, I managed to snatch a few quiet moments to began reading all about the process of making vodka and gin (from apples and potatoes!) through a beautiful book called The Great Chase by William Chase. This is precisely the sort of farming that I’d be very much up for.
Britain’s first single-estate distillery is based on a family farm in Herefordshire where they grow King Edward and Lady Claire potatoes to make their Chase Vodka, as well as cider apples for their Naked Chase Apple Vodka and Williams Gin. The company, led by William Chase, went from supplying spuds to supermarkets to making award-winning spirits, and are intensely proud of their field to bottle approach. Quite rightly so…
My pick of their two best products are their Chase Rhubarb Vodka and their Williams Grapefruit Gin.
The rhubarb vodka is a rose tinted pink elixir. It’s just on the right side of sweet and goes amazingly well with a good quality natural ginger ale. Herefordshire grown rhubarb is stewed and then distilled into their classic Chase Vodka – a marriage made in heaven.
When making a gin and tonic, I often slice up a fresh grapefruit and drop it into my glass but Williams Grapefruit Gin takes this one step further by infusing the grapefruit peel into the gin along with hints of juniper. It is definitely worth a try.
Explore more about their field to bottle process here, it’s truly inspiring:
Plus, take a look at some of their lovely cocktail recipes next time you’re hosting a party.
Willy Chase’s Fit Pop Corn and Willy’s ACV
Hint: don’t try saying that sentence after a few glasses of William Chase’s gin.
Diversification in farming is becoming more and more important if businesses and brands are to thrive and so William Chase has cleverly combined the art of making vodka, gin and cider with the art of making popcorn.
William Chase have just started to introduce a produce a range of health-focussed products including Fit Pop Corn, wholegrain air popped corn made by hand on the Herefordshire farm, along with their Apple Cider Vinegar – which I’ve been very keen to try for some time.
Guilt-free because it’s air popped (not fried) and with gorgeously grown-up flavours like Smoky Bloody Mary and Salted Honey which are all created using locally sourced ingredients, what’s not to love?! I tried the apple cider vinegar ‘Fit Corn’ made with The Mother (which refers to strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria within Apple Cider Vinegar). I loved the subtle ‘salt and vinegary’ flavours that came through. At just 94 calories a packet, they’re definitely worth a pop (!)
Apple Cider Vinegar is possibly going to be this year’s next big thing so get your hands on some of Willy’s special brand of ACV, which is biorganic, unpasturised, raw and gluten free. It’s made from their 300 year old cider orchards in Ledbury and contains the aforementioned Mother.
The health benefits gleaned from the proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria within Apple Cider Vinegar are pretty incredible:
• Aiding weight loss
• Improving digestion
• Maintaining healthy skin and hair
• Maintaining a healthy alkaline state
• Relief from Arthritic symptoms
• Supporting the normal function of the immune system
You can add it to salad dressings or add a couple of tablespoons of ACV into some warm water with a touch of honey. I’ve heard it’s best to drink this tonic before bed, with a little cube or two of cheese…
And onto something a little more indulgent…
I’ve sampled a new range of products including her new Salted Caramel Sauce, Chocolate Brownies and Cocoa Shortbreads, called Nankhatai. These are gently spiced shortbreads, which are handmade in small batches. They are traditionally served with Masala chai for breakfast, although I quite enjoy them during the afternoon with a cup of milky tea. They also make a lovely wrapped gift for teachers or as a thank you. They are very light and crumbly in texture. Little people love them too!
Chin’s Salted Caramel Sauce was almost gone the moment the lid got taken off. It was incredibly more-ish, velvety smooth and with just the right balance of sweetness. I stirred a spoonful into my hot chocolate and the children had the brilliant ideas of trying some on hot buttered crumpets. Slightly warmed, it also served as the perfect accompaniment to Chin’s chocolate brownies.
Chin’s Indian-inspired cakes are also genuinely stunning and it’s wonderful to see that Chin is growing her home-based business and diversifying, too.
That’s it for January. I hope you like some of the products featured and that you get to try them.
With thanks to Chase Distillery, Willy’s Chase and Chin’s Kitchen for the review items. Photographs my own. I was not expected to write positively about any items received.