Last Updated on July 10, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
Italian food in a jar
In the burgeoning market of meal subscription schemes, Delita is a new kid on the block. Recently launched, the company sets out to bring gourmet Italian food to your home. Unlike many meal deliveries that package their products in plastic or, increasingly, compostable containers, Delita uses glass jars which the consumer is encouraged to reuse or at least recycle. The menu is divided into antipasti, primi, secondi and contorni much as you would find in your local Italian eatery.
Invited to review this new service, I perused the menu and chose one of the discovery bundles, including several themed dishes. There are options for meat-eaters, pescatarians and vegetarians with meals sized for one or two people, the Family Party being a full meal for three. Alternatively, diners can select individual items from the online menu. I ordered The Dinner By The Sea, a full meal for two which included cuttlefish in a tomato and spinach sauce, sardines ‘carpione’ with vegetables, raisins and pine nuts, tagliatelle with vegetable ragout, octopus with roasted cherry tomatoes in saffron potato cream, and braised cabbage. The cabbage was substituted for an antipasto of caponata.
I was as excited by the prospect of reusing the jars as for the meal still to come. I adore glass jars and am a notorious hoarder of the same. My husband regularly has to remove to the recycling bin my ever-growing collection of glass containers most of which wait in vain for a chance to house my nuts, spices, pulses and grains. I did wonder what regular subscribers to Delita would do with their fast-growing glass jar collection but my thoughts were interrupted by my attempt to open mine. Try as I might I could not budge the lids, nor could my husband. Eventually, I emailed for help and was advised to wedge the back of the spoon under the metal lid to break the vacuum seal. This unwieldy process – the jars are very wide and some are also flat – was rather cumbersome, but it did work.
The reason for the vacuum seal – which is so tight as to be impossible to open with the human hand – is because Delita products are cooked without preservatives and having a shelf life of at least a month, have to be sealed in this way. With no additives or colourants, the Delita dishes are cooked sous vide, at low temperatures to destroy contaminants in a natural way. Once open, the food can be microwaved, heated in the oven or on the hob. Instructions for heating and full nutritional information are set out on the label underneath the compostable boxes that house each jar.
I particularly enjoyed the polpo con crema di patate allo zafferano e pomodorini arrostiti – octopus with roasted cherries with a saffron potato cream – which had a lovely surprise citrus note from orange zest. The chunks of octopus were meaty but tender and the dish was colourful and well balanced. The accompanying saffron potato cream was as smooth as could be desired and a blast of sunshine yellow. It had that unmistakable aroma and taste of saffron which adds both colour and luxurious flavour to a dish. A well-paired combination that one would be happy to eat in an Italian restaurant never mind in the comfort of home. The other dish I enjoyed was the tagliatelle con ragù di verdura which had homemade tagliatelle in one jar and the vegetable sauce in another. I wasn’t sure why the tagliatelle had been cut into short strips, but I assume this was so that it could be packaged into the jar. The sauce was colourful and felt healthy. I simply took some Parmesan cheese from my fridge to finish it off and added some torn basil leaves from the garden.
Delita delivers nationwide within 24 hours but can also deliver a meal to your home or desk within 90 minutes through their partnership with Deliveroo. You can also sign up to the subscription service which makes it easy to plan your week’s meals.
For more information check the Delita website
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