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Friday, 4 August 2017

Gourmio – Authentic Italian Ingredients and Recipes Delivered to Your Home


I love cooking at home and do it often, but when I am not recipe testing or cooking for the supper club or friends, I enjoy a good quality take-away. And that will invariably mean a choice between two of my favourite things right now – very cheesy Quatro Formaggi pizza with added extras of yes, even more cheese, or the mixed kebab special from my local Turkish – a super generous assortment of barbecued meats, rice and salad. Both bring me great joy.

But I must admit I rarely buy ready-made meals – I usually find them disappointing in both flavour and quality, mass produced and made to last, these more often than not contain all kinds of e-numbers and additives I prefer not to indulge in. 

I was recently approached by Gourmio for a sponsored review of their home-delivery service of Italian pre-made meals, and was just about to delete their email, when I took a peek at their site.


At first, Gourmio intrigued me – as a lover of Italian food (I lived in Genova to do my Erasmus and return to the country often) I was curious about their claim to bring authentic, regional Italian ingredients in pre-made meals to the UK. Their website is easy to navigate, with recipes divided by either category (starters and main dishes) or by their Italian regional provenance (Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, and so forth). Every recipe featured on the site is well explained with great care taken to describe the ingredients used, their provenance and the historical background of each dish. I was impressed.

Gourmio was founded in 2016 by Marco Sargiani who is a real champion for Italian agricultural produce, his family has been making aceto balsamico in Modena for over 300 years! The idea of Gourmio came from a previous business concept Marco had of trading Italian DOP ingredients online (artisan products bearing a quality seal denoting Denominazione di Origine Protetta or PDO Protected Designation of Origin). Marco wanted to help small, artisan producers who often lacked the marketing and language skills to sell their products beyond their immediate region. But this idea needed a little tweaking.

In its new incarnation, Gourmio aims to offer not only some of the country’s best artisan DOP ingredients, but also presents them in recipe combinations so that authentic Italian dishes can be recreated at home with clear, easy to follow instructions. 

And it was so simple to get started - I selected the recipes I wanted to cook from their website, and Gourmio delivered the ingredients along with the recipe cards. The recipes are detailed on their site with step-by-step photos and sometimes a short Tastemade-style video, so I pretty much knew what I was getting. They state clearly what they will deliver and what you might need at home, these are usually cooking utensils like pots, pans and spoons.

As of today, there are 10 recipes available, 3 starters and 7 mains. It is not clear from their website when new dishes are added to the website, but I would guess seasonally. In my opinion, it would be helpful to know this as well as being able to see previous dishes, even if not currently available, they would give a better idea of what else we can buy and encourage us to return for more.

I ordered four different recipes to be confident in writing this review. I ordered them on a Monday pm, and was given a choice of delivery dates from Wednesday to Friday, so delivery can happen within a couple of days, and it is free for orders over £40. Dishes (for 2 people) are priced between £10 and £15.50 for both starter and main courses.

All ingredients come from Italy and are pre-cooked and vacuum-sealed. Pre-made sauces and meats display nutritional information and a full list of ingredients. I received my meals on Friday, the 28th July 2017 and the expiry date for these ingredients was 15th August 2017, so well over two weeks. This is excellent shelf life considering that there are no additives or e-numbers added.


Each recipe is delivered in its own individual box, containing a printed card with detailed, easy to follow instructions, and photos so that you know what your finished dish should look like. Recipe cards are also detailed with times, dietary notes (like contains eggs etc), provenance, difficulty level and the number of servings, which is usually 2 people per recipe. 

One of these recipes was Sicilian “Spelt Macaroni with Swordfish Ragu and Lemon Zest” (£15). 


This was an absurdly easy recipe to put together which took me just a few minutes – cook pasta in boiling salted water for 3 minutes, re-heat ragu sauce, drain pasta, add the sauce and Bob’s your uncle!


The only minor snag about this dish is that the recipe calls for parsley and lemon zest to be added though no lemon or parsley was listed as supplied or as needed to buy. Luckily we had both ingredients in the fridge to finish off the dish. 


I loved this Sicilian dish – the pasta was al dente and had a beautiful, vibrant yellow colour from the spelt flour, the swordfish ragu sauce (one of the most ancient Sicilian recipes as explained on the card) was rich and perfectly seasoned and most importantly, it tasted fresh! I could not detect even a hint of the out-of-a-jar type of flavours one gets from ready-made sauces.


Another excellent dish was Umbrian Pancia di Vitello or “roasted belly of veal with wild fennel and a side of sautéed potatoes and courgettes” (£15.50).


I love belly meat, and veal’s is such a treat. The meat had been seasoned with dill and pre-cooked, it only took 10 minutes to re-heat in the oven, just the time I needed to chop and sauté the courgette and pre-steamed potatoes in a little olive oil and parsley (again not listed).


The recipe came with a white pork sauce, which I personally felt lacked in both seasoning and flavour and did not add much to the final dish. That aside, the meat was delicious and so tender, and the vegetables were a great accompaniment.


Our meal continued in Umbria with “Strips of spelt with cockerel sauce and Castelluccio lentils” (£10). Castellucio lentils are a delicacy of this region and I was super keen to try them.


The lentils were mixed into the cockerel sauce (cockerel is a young, less than a year old male chicken), this was a delectable tomato-based sauce with cockerel meat, paprika, onion and other ingredients which I gently re-heated. 


The Straccetti di Farro pasta, another traditional Umbrian specialty made with hulled wheat, was cooked for 2 minutes in salted boiling water, drained and added to the cockerel and lentil sauce. The pasta had a light nutty flavour and firm texture, and the sauce tasted fresh but intensely flavoured. I loved the addition of Castellucio lentils - they brought another layer of texture and great flavour to the final dish. A fantastic little starter that did not take me 10 minutes to prepare!


Though equally good, the ‘Octopus cooked Elba style” (£10) from Elba Isle in Tuscany, was a bit more problematic – the images on the recipe card do not relate to this dish and no information is given on what to do with the octopus sauce.


As the chunky pieces of octopus were heated in their juices with the pre-steamed potatoes for about 10 minutes, I re-heated the sauce in a separate pan. 


The sauce was again fresh and well seasoned, and worked a treat with the tender octopus and the serving of steamed potatoes, we thoroughly enjoyed this Tuscan dish.


I was genuinely impressed by the quality of the ingredients and the opportunity to learn about Gourmio’s dishes, their provenance and historical background. For a new start-up, Gourmio still has a few teething issues to put right, and despite the minor snags with the recipe cards, I would fully recommend their delivery service.

I love the concept of Gourmio, the quality of the ingredients they offer and their genuine passion to introduce to the UK some of the best regional ingredients and dishes of Italy, but most importantly - their food is pretty tasty too! 

To find out more about Gourmio’s dishes and try them for yourself, visit their website here and place your order!

Disclaimer – this was a sponsored feature by Gourmio. The London Foodie has however maintained full editorial control over its content as always.

2 comments:

  1. Italy Unpacked with Locatelli and Graham-Dixon is one of mine and my partner's favourite cookery programme. There is an episode in which they go to Castelluccio and they cook local sausages with the Castelluccio lentils. I highly recommend both the episode and the recipe. You can watch it here:
    https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2iiz4u
    at minute 33 they go to the farm where the sausages are produced, minute 40 they travel up the Castelluccio plateau, at minute 43 they cook the lentils

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great, going to try their service as I always love to try Italian recipes.

    ReplyDelete

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