You may remember I was lucky enough to test a range of Westin Gourmet meats last year. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the meat quality was excellent, but if I am totally honest, I don’t think their delivery service is aimed at smaller households, unless you also like to batch cook and freeze (I do, but in moderation – like most Londoners my freezer space is limited). I’d love to buy more meat from them, but I’d need to be having a party or a houseful of visitors for a while.
I’ve also been a long standing customer of Ocado. Right now though they are going through something of a transition as Waitrose are launching their own home delivery service. And, neither have worked very well for me recently.
So, I’m looking round.
I’m rather pleased with my most recent delivery, from Abel and Cole. They differ from Westin Gourmet in that they supply only organic meat and also provide most of what I would buy in a regular weekly shop (including dairy products, fresh vegetables, fish, store cupboard staples and cleaning products). And their delivery charge is nominal, although that comes at the price of flexibility.
With [sfwp id=227 img=itemtype.png]Abel and Cole [sfwp id=1 img=closediv.png] your food is delivered on a regular day of the week. There’s no specified time, in fact my box arrived before 7am and was left under the stairs of the main building. I’ve asked how they operate in London where it can be tricky to leave goods and they’ve told me they will keyhold and leave products in a communal hallway if that is appropriate.
I set myself a shopping budget of around £30 and for that was able to buy a good selection of products. My list included an organic chicken (with GIBLETS!!) for just under £10, six venison sausages and a Spanish Chorizo ring, as well as a couple of aubergines a fabulous looking red pepper, some fir apple potatoes and a selection of other fruit and veg.
And, I’m planning on seeing how far that goes. I suspect that with a few meals out and the things I already had in my fridge and store cupboard, it will easily last for a couple of weeks.
The first thing that strikes you when you open the fruit and vegetable box is a cocktail of ‘fresh’ smells. It’s very hard to explain if you have only ever eaten supermarket vegetables. And, as you take things out to store, that cocktail unravels. I’m currently making celery soup because I was sent a really large head of celery and it’s so beautifully fresh that I want to make sure it gets eaten at its best. The potatoes come in a nice brown bag so you can put them somewhere cool and dry and they should store without needing to go in the fridge.
The packing for the meat is extraordinary. There’s a few ice packs, but for the most part the meat is kept chilled using ‘wool blankets’. My box was left outside for a few hours on one of the warmer days this spring and the ice was still completely frozen inside. If I have any issue, it is that you might have a problem cooking your Sunday lunch this way. As an example, my delivery was on Tuesday 13th, , the sausages needed to be used by the 17th (I froze them) and the chicken needed to be cooked by 18th. Now that’s not in the least bit unreasonable, but it does mean there’s a limitation to how you can use what you are sent. Of course, the benefit is to the environment. Deliveries made this way allow drivers to schedule their journey to a particular area. And the cost saving seems to be passed on to shoppers (the delivery charge is just under pound).
All in, I am very pleased with the service – I haven’t ordered another box because, as you may have read I’ve been away to wales. And next week I am out a lot too. But, I may well become a regular!
I’ve made several dishes with the things I was supplied with – the lemon chicken is one, the chorizo in the patatas bravas another…and I made a fabulous carrot soup too.
I still have things to eat (the frozen venison sausages, one aubergine, a few lemons and the red pepper). So, tomorrow will be a cookathon!