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Thursday, 16 December 2010

Ella's Kitchen Review Part 1

I'm already a fan of Ella's Kitchen...maybe because my daughter is called Ella so I had an affinity with the branding before making my first purchase!  I love the ethos of the company.  Their Ella says:

"When I was little my dad made a promise to me and my brother that he would only use stuff in our products that is natural, is pure and helps make us healthy. I told him everything has to taste great, and he agreed! We now have lots of scrummy foods that babies and little big people love!"

Their baby food pouches for Stage One Weaning are wonderful.  We used them for Freddy as an alternative to home pureed food.  The range offered more variety than my DIY banana or sweet potato mush, giving him the opportunity to taste exciting flavour combinations, which he loved.  I'm sure his early foray into the delights of butternut, squash, carrots, apples and prunes has helped nurture his love of fruit and vegetables that continues to this day.

However, it is not the pouches that I am reviewing.  When Ella's Kitchen offered me the chance to sample the products available for older children, I was delighted.  Coming from a small market town, our local supermarket doesn't stock a huge range of baby and toddler foods, so these were new to me.


A lovely selection of goodies arrived.  I love the packaging, with the friendly font and the vibrant colours.  They instantly look appealing with a strong brand identity.  I had been sent pack-o-snacks , stacks-of-sticks , bakey-bakies  and cooking sauces.

Freddy was instantly interested (he has a keen interest in food!) so we started off with a Pack o Snacks.  These are little kid sized bags of dried organic fruit.  Freddy had the "Chompy" one which was a scrummy mix of organic raisins, apricots, dates, apples and bananas.  The little bag was an ideal size for him and the unique pyramid shape meant the top stayed open for him to dip into without having to resort to tearing into it and spilling dried fruit everywhere!  Freddy does enjoy dried fruit and he ate up the whole bagful!

Easy to use packaging for little people.

Eight year old Kizzy did not want to miss out on the chance to enjoy a healthy snack.  She had the "Chewy" one which is a yummy mix of cherries, raisins, strawberries and mangoes.  She loved them and decided they would be perfect for her school lunch box.  They are the perfect size and provide her with slow release energy to see her through the afternoon.  She loves identifying the pieces of fruit and gets especially animated when she finds a dried strawberry!  These are a huge hit with her.

The Stacks O Sticks are little breadsticks, perfect for the little hands of inquisitive toddlers.  They come in wholegrain or orange and pear flavours.  There are two separate bags of sticks in the box to keep them fresher for longer.  The wholegrain sticks are perfect for dunking into a triangle of cheese spread as part of a healthy lunch.  Being smaller than regular breadsticks means that the danger of eye poking is minimised! Again, big sister Kizzy enjoyed sampling the treats alongside her brother.  The wholegrain was her favourite flavour, as she considered breadsticks to be savoury.  The fruity flavoured ones struck her as a strange combination, but Freddy who had no preconceived ideas about the taste of breadsticks, tucked in happily.  They are perfect for his little gums while he is teething.

The Bakey-Bakes are crunchy oat crackers made from 100% organic ingredients and delicately flavoured with cheese and spinach or apple, raisin and cinnamon.  The little individual bags contain a small handful of the thin, round crackers.  I have to confess that they reminded me of the wafers that vicars pop in your mouth at church, but they certainly tasted better!  The are tasty and easy to chomp (Freddy only has 7 teeth!)  The sweet ones are my favourite in this case.  The flavour is lovely with the gentle warming spiciness of the cinnamon.  Quite Christmas-y!  These oat crackers are a great alternative to unhealthy, salty crips, which are totally unsuitable for toddlers.  Kizzy was not so keen on these.  As she has indulged in the highly flavoured world of Monster Munch, I think the subtle flavours may have been a little bland for her palate and oat crackers have quite a distinctive texture.  But again, Freddy who is untainted by the world of junk food, found them most enjoyable. 

I love that Ella's Kitchen are producing healthy, organic snacks for older babies and children.  I like to know that the food that I give my children is of the highest quality and is good for them.  In this respect Ella's Kitchen ticks all the boxes.  The wonderful website http://www.ellaskitchen.co.uk/ has a whole host of facts about the products, recipes, fun stuff and FAQ's as well as a comprehensive list of stockists.

As I haven't used the cooking sauces yet, I'll be reviewing these at a later date.  I'm looking forward to making Freddy an Indian and an Italian meal very soon using these pouches of 100% pure organic sauces!  Watch this space!
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