When I shop online or at my local shops, there are several things I try to look for on labels. I'm vegetarian, of course I do my utmost to avoid palm oil and its derivatives. And additionally, I'm always careful to buy British food if at all possible.
In the fruit and vegetable aisle, this is usually relatively straightforward. Whilst I'm often disappointed at the fact things that could have been sourced locally have in fact come from abroad, it is at least clearly labelled.
Moving onto the other aisles and it's usually a bit less clear. Things might be packaged in the UK but imported from elsewhere, or the main product is produced here but ingredients are imported. That's why I was delighted to find Big Skies Food Company, who make an assortment of foods, using local ingredients.
Big Skies Food Company Toffee Brittle
I was sent some British Brittle Roasted Cashew, and some British Brittle Peanut & Chilli to review from the Big Skies Food Company. As well as being palm oil free, the brittles ticked the 'local' box for me too. They are handmade in Norfolk, using local British sugar. In fact, they are the only company to make brittle using British sugar from local sugar beet fields.
The brittle is made in a traditional way in small batches, using a lot of heat and an open pan. The temperature of the sugar is raised to the point where it smokes, to allow a deep caramel / dark toffee flavour. I love the fact that this company are so interested in ethical issues – there are no additives in their food, and only British sugar is used, reducing the food-miles of their items.
Roasted Cashew Brittle
The Roasted Cashew Brittle was quite rich in flavour, with the nuts complimenting the toffee well. You get a real flavour for the nuts and they're not overpowered by the toffee at all. There are also plenty of nuts in there to give it a varied texture and taste. It was a lovely way to enjoy a sweet treat that was a little bit different – I’d buy this over a mainstream toffee bar any day.
Peanut and Chilli Brittle
The Peanut and Chilli Brittle was by some distance the nicest brittle I'd ever tried. On first taste, I tasted the toffee and peanuts, but not much of the chilli. Then I realised there was a lovely, warming aftertaste of chilli coming through. This was really different from anything I'd had before and would make an interesting talking point when served as nibbles at a buffet or dinner party.
I would also like to see a version of this that has a bit more of a kick – but that’s just my personal love for spicy food. I really like dark chocolate with chilli, and adding it to brittle is another great idea, leading to some unusual and complementary flavours.
Big Skies Food Company have some other great flavours too which I’d love to try, including roasted cashew with sea salt and black pepper. They also stock other items including a good range of nuts with different flavour pairings, and their own seasonings.
Big Skies Food Company are a great ethical, palm oil free company that I will definitely be buying from in the future.
Please note, the brittle was sent to me free of charge for the purpose of a review. All views, opinions and love of local produce are my own.