The Best of British: Forman & Field hampers
When a hamper full of smoked salmon, marmalade glazed ham and Matt’s favourite, a Melton Mowbray pork pie, arrived on our doorstep last week, life just got a little bit better. We wanted to review Forman & Field’s hampers, having heard a little about this their specialist food delivery company, and they didn’t disappoint us: they sent a lovely wicker hamper with tasters to show us what they’re made of. These guys specialise in British food and supply some of the UK’s top restaurants – they’re a kind of online Borough Market for those of us who can’t make a regular pilgrimage to it, for whatever reason (in our case, geography).
First of all: presentation. We had a hamper from Fortnum and Mason a couple of years ago which was beautiful – we still take the wicker hamper on picnics – and Forman & Field do the same, with an upmarket wicker hamper branded with their logo. Top marks: it’s reusable and looks great. The little kilner jars storing the lemon curd and potted lobster are cute and a really nice way to present them. Little touches like these are great because you know when you send a hamper as a present, they’re going to be received well.
Second: Who buys hampers anyway? We think it’s important to address this. Hampers have an air of real luxury to them – I can’t imagine many people who buy one every week. But they do make fantastic gifts – for Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day or maybe the birth of a new baby. I was thinking this as we ate – wouldn’t this make a great present for someone who has just had a baby? You don’t have time to make an involved meal, and a touch of luxury would make it all feel so much better when you’re having a bad day. And Matt and I had talked about how we might get a special hamper for our wedding anniversary this year – there’s something special about food delivery of this calibre.
So, what’s the Forman & Field taster hamper like? It contained two large packs of smoked salmon, one wild, one London Cure smoked; a teeny taster of potted lobster; a mini slab of gluten free chocolate brownies and a mini loaf of banana bread; a teeny taster pot of Forman & Field lemon curd; hand carved Alderton ham; Artisan du Chocolat chocolates; A Mrs King’s Melton Mowbray pork pie; a box of four Farmhouse British Cheeses. All the food was carefully chosen, some from Borough Market, others devised by the company itself (the London Smoke smoked salmon was created by Forman & Field’s founder), and the cakes by the company’s in house chef (and ex-head chef of Tate Modern).
Wow is the word. The chocolates – four tiny couture squares – lasted about two minutes. The pork pie was wolfed down in one sitting. The ham, ooh the ham, it was so flavoursome and crumbly. And we’ve been eating smoked salmon on everything for a week – it’s fantastic. The cheese was incredible – perfectly aged in the case of the oozing goats cheese, which again lasted for about five minutes before we ate it. I love, love, loved the lemon curd – made, so the notes said, with free range eggs and unwaxed lemons – it was creamy and lemony and the best I’ve ever tasted.
Was there anything we didn’t like? Well, of the four cheeses, three of them were blue. I love blue cheese, so I was OK with that, but I guess not everybody does, so we were lucky. I would have liked a Cheddar or a Brie in there too, particularly because the cheeses are being chosen as great examples of British farmhouse cheese. I found the potted lobster a bit too fishy tasting; Matt felt it wasn’t flavoursome enough – but we ate it cold rather than at room temperature as suggested so it might well be our own fault.
Overall, this was an exceptionally delicious hamper. We’re recommend Forman & Field to anyone looking for some truly spectacular food. Their hampers start at £38.50 and are available on www.formanandfield.com.