Schwartz, the worlds largest provider of herbs and spices, finally joined the 'gluten free' party a few weeks ago, and this week they held the official launch of their new range in Covent Garden, which we got invited to attend along with around 25 other people including renowned nutritionist Amanda Hamilton (frequently seen on GMTV), freelance writers, photographers and a fair few bloggers of various natures including general spice and recipe blogs, vegetarian bloggers and other gluten free blogs.
The evening started with cocktails made with their spices, one of which was an apple and cinnamon martini along with others (you can find some of their cocktail recipes on their website). While everyone was arriving we got to talk to the Digital Manager who told us the gluten free range had been in development for over two years, which resulted in them opening a gluten free factory and a lot of correspondence with Coeliac UK throughout the development. The packet mixes came to fruition from both the medical need for gluten free for Coeliacs and the gluten free lifestyle which has ultimately lead to great expansion to the free from ranges, whether we agree with the GF by choice lifestyle or not!
Once everyone was settled we got to see the new Schwartz advert which advertises the gluten free range on the end, if it ever appears on YouTube we will post a link. The advert was launched on the 1st March, so hopefully you should see it on TV soon. After that we heard speeches from the head chef at Schwartz who told us about the new range and the development of the range.
Schwartz had come up with a menu just for us to try their range. The starter was a deliciously creamy macaroni cheese using their cheese sauce mix. Their miniature version was great, topped with gluten free breadcrumbs... OK maybe a tad too many breadcrumbs for my liking, it was a tad dry there was so many covering it, but still the flavour of the cheese sauce was there. The sauce can certainly make a great quick mac and cheese but would be great for anything using a cheese sauce, cauliflower cheese or even a lasagne would be great with it, it sure packs a great cheesy punch.
Only at this sort of thing would it be socially acceptable to spend the 10 minutes after the food arrives to take copious amounts of photos, in typical blogger fashion nearly everyone in the room was trying to get the best angle for photos of the food now crammed on the table.
Once enough photos were taken to sink a battleship everyone finally settled down to try the delicious food, with plates piled high with a bit of everything, we all tucked in.
The chicken and chorizo was an immediate hit, the spice of the chilli con carne mix gave it a great kick, not to hot but hot enough to tingle the tastebuds too much, paired with the chorizo it was a real spice sensation.
After just those two dishes sampled (and some fries!) I was rather stuffed but I did muster up enough room to try the fajitas, made with chickpeas and their fajita mix. After a couple of bites my mouth was on fire, it sure had a spice hit to it, good job the sour cream was next to me! The mix doesn't half make amazing fajitas though.
I couldn't find enough room to stuff in a stuffed pepper but they sure did smell good and were going down a storm, filled with a vegetarian version of this recipe using the spaghetti bolognese mix.
These packet mixes are so diverse and if the night taught us anything it was that these gluten free packet mixes don't have to be used for just what the packet intends, each pack can be used to create so many simple, fast recipes that can be thrown together in minutes, great for when you have been at work all day!
If you have tried any of their gluten free mixes already be sure to tweet and instragram your recipes and photos using the #glutenfreeflavour hashtag, and follow Schwartz on Twitter @SchwartzFlavour and Instagram @Schwartz.uk
We hope Schwartz continue with their gluten free ventures, after two years in the making we have our fingers crossed that they do well and they introduce more packet mixes, yes, sausage casserole mix we hear you all screaming (so do they, don't worry). We hope this is a flavour packet they manage to make gluten free too.
We want to thank Schwartz for giving us the opportunity to attend the exclusive supper club to find out about the products and try them, we couldn't haven done it without their PR team (big thanks to Catherine!).