Manfood Christmas gifting range: Review

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Please note: I received free products from Manfood to review, but this in no way impacted my opinion. I was not obliged to write a positive review, and the company did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

Whether it’s for family or friends, a secret Santa recipient or even as a spare Christmas gift “just in case”, foodie gifts are always a great shout for the festive season. The hard part? Choosing exactly what to buy.

Partners – both in life and in business – Andre Dang and Jon Honeyball believe they have the solution. Their brand – Manfood – stemmed from the discovery that, when raiding the fridge for a quick snack after getting home, supermarket jars of pickles just weren’t cutting the mustard. Sick of bland, mushy pickles, Andre made his own piccalilli, and with Jon encouraging him to sell it, the Manfood brand was born.

They then expanded to Bread and Butter Pickles and a Smokey Tomato Sauce, and now have well over 20 different products in their range. There are options suitable for all occasions, from cheese platters to fridge buffets to decadent breakfasts, and now Jon and Andre have a great range of gift packs on offer, too. Starting from £9.95 for three jars, there’s a gift for all occasions. The BBQ Trio (Beer Barbecue Sauce, Korean Barbecue Sauce and Buffalo Sauce) is perfect for those who love outdoor grilling, while the Christmas Ham Essentials set (Chipotle Honey Mustard, Orange & Ginger Ham Glaze and Cumberland Sauce) can be used for Boxing Day and beyond.

With 13 different gift sets available, there’s plenty of choice. I was sent three to test out…here’s what I thought…

Manfood Gift Set 1: Cheese Essentials

What better way to test the Cheese Essentials gift box (£9.95) out than with a cheese and charcuterie platter for dinner?

 

Manfood Gift Sets - Cheese Essentials 3

 

It was my first attempt at making an Insta-worthy grazing platter, I actually impressed myself! And the Cheese Essentials set – Ale Chutney, Beer Jelly and Pear, Ginger & Fig Chutney – was a great addition.

The Ale Chutney had a lovely spiced smell, which translated through to its warming flavour, the apple and plum coming through nicely. It was good and chunky in texture – which I love in a chutney.

The Beer Jelly isn’t something I’d personally normally choose, but I was pleasantly surprised. It had an almost Horlicks-like maltiness to both its smell and flavour, and a decent amount of sweetness – definitely one I’d pair with a strong, sharp cheese, like an extra-mature Cheddar.

The Pear, Ginger & Fig Chutney was my favourite of the three. Again, it was nice and chunky, with a good textural contrast between the soft fruits and more solid sultanas. It had a super Christmassy flavour, with a great tang, a good hit of cardamom and ginger, and the fig being the predominant fruit flavour.

Manfood Gift Set 2: Christmas Sandwich Kit

I don’t know about you, but the Christmas dinner sandwich is a big tradition in our family…the more substantial, the better! Turkey, stuffing, leftover veg, pigs in blankets, maybe some gammon…there’s no limit as to what works well inside!

I’d definitely include all three of the products in Manfood’s Christmas Sandwich Kit (£9.95), though. I normally have cranberry sauce on one side of the bread and mayo on the other, so to have a gift set that includes Smokey Garlic Mayo and Cranberry, Orange & Chilli Sauce, as well as Gin Pickles as an added bonus, is great!

 

Manfood Gift Sets - Christmas Sandwich Kit

 

Of course, it’s not Christmas yet – but I replicated the Christmas dinner sandwich with leftovers from a Sunday roast, including all three of the Manfood products.

On one side of the bread, Manfood’s Smokey Garlic Mayo: a good, thick mayonnaise flecked with mustard seeds and with a good garlicky aroma. The garlic itself was nice and strong, the mayo rich and creamy, and just a mild hint of smokiness coming through.

On the other side, the Cranberry, Orange & Chilli sauce – a great alternative to the regular stuff we buy. You’ll smell the chilli as soon as you open the jar – unsurprising, when you spot the chilli seeds nestled in the thick, jelly-like sauce! Again, we loved the texture – the whole cranberries added a great juiciness – and while the orange flavour was quite faint, the chilli heat definitely built up towards the end.

Finally, a sprinkle of the Cucumber Gin Pickles: thin slivers of gherkin and shallot with a delicious crunch. Mildly spiced and sweet rather than too zingy, you can definitely taste the gin in the pickling juices – give the jar a good stir before you serve, as there are whole spices at the bottom, too.

Manfood Gift Set 3: Whisky Lover’s Trio

The final of the three gift sets was the Whisky Lover’s Trio (£9.95): a trio of whisky-based jams and marmalades that would make a great gift for a whisky lover! Turns out they’re all pretty good on crumpets and pancakes…

 

Manfood Gift Sets - Whisky Lover's Trio

 

I could definitely smell the whisky in the Whisky Marmalade. Light in colour, with relatively few shreds of orange peel, it was deliciously bitter, the whisky certainly present, but not overpoweringly so.

The Raspberry Old Fashioned Jam was just how jam should be: thick and syrupy, with plenty of raspberry seeds (is there anything worse than runny, artificially flavoured jam with no texture at all?) Deep, rich red in colour, again the whisky was easy to detect, but it complimented the raspberries nicely. I reckon this would be great stirred through porridge or rice pudding.

The Hot Toddy Marmalade was everything you’d expect from a hot toddy, in a spreadable format! I’d not had a lemon marmalade prior to this, but this stuff was good: a warming combination of lemon, honey, whisky and ginger. Rich yellow in colour and with a strong, zingy lemon smell and flavour, there were plenty of shreds of lemon peel throughout – and the warmth of the ginger and the whisky gave that real hot toddy flavour.

 

Overall, I was impressed: not only with the quality and the flavour of the Manfood range, but also with the exciting combinations of ingredients and the cleverly themed gift sets. If you fancy buying Christmas gifts from Jon and Andre this year, head to their website – and don’t forget to sign up to their newsletter for 10% off your first order!

 

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