Craft beer, gin, maple water, pies and more – a few of this month’s favourite products.

Drink Maple

It’s time for another monthly round-up of the favourite products I’ve been sent.

We should all drink more water, probably me more than most but I just don’t like it so when something new comes along to tempt my taste buds and sway me into consuming more I’ll give it a go. We’ve all heard about the benefits of drinking coconut water and cucumber water but maple water? I didn’t know there was such a thing. Turns out maple water is the new kid on the block. So new in fact that as of today there has been no major scientific research into the benefits – it’s too soon to measure long lasting effects.

What is known about maple water is this – it has 46 nutrients and is harvested seasonally from maple trees (of course) with the running sap being the only ingredient. It is high in manganese, lower in sugar than coconut water, a good source of calcium and contains anti-oxidants, minerals, pre-biotics and loads more besides. The question is what did it taste like? Actually it tasted pretty good. There was just a subtle hint of that maple taste and I don’t know whether it was my imagination or not but it felt like it definitely quenched my thirst more than regular water. Overall a winner, I would rather drink this than regular water any day.

Craft beers from Sharp's Brewery, Cornwall

Craft beers from Sharp’s Brewery, Cornwall

These beers from the Connoisseurs Range were a great pick me up after a disappointing night out. Sometimes I find craft beers to be a bit heavy or to have a bitter after taste, these did not and were very easy to drink. Made from excellent quality ingredients and marrying leading technologies with simple craftsmanship it’s easy to see why these beers in particular have won awards. Of the three my favourite by far was the 6 Vintage Blend. Sweet, smoky yet a good, clean finish. The Honey Spice IPA has also been matched with a recipe from Michelin chef Nathan Outlaw for crispy pork belly. They are running a competition if you want to have a go at matching one of their beers to a dish. Open to anyone who wants to send in their recipe match, the prize is a 2 day cookery masterclass with the afore-mentioned Nathan. You can upload your recipe to Competition closes 3rd September.

Who doesn't love a pie!

Who doesn’t love a pie!

My local farmers market is always buzzing on a Saturday morning and one of my favourite stands is the one selling these gorgeous pies! I am never disappointed when I stop by Sunita’s stall, there is always a diverse range of flavours and products to try. From traditional British pies to quiches, dessert pies and anything else your pastry loving heart desires. All seasonal, all packed with ingredients and a lovely treat in my belly now that those autumnal nights are setting in. The farmers market in Twickenham is situated in the Holly Rd carpark should you want to go and check it out for yourself.

Gluten-free range from Walkers

Gluten-free range from Walkers

Before I started doing a monthly round-up I was lucky enough to try the new gluten-free range from Walker’s Shortbread. They were so good I have decided they need a mention on here too. The gluten-free range includes Original, Chocolate Chip & Ginger and Lemon. They were all delicious, crisp and light – I am partial to a bit of shortbread, its my favourite biscuit treat with a good cuppa. My pick of the bunch were the ginger and lemon, nice pieces of ginger but not over-powering, slight hint of lemon and all the butteryness you would expect from Walker’s. A definite winner!

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Now, you all know I like a little gin, it’s my favourite tipple, so I am rather dubious when someone hails to have the next big thing on the gin market. To me the sign of a great gin is whether you can drink it neat or not. Many commercially produced gins leave a cloying, bitter aftertaste when drunk this way so I was interested to see what Half Hitch (a micro distillery in Camden Market) had to offer. Now, I’m not going to big-up them just because they gave me some to try and take home, I’m going to big-up them because the gin was bloody fantastic! Not you’re traditional flavoured gin, this one is made using tinctures, primarily tea and citrus bergamot and yes you can taste them in the product. Made on site in time honoured copper pots and using the modern method of vacuum distillation, this gin is smooth and very easy to drink. I reckon to drink it neat or on the rocks is the best way to appreciate the taste. The flavour of each of the ingredients is distinct and I think I’ve found my new favourite as far as gin is concerned, now if only it was available in my local supermarket!

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