I love making my own jams and chutneys, but I can never resist pretty jars I see in the shops either. If you were to visit my kitchen, you'll see that I'm indeed an enthisiastic shopper. I am particularly drawn to more unusual flavours.
The Hawkshead Relish Company is well known for its marvellous range of artisan preserves, both classic and innovative. It has recently launched a new Culinary Couture range of preserves, and I was delighted to test, taste and sample some of their latest additions.
The new range is inspired by the world of fashion. Culinary Couture includes both sweet and savoury preserves which are presented in elegant and stylish jars.
These jars will make splendid gifts for any foodie, as they will bring a touch of sophisticated glamour to any kitchen.
Mike Whitehead, co-owner of this family business and mastermind behind the unique recipes, explained: "When the contents of the jar has been created in a timely fashion ensuring the balance of the ingredients is nothing less than perfection; then the presentation should ultimately reflect the Hawkshead Relish pursuit of excellence as well as emphasise the distinctive provenance of our preserves"
The Culinary Couture preserves are available in Petite or Grande sizes. They are stackable to optimise shelf space and provide a striking display.
Preserves themselves are made with the highest quality ingredients, they are completely natural and don't contain any artificial flavourings, colouring or additives. They are also suitable for vegetarians and are gluten and nut free.
We first tried Raspberry & Vanilla jam. Raspberry jam is a beautiful preserve, enhanced by a touch of vanilla. Those two flavours go very well together. It has a natural sweetness of raspberries, and makes me think of summer and berry-picking.
Excellent in warm croissants, it can also be used as a cooking ingredient.
When I baked Royal Jam Tarts, I have used this jam to make it extra special.
Another sweet preserve which we tried was a Lemoncello curd. If you're interested to know how the name was created, The Hawkshead Relish explained: " it was decided by the Hawkshead Relish Company to make the transition from a very British homemade Lemon curd to a delicious curd of Southern Italian distinction by incorporating the two in a hybrid of the title description" - hence Lemoncello rather than Limincello.This is a refreshing, zingy and tart-flavoured curd, smooth and moreish, with an added drizzle of Limoncello.
My only issue with Petite sized jars was that the standard sized teaspoons won't get in, and it is almost impossible to scoop any preserve from the narrow corners, unless you try to put your fingers in (OK, if you're making a toast for yourself, not so hygienic if you make it for the others).
I used Lemoncello curd as an ingredient to bake a batch of orange cupcakes with lemon curd frosting.
It was also an excellent ingredient for a lemon drizzle cake, I added the lemoncello curd to the frosting, both inside and on top of the cake.
Mango chutney and Fig & Cinnamon chutney are a mix of sweet and savoury.
Mango chutney from Culinary Couture range is packed with citrussy flavours and spices. It is a lovely accompaniment to curries, and also works well in a ham sandwich. It is not as sweet as most mango chutneys I have bought in the past, it's more savoury than sweet, and has quite a kick of heat. It looks very pretty, with little chunks of mango and specks of chilli.
Fig & Cinnamon chutney is rich, fruity and flavourful. It's great served with a platter of cheese and cold cuts, as well as with burgers. I love fresh sliced figs with cheese, but a fig chutney is another option, it will compliment both hard and soft cheeses.
I served it in a sandwich with hot sliced pork sausages, and it was very nice.
And when the jar's empty, peel off the sticky label, and re-use the jar as a mini-vase for a posy.
The Hawkshead Relish Company are renowned for their award winning preserves. They hold over 50 Great Taste awards and Speciality Producer from the Guild of Fine Food. With over 100 innovative products in their range, they surely are artists of food industry.
Have you tried any preserves from the Culinary Couture range?
Disclosure: I received a selection of preserves for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are mine.