It's food Jim, but not as we know it...
Now many of you may be familiar with the phenomenon that is freeze-dried food in pouches. Like me, you have probably tried a few brands from various outdoor shops or websites. They all share the same ubiquitous commonality of promising flavour and calories for the tired adventurer. All are neatly contained in a light pouch that one need only add hot water to. That's the promise anyway.
Too often that promise turns out to be an 'alternative fact'. Bland and with dubious texture they reveal themselves to actually be little pouches of disappointment. Worse than that, some turn out to have a salt content that would humiliate the Dead Sea. In the context of a tired and wet camp after a long days cycle or walk they are hot and better than nothing, but each time I have eaten one I have vowed to never do so again.
Then, today, I was sent some samples from Firepot by a new little British company called outdoorfood.com. As fortune would have it, I was off on a little mini adventure and so I chose the 'Porcini mushroom risotto' option and headed out. I confess I didn't have high hopes. I was sure I was to be disappointed... again.
Well it was the wrong sort of disappointment! I added the requisite water (well, slightly less actually - these foods often turn out too wet for my liking) and waited the requisite 15 minutes before timidly taking my first mouthful...
The first thing I noticed was that it actually looked like a risotto. It had real mushrooms in it. It had the texture and taste of a risotto too. What's more... it wasn't salty either. Not at all. I was stunned. This food was... actually... nice! Nay, good! It delivered what it promised and there was buckets of flavour too.
If I'm being picky, Georgio Locatelli isn't going to be losing sleep and Jamie Oliver needn't worry - this isn't a perfect risotto but let's be realistic... this is freeze dried and rehydrated on a hillside with boiled stream water! Also, If the fill line was marked inside the sachet too that would be helpful (you fold to sachet to make the fill mark evident as you fill). But all this is nit picking, this is the best dehydrated trail food I have ever eaten and to paraphase the Life of Brian, "I should know, I've eaten enough!"
Outdoorfood.com say their USP is that the food is cooked then freeze-dried rather than being made up of seperate freeze-dried elements. They say this makes all the difference. Whatever their secret, I think they have pulled off a miracle here. I'm actually looking forward to trying my next pouch!
Well done outdoorfood.com!