Reviewed by Melody Floyde
Opies is a traditional British family firm who specialise in producing pickles and preserves which they have been doing since 1880 so they know what they are up to. I also like the fact that wherever possible they use British fruit in their products. We already regularly use Opies Sliced Lemons in our drinks at home and there is always an open jar in the fridge, so I was delighted to be asked to try some of the other products from the Opies range.
When the very sizeable box arrived, I couldn’t wait to open it to see what was inside, it was like receiving an early Christmas present and in fact Opies products make ideal Christmas gifts and are regularly eaten at Christmas. On opening the box, I was amazed to find six jars of products in what could only be described as inflatable tubes. They reached us in perfect condition so the tubes obviously work very well, and are definitely worth a mention as we had never seen anything like them before!
Inside the box were the following products:
Pineapple with Luxardo Spiced Rum
Red Berries with Pink Gin
Black Cherries in Kirsch
Stem Ginger in Syrup
As soon as I saw the jar of Pickled Walnuts, which are one of Opies’ World Famous products and still pickled by hand, they evoked memories of family Christmases with my Dad and Gran who used to eat them every year without fail. Although I was never a big fan I was excited to try them again and to share the memories with my children. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, they were actually really tasty and I am thinking that we may reintroduce them at Christmas again this year. As well as being eaten as a traditional accompaniment with salads etc, the pickled walnuts can also be used as an ingredient in several recipes.
The Cocktail Gherkins, which are in distilled malt vinegar, make a great tasty snack and are also low in calories. I was surprised to see that there are less than 15 calories per 100g compared to 103 calories for the same amount of olives. I’ve always been a fan of gherkins and really enjoyed these (and as my family don’t share my enjoyment, I get to eat them all myself!)
Next up were the products from the Fruits in Alcohol range. These are luxurious products which would make lovely Christmas gifts for anyone, and are also a treat at any time of the year. I was very excited to try the Pineapple with Luxardo Spiced Rum, which is slices of pineapple steeped in syrup infused with Luxardo Spiced rum, and it did not disappoint. We tried it with vanilla ice cream which was delicious, and made a lovely decadent dessert. There was also a handy recipe idea on the back of the label for pineapple upside down cake, which is definitely something I will be keen to try in the future.
We haven’t yet tried the Red Berries in Pink Gin, which is a mix of redcurrants, raspberries and sour cherries steeped in syrup infused with pink gin, but with gin being so popular at the moment I have already made a mental note of friends and family who would love to receive a jar for Christmas. There is also a lovely recipe idea for red berry blondies on the back of the label which I plan to try.
The Black Cherries in kirsch were also delicious served with vanilla ice cream, and were my personal favourites. They would also be awesome in a black forest gateau (one of my all-time favourites).
Finally, the Stem Ginger in syrup is made from young stem ginger which is harvested in China and carefully preserved in sugar syrup. It can be used as a dessert with ice cream or in various recipes. I am a big fan of ginger as it is great for the digestive system so am looking forward to trying this.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Opies products we tried. They are all of high quality and are delicious either on their own or in recipes. In particular the fruits in alcohol would make wonderful Christmas gifts, and there are several other varieties available which I plan to try in the future. The Opies products can be bought from a range of retailers including well known supermarkets.
RRP: Various (approx. £2 – £8)
These products can be purchased from Opies here.