Taste Box - Results, feedback and poll March 2018

13-04-2018

Katie VennerIn March 2018, Womersley was invited to take part in a taste test trial, along with other food brands.
Our bottles were sent out to 25 consumers and food writers/bloggers who were invited to try them and send in their feedback and recipes…

Click to read the results.

Kombucha – a good old-fashioned tonic with a surprising sparkle

25-02-2018

Katie VennerVeganuary and Dry-January may be over and we may have slipped back into our old ways, but a new habit may also be forming as we get a taste for a complex, slightly sour and lightly carbonated drink that hails from the Far East over 2000 years ago. The new (but clearly not so new) kid on the chiller shelves is Kombucha aka Booch, Kombucha Tea, Tea Kvass, and many other folk names. Kombucha is a non-alcoholic or low alcohol drink which has been part of the folk medicine tradition in Russia for centuries where it was known as the ‘elixir of life’ and brewed at home from a Kombucha ‘mushroom’ or SCOBY, a Symbiotic Community of Bacteria and Yeasts, with black or green tea and sugar. Kombucha’s claimed health giving properties include its probiotics (good bacteria) and a range of organic acids that help digestion and detoxify the body restoring balance and well-being. More extravagant claims are made for Kombucha including for skin disorders, asthma, joint problems and as a cure for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but they are not as yet scientifically recognised.

Luckily the best thing about Kombucha is its taste – simply brewed at home (yes, this is possible – have a look on-line for Kombucha SCOBY’s) it is a light a fresh, sweet/sour sipping, rather than glugging drink that holds its own well against an alcoholic aperitif especially when you dress it up with ice and a slice. Even more exciting are the myriad flavours that Kombucha takes up so well with a second ferment – also increasing the fizz. Any mix of fruit/herb/spice is possible and compared to the US and Australia where they have been sipping Kombucha for years and experimenting with wild flavour combinations, a quick survey of the UK makers’ flavours seems quite tame; London’s Thirsty House Kombucha has a Beetroot and Ginger and a Rose Kombucha, Love Kombucha has a Blueberry and Ginger and Lime, Bath Culture House has a Hibiscus Flower and a Jasmine Flower flavour. Really the opportunities for invention for the home brewer are limitless; my current favourite is fennel and apple although I made a cracking cinnamon and spice Kombucha for Christmas. Adding wild berries and herbs gives an added nutritional and flavour boost.

While it’s reported that Australia reached ‘peak-Kombucha’ production in 2017, UK producers are still growing in number with small-batch producers dominating the scene and Kombucha (and other fermented foods like Kimchi and Sauerkraut) identified as a key food and drink trend. Kombucha bars are popping up – outside of London try Anna-Loka in Cardiff, and Farmers’ Markets are good places to search out the small producers. I found Glastonbury Ferments selling a Hibiscus and Ginger Kombucha in Wells’ Wednesday market this week at £6 for 1 ltr and offering tasters in the chill February air. Whether you buy it ready made or try experimenting at home with your own SCOBY, I predict this Summer everyone will be Boocha-crazy.

Katie Venner is a West Country fermenting enthusiast who runs classes for beginners in all things fermented in Somerset www.tracebridgesourdough.co.uk and takes samples to taste to Frome Independent Market the first Sunday of every month.

At Tried & Tested we love a bargain !

23-11-2017

Who doesn’t ! Andrew Mellon loves to find “the best for less” and share this with T&T community. He has a nose for sniffing out a bargain and loves a challenge to find deals all around the World. Catch up on Andrew’s shopping tips with this great article in The Sunday Telegraphs Stella Magazine, and keep an eye out for the amazing deals he finds.

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