Sunday, 6 September 2015

Only Organic: Cauliflower, Broccoli and Cheddar

Firstly: a week in and I'm still going! The novelty hasn't quite worn off yet, not just for me, but for you, the loyal reader, too! Thanks everyone who's kept on reading my inane blabber, I feel I've only scraped the surface of the underrated world of baby purée so far, and there are many high peaks and probable low troughs to go, so stay tuned! The quinoa post was an early highlight, and I hope to have several more for you over the coming weeks!

Father's Day today seemed like the perfect excuse to take on one of the big challenges I'd been saving for a while: Only Organic stage 2 cauliflower, broccoli and cheddar. So different in formulation was this from almost anything Emily and I had tried so far, I had genuinely no idea how it would come across. It has dairy in it! Not just cheese, but milk too! And cheddar: a family of cheese with such diversity across its spectrum! Would it be a strong, finely aged specimen? A creamier Colby varietal? Or a more delicate mild version? Would the cheddar entice us to gorge ourselves until full? (Geography pun there for all you South-East Englanders!) And how would Emily take the massive change in dietary direction forced upon her?

Contains: Cheese sauce (water, ground rice, whole milk powder, cheese (milk) 3%), Cauliflower (15%), Broccoli (9%), Onion.

Eagle eyes will note that the named ingredients only add up to of  27% of the total content, with presumably water and ground rice making up the balance. Having since tasted it, I can't really say this surprises me.

Actually on second thoughts, eagle eyes probably wouldn't notice that, as they would belong to eagles, which are birds, so can't read. Maybe The Eagles' eyes would, if they were feeding their grandchildren, as I imagine this would be the type of fancy upper class food they would choose in that case.

First impressions: not a huge amount to be honest. It's a pale cream purée in colour, easily the thickest offering so far, with a coarse texture visible to the eye.

The packaging is fairly non descript. A couple of florets of broccoli and cauliflower are scattered next to a red bowl containing some sort of broth-like liquid. A wedge of what appears to be a maturing, crumbly cheddar lies nearby, hinting at a rich, sophisticated taste within. Additional branding assures the consumer that only the finest New Zealand cheddar, mashed with a fork, is included, and that the cheese does not contain something called BPA, I assume from the cheese's rind.

Emily's reaction: I commented yesterday that a picture speaks a thousand words, so without further comment, this was Emily's reaction today.

When presented with an option of the food and a used wet wipe, Emily decided to try her luck eating the wet wipe. There was plenty of food left for me to taste.

Bouquet: Not much of a nose on this one at all. Hints of cauliflower entered the nostrils, but hardly lingered. There was dissapointingly little in the way of a cheesy scent, but sometimes the most delicate of curds have nary a whiff about them.

Taste test: Recall, if you will, the taste of cauliflower, the blandest of vegetables. Now imagine it mushed into a purée, until at the texture of cold vomit (without chunks). Add a hint of onion at the back of the tongue as an afterthought. Served cold. That is what Only Organic cauliflower, broccoli and cheddar offered up here. The cheese flavour was so underwhelming, it would be unsurprising to find the company was in breach of fair trading descriptions to include a picture of the block on the front of the packet. The broccoli was absent in taste, but possibly added to the mildly unpleasant tactile sensation in the mouth. Not truly as offensive as my offspring would have me believe (Luke also passed the left overs up), but hardly the winning taste combination you would expect from the ingredient list.

Overall: 4/10. I'm not angry, just disappointed at the blandness of this meal. Would probably gain from a cheese aged for 24-36 months prior to preparation.

Enjoy with: some actual cheddar, or an aged single malt Scotch, to add some flavour to your evening.

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