The problems and possible demise of Fuizion Foods left me in a quandary over evening meals for my recent trip. I still have four FF meals left, but I decided a short trip was a good opportunity to try some new food. Second best to Fuizion, IMO is Real Turmat, but they are very pricey at c.£10 a meal. So I thought I’d give Bla Band a try and ordered some from Outdoors Grub.
Mashed Potato with Beef and Vegetables
On my first evening, I sampled the mashed potato with beef and vegetable meal. The first thing to note is that the pouch is squat rather than tall, making it easier to access, fill and stir. It also has fill markings, taking the guesswork out of the volume of water needed.
Fuizion meals are by far the best freeze dried meals I’ve tasted, so I was prepared for a lower level of quality. However, this meal was really disappointing. It looked like brown gloop. The carrots and turnip pieces were identifiable but the meat seemed to have gone missing. The taste was was very bland, not offensive, just largely absent. This one gets a thumbs down from me.
Skinnarmo’s Pasta Carbonara
I approached the next evening’s meal with some trepidation. I selected the Skinnarmo’s Pasta Carbonara, which is named after a Swedish explorer. This is basically a macaroni pasta with minced beef in a cheese sauce. When I filled the sachet, it looked very runny, but don’t be deceived, after leaving for 12 minutes, all the water had been absorbed.
I was very impressed with this meal. It had a good cheesy and slightly peppery taste. The pasta rehydrated properly. OK, the pieces of beef were tiny, but overall I really enjoyed this one and could easily have eaten another sachet. So this gets a big thumbs up as one of the best non-Fuizion freeze dried meals I’ve tasted.
Risotto with Mushrooms and Chicken
After the previous evening’s experience, my faith had been restored in Bla Band and I was looking forward to the Chicken and Mushroom Risotto. Again, preparation was simple. The guide mark is very helpful in gauging the correct amount of water. Unlike the pasta, not all the water was completely absorbed, but it wasn’t a soup.
While not as good as the carbonara, the taste was still pretty good. The chicken pieces were small but discernible, as were the mushrooms. The rice was was properly hydrated, with no crunchy bits. Overall, this gets a thumbs up as well, but not quite as enthusiastic as the carbonara.
I’d certainly buy two out of the three meals again (carbonara and risotto). In terms of ranking against competitors, they are not quite up to Real Turmat standards, but are much cheaper and less salty. They are some way behind Fuizion (so is everything) but they are better than Mountain House, Expedition Foods, Adventure Food and Be Well. They don’t suffer from that dry feeling and after-taste that some meals have. They also have a low flatulence rating!
I still have three more to try, beef stew with mushrooms, creamy pasta with chicken and potato with beef and sauce Bearnaise. I’m sure the pasta one will be fine, but it will be interesting to see how the two beef dishes stack up against the one I’ve already sampled. I’m certainly not going to buy the mashed potato with beef and vegetable again.
Overall, I think Bla Band is worth trying and would recommend trying the pasta and risotto dishes.
Disclaimer: these meals were purchased with my own funds. I have no financial or commercial arrangements with Bla Band or Outdoors Grub.