Last month, I popped along to the Waitrose new product showcase at Chiltern Studios, near Baker Street. What a perfect way to spend an afternoon feasting on new nibbles, mouth-watering meats and sipping on summer coolers.
In my mind, summer barbecues and whiling away afternoons with a gin and tonic seemed rather optimistic considering the freezing weather we had earlier that month, but simply stepping into the courtyard – complete with outdoor barbecue – sparked my imagination and set my stomach rumbling.
Waitrose is soon to launch its brand new barbecue meats range – a must buy for any foodie and perfect for parties. On the menu, we were served a selection of the South Carolina Pork Belly, Heston’s Barbecue Beef Rib and a delicious North West Carolina Pork Shoulder. A personal favourite of mine was the Morrocan lamb merguez sausage – just one section of the Waitrose Moroccan Selection Box (£9.99), together with the Lamb and Apricot Kebabs and Sweet and Spicy Lamb Koftas. Meaty and substantial, this merguez is hard to beat. A slender lamb sausage seasoned with traditional herbs and spices, I particularly liked the fact that the skin wasn’t too thick. All the flavours have been inspired by various trips to the US and Northern Africa, where the meat buyers immerse themselves in the techniques, culture and traditions of marinating meat as well as studying the various ways to serve it.
What I really loved about this new barbecue range, is its versatility – each meat easily eaten in a slider (mini burger), in a wrap or even on its own. Every mouthful was deliciously juicy and packed with flavour – mainly a vinegary taste, a certain tang that enhanced the meat. I would love to be able to slow cook my own food but unfortunately with such a busy schedule, it tends not to be very practical – this is why this new range is just fab!
Along the Moroccan theme, Waitrose is also launching four new salads in new oval pots – perfect for a grab and go bite to eat. I am generally lost for what to eat for lunch so these new fresh salads are a great option for healthy eats. The Summer Salad with Sweet Elderflower Dressing sounds like an interesting combination which I am eager to try.
I am a gin fan at heart so was delighted to be handed a large cocktail glass, mixed with Waitrose’s new flavoured fresh juice – apple, mango and ginger – together with brand new Bombay Sapphire East. This new gin takes the classic Bombay gin, distils it eighteen times and adds two differentiating botanicals – lemongrass and Vietnamese black peppercorns. The acidity of the fresh juice took away the bitterness of the juniper berries and the lemongrass adds a spicy citrus punch that is particularly warming. I would certainly try this version again!
Finally to round off the evening, was a whole host of delicious sweet treats, namely statement cakes, biscuits, chilled desserts and jellies. Launching in September is this fabulous Teapot Cake (£45.00 and 7 day ordering time). I was lucky enough to try one of retro inspired oversized party rings – a yummy shortbread circle topped with thick icing. The shortbread was perfectly crumbly and light, I did feel that the icing was a tad on the thick side and very sweet. Keep your eyes peeled for the large custard crème and bourbon biscuits too – very 90s!
Thanks again to the Waitrose press team for the invitation. Do let me know if you spot any of the new range in store this summer!