I shared part 1 of my trip to Coles head office with you yesterday and this is part 2….
After the chat about all the new ranges it was time for lunch and we were in for a real feast!!
We all sat down to eat and chat, and chat and eat, and drink! I felt very special as one of the chefs served me various food and wine before sitting down to chat with all of us. It was such a fun experience. Below are photos of all the yummy food that was on offer, and yes I tried it all!
So from the top left we had a beetroot salad, mashed potato, fresh microwavable vegetables; bottom left – Chicken Shanks in Honey and Dijon mustard sauce, Beef Roast with Mushroom and Porcini sauce, slow cooked Lamb Shanks in Red Wine, Rosemary and Balsamic sauce and Roast Pork with apple sauce. These are all part of the new Coles range and should be available at all stores shortly, some have even starting hitting store shelves already (yes I have already checked!!). There is lots more in this range, this is just what I got to try, you will find the meats in the meat section – just look for the Made Easy range, and all the rest will be in refrigerated vegetable section.
So what did I think… The beetroot salad was lovely and fresh and I surprisingly really enjoyed it. I’m not a huge fan of beetroot but I would actually buy and eat this salad at home, so definitely glad I tried it! The microwavable vegetables still had a lovely crunch to them, which I must admit you don’t get with the frozen veggies I boil, so for me that item would come down to price. The mashed potato I was really sceptical about, seriously sceptical! It is basically pre made mashed potato in a tub – you just heat it up. Can I just say I was really surprised, I loved, loved, loved it. It tasted so good (better than some of the times my husbands made it!). These products are definitely great for a time poor person who still wants to feed themselves or their family a healthy meal. They are quick and easy to prepare and even I could use these items after a long, tiring day with the kids!
On to the meats… The chicken shanks in honey and Dijon mustard just didn’t do it for me. Admittedly I didn’t really get much sauce but even so I really couldn’t taste any flavour. These aren’t really my flavours so I probably won’t buy it to try again. The roast beef with mushroom and porcini sauce didn’t appeal to me as I don’t like mushrooms. I tried the beef on it own which just tasted like a plain roast, but the others informed me that the sauce was really packed full of flavour which I know my husband would love. If your a fan of mushrooms this is definitely the way to go. The lamb shanks – now this is really my thing. I love a good lamb shank and these did not disappoint – they were huge, but they tasted so good that I ate it all. The sauce was beautifully flavoured and I will definitely be buying this for a special sunday night dinner. Lastly the roast pork with apple sauce. Now I admit I am not a fan of pork, I fan it bland, boring and usually dry. But I tried it anyway and I am a convert. This roast pork made me fall in love. There was a lovely bold hit of spice on the outside which was both a surprise and a delight and the accompanying apple sauce was so good I could have eaten it on its own! It really was a perfect dish and I have already been to the supermarket to buy it, unfortunately they didn’t have it but I will keep checking!
In return for the lovely day we were asked to give our feedback on all the items we tried, as well as the day overall – I gave my honest feedback as always including what I’ve written above, talking up the high points and pointing out what didn’t work for me. The beauty of it being that what I loved others didn’t and vice versa so this amazing new range really does have something for everyone.
After all that food is was time for a very special treat – a dessert masterclass! I was heaven. Another Coles chef, Andrew, came in to show us how to make a hazelnut and lime syrup cake, a hazelnut sabayon, and a peach and crème fraiche gelato. Now it all sounded really complicated and I’ll admit I had absolutely no idea what a sabayon was, but as I watched it all being made it actually didn’t seem that hard! The gelato was made using dry ice, admittedly just for the wow factor, but it worked, I was completely wowed! Andrew discussed how all the elements could be made separately and talked through all the steps. We were promised a recipe which I am eagerly anticipating and yes I will be cooking. We of course then got to try the dessert, and had our own little dry ice show!
Sadly then our time at Coles was over. It was an amazing fun, insightful, yummy day and we were presented with a gift before we left – just a little goodie bag of some products, which will definitely come in handy in my house. I can’t thank Coles enough for putting on this wonderful day and for choosing me out of all the people on the Coles Circle group – as a mum of twin boys who never gets out on her own and can’t afford to splurge due to a lack of money this was an amazing treat and something I will not soon forget (or stop talking about!).