Every so often, you find a product that you really like. I figure it’s worth telling you about these things.
I was in Parnell yesterday and dropped into La Cigale French Markets to pick some breakfast and some fresh fruit and veg. While I was wandering around, I came across a table laden with some of the most visually stunning hand made chocolate I’ve ever seen. Bonbons, bars, chocolate almonds and bags of cocoa nibs adorn their stand, and it took a great deal of willpower not to buy one of everything.
Unsurprisingly, we completely caved and ended up buying one of every kind of bonbon they had on display. They have eight different flavours, ranging from toasted fennel seed at the savoury end, to salted caramel and lychee and rosewater at the sweet.
Honest Chocolat’s Nico Bonnaud uses 70% cocoa solids in his artisinal products. They’re small batch (which I always love) and contain only natural ingredients.
Anyone who knows me knows I am OBSESSED with good bacon. I had all but given up hope of finding bacon that vaguely measured up at the supermarket. My quality criteria are simple:
- Locally produced
- No preservatives
- Doesn’t leach out water while cooking (some providers inject water into their product to increase the weight for sale)
I should also add free range to this list. Sadly, Henderson’s Bacon doesn’t mention how
their pigs are farmed on the packaging, which probably doesn’t mean great things. If you can get past that, this bacon ticks a lot of boxes.
Henderson’s are based in Glenfield. Their ingredients list contains pork, sea salt and brown sugar. That’s it. It’s dry cured, so when it’s cooked, it crisps up beautifully without any water running into the pan.
The manuka smoke adds fantastic flavour. This is the bacon I used in my minestrone and it imparted a lovely smokey flavour throughout the soup.
Henderson’s is available at supermarkets throughout New Zealand. They also produce ham, which I have to say I am mighty keen to try. You can read Wendyl Nissen’s review here.
HANDMADE TURKISH BREAD
Sometimes you want “fresh” bread. If you can add garlic to it, so much the better. Sadly, many of the par-cooked bread products on supermarket shelves are full of chemicals and preservatives.
In an ideal world, I’d be baking my own bread, but often it gets to mid-afternoon, I’m still deciding what I want to make for dinner, and I’ve left my run too late. Enter Turkish Bread.
This is a par-baked vacuum packed bread, that comes in plain, garlic or garlic and cheese (YUM!) varieties. The great news is that they have no preservatives at all, all the ingredients are easily identifiable, and it’s locally made (this time in Henderson). Easy to bake too – just 6 minutes in a moderate oven, or 1 minute in a sandwich press.
These guys also do a range of thin pizza bases, which last well in the fridge, and are a great stand-by for meal emergencies. You can find them at most supermarkets in the chiller section.