06 April 2011

Taste Testing: Audrey & Marco Online Gourmet Deli (23 Mar 2011)


International deli products

Goods have been predominately sourced from Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Macedonia, Serbia, Germany, Belgium, Slovenia, Lebanon and the United Kingdom.

Thanks to Melisa from Audrey & Marco for contacting me to try some of their online deli products. Their website had so many tempting choices it was hard to decide where to start but in the end I received nine products to taste test. I’ll be tasting the products in stages and reviews of each product will be listed below as they become available.

Other Audrey & Marco products taste tested:
21 April 2011 - Duck Foie Gras
23 Mar 2011 - Tahini, Asparagus & Black Truffle Pate, Smoked Sea Salt Flakes, Calissons d'Aix, Mixed Fruit Jam, Marmalade, Wafers, Spaghetti

PROS: International products available online, Well-packaged delivery, Decent variety, Website quite easy to use and well-designed although would prefer an option to be able to view all products in each section at once
CONS: Some products seem to be quite expensive, Carbon points for importing rather than buying local
WORTH TRYING: Duck Foie Gras, Marmalade, Spaghetti, Asparagus & Black Truffle Pate

Duck Foie Gras
Duck Foie Gras, La Truffe Cendree, 130g ($48.50)

Perhaps not produced in the most moral way but if you're a fan of foie gras then it's best enjoyed on toasted sweet brioche with a good quality French wine. Please check out my Blind Tasting Review to see how it compared to paté.

Organic Tahini
Organic Tahini, Melissa, 375g ($9.95)

For some reason I've never been a fan of tahini but I know a few people who simply love it. For me its texture and even smell reminds me of a spakfilla which is a gritty white paste used to fill wall holes — not very complimentary I know. I found out a popular way to eat tahini is with bananas on toast. I try it but it's not for me. Adding honey as an option on top helps give it a more palatable edge but I still don't like how the tahini seems to stick to the roof of my mouth and has quite a savoury dry taste. Give me peanut butter instead any day. I've been told on good authority by a tahini lover that this one was very good though and ticked all the right boxes except for perhaps its premium price, although it is fully organic so it does justify it I guess.

Banana and Organic Tahini on toast with honey (left), Banana and Organic Tahini on toast (right)

Asparagus & Black Truffle Pate
Asparagus & Black Truffle Pate, Centro Tartufi Molise, 80g ($17.95)

It's quite an expensive premium product but has lots of flavour to suit making a simple pasta dish. I combined with sauteed portobello mushrooms and Smoked Sea Salt Flakes to make a simple yet very flavoursome dish. Serve with a fresh side salad.

Portobello mushrooms with Asparagus & Black Truffle Pate and Smoked Sea Salt Flakes using Martelli Spaghetti

Smoked Sea Salt Flakes
Smoked Sea Salt Flakes, Maldon, 125g ($7.50)

Having a definite smoking taste it seemed to be an interesting alternative to the plain Maldon salt. I used with the Asparagus & Black Truffle Pate while cooking some mushrooms to provide a different level of taste which worked quite well. To really appreciate the smokey taste I think you'd have to keep the cooking quite simple with not too many ingredients. Even having with fresh tomatoes would be a nice alternative or with meat to provide an extra smokey taste on the palate.

Calissons d'Aix
Calissons d'Aix, Arnaud Soubeyran, 140g ($21.95)

Made from mostly almonds this not-to-sweet candy-style bite-sized treat had a bit of an acquired taste for me. On it's own it wasn't as sweet and favourable as I was hoping but was more likable when eaten with a coffee or tea. The texture and taste was similar to marzipan with a thin candied icing on top.

Mixed Fruit Jam
Mixed Fruit Jam, Le Conserve Della Nonna, 420g ($7.95)

Tasted tested on top of pancakes

The main criticism of this jam is that it didn't look as good as it tasted. I was expecting to see chunks of fruit but it was very pureed.

Plums 54%, Quinces 41%, Pears 11.5% Oranges 4.7% = 111.2% — That's a little strange?

The colour and texture wasn't overly appealing

Survey results of 14 tasters:
0 people - Hate It
3 people - It's OK
3 people - Pretty Good
5 people - Really Good
3 people - Love It

Old-Times Orange Marmalade
Old-Times Orange Marmalade, Tiptree, 340g ($8.95)

Tasted tested on top of pancakes

'Prepared with 30g of fruit per 100g' but ingredients then says oranges 40%. Some jams are made with higher percentages of fruit but this marmalade was well received and generally liked.

Visible amounts of orange peel throughout the jam

Survey results of 13 tasters:
0 people - Hate It
2 people - It's OK
4 people - Pretty Good
5 people - Really Good
2 people - Love It

Jam tast testing

The taste testing table

Golden pancakes used for tasting jam ($3.53 Woolworths)

Mocca Wafers
Mocca Wafers, Kras, 330g ($4.20)

The wafer tasted drier than expected and there seemed to be more wafer than filling making it quite dry on the palate. It would be better suited to dipping into a coffee to add more moisture while eating.

Survey results of 12 tasters:
0 people - Hate It
7 people - It's OK
5 people - Pretty Good
0 people - Really Good
0 people - Love It

Hazelnut Wafers
Hazelnut Wafers, Kras, 330g ($4.20)

The wafer tasted drier than expected and there seemed to be more wafer than filling making it quite dry on the palate. It would be better suited to dipping into a coffee to add more moisture while eating.

Survey results of 13 tasters:
0 people - Hate It
12 people - It's OK
1 people - Pretty Good
0 people - Really Good
0 people - Love It

Spaghetti, Martelli, 1kg ($17.95)

I've made a few dinners now with this pasta. It's definitely a notch up from the normal dry pasta I buy in the supermarket. It seems to be more flavoursome in taste and its texture remains more al dente for some reason.

Spaghetti with chicken, broccoli and mozzarella. The pasta had more flavour than the usual dried pasta I've cooked with before. Perhaps considered a bit on the expensive side though it is a quality product.

Well-packaged parcel of goodies


Madam Wu said...

Yummy jams but I still can't find ones that top the Fratelli Fresh range for taste, consistency and value.

Richard Elliot said...

Good to see an English marmalade coming out top!!

Giulia said...

Thanks for the review. I think this is a great idea, I can do what looks to be gourmet food shopping online- there a great range! Ive tried this pasta before and is well worth the price for a special treat!

Anonymous said...

LOL, I guess the message with the jam is that the final product is much more than the sum of the parts. I would have chosen a more neutral and better quality vehicle for tasting, those cheap pancakes may have ruined a bit the products' flavour.

Cathy x. said...

be wary of the so-called 'foie gras'. i tried a variation from that same brand last year when making a foie gras burger at home and it had chunky bits in it of only god-knows what and it literally smelled like cat food. it really does not compare to anything decent that i've ever worked with.. *shudder*

Simon Leong said...

hi madam wu, for local produce it's hard to beat Fratelli Fresh.

hi richard, i love marmalade anyway but was quite popular with the other tasters.

hi giulia, i guess it's an alternative to other online shops, especially if you're after something a bit more gourmet.

hi lateraleating, actually the pancakes were quite neutral in taste so i don't think they ruined the flavour of the jams, if anything made them more appealing for the tasters.

hi cathy x, actually just tried it last night (review to come soon) and went well. also had a French guy try it and met with his approval. i've had foie gras from a farm in France and it can be quite rustic in texture if you have it fresh and not our of the can.

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