So here we are. September has arrived, I *think* the heatwave days are behind us and the grass is dewy in the mornings. But you know what? Despite being a summer lover, there is something special about September. There may be a hint of cosiness to come but still plenty of warmth to get out and enjoy. And what perfect way to embrace it than with a picnic? Thanks to Abel & Cole I’ve been able to do exactly that, making the most of a beautiful first weekend of the month.
I’m sure I don’t need to give you the lowdown on Abel & Cole, but in case you’ve been MIA for the last 30 years they are farm-to-front-door home delivery pioneers, delivering fresh, seasonal, organic food. It’s all about being sustainable and ethical and end-to-end everything they do is focused on that from their reusable and recyclable packaging to their delivery method, one of the most efficient in Europe.
What I didn’t realise however is that aside from the organic, seasonal fruit and veg boxes is the huge choice of other products they offer. Everything from artisan produce recipe boxes, meal kits and standalone items for all your grocery needs including so many vegan options. This is ideal for someone like me who struggles to always find great choice at the supermarkets and rarely has the time.
Of course there is a bit of vegan backlash from some quarters. But you know what? Live and let live, everyone has the right to make a choice about their eating habits and it doesn’t turn all of us into boring preachers. Wine, cake, cheese – it can all still be enjoyed as part of a vegan lifestyle and Abel & Cole have no less than 68 vegan wines currently available online.
Curated by ‘grape guru’ Honey Spencer, the range includes the finest organic and bio-dynamic wines. Included in my delivery, the August monthly organic wine club selection hails from the Rhone region in France. Here, fourth generation winemaker Michael Gassier resides at Château de Nages harvesting by hand to create the Château de Nages Liberty range (which co-incidentally come in THE most beautifully designed packaging).
My Abel & Cole delivery also included a bottle of the Albury Estate Classic Cuvee, hailing from the Albury Organic Vineyard on the southern slopes of the North Downs in the Surrey Hills. This holds particular poignance for us as what feels like at least a lifetime ago when we got married, we chose to have English Sparkling wine at our wedding instead of Champagne. It felt a little controversial more than 11 years ago with people questioning our choice but a homegrown sparkle really is wonderful.
But of course, what is a picnic without food? Wine always needs some delicious accompaniments no matter how delectable it is. Abel & Cole have no shortage of organic, vegan and seasonal foods on offer as you might expect. A delicious raisin & walnut sourdough from The Famous Hedgehog Bakery and crackers from Rude Health combining beautifully with the smoked and turmeric hummus selection.
For me though the winner will always be cheese. Although cheese not as you know it. There are very clever people out there doing special things with cashew nuts and cashew cheese is a feast to behold. Ok, it’s never going to be having a cheese sandwich and is more like a spreadable version but the flavours can be immense. I received three different choices from the Nutcrafter Creamery, a brand I’d never heard of but will definitely be returning to.
And of course, if you have wine, bread and cheese, then no meal is complete without chutney, at least not a proper British picnic anyway. From figs to sweet onion to ale, Abel & Cole have a chutney on hand for every palette. And we were able to make good use of our next door neighbour’s home-grown veggies too. Organic and sustainable right across the board, woudn’t you say?
I can honestly say it’s been the biggest treat sampling these delicious wares and seeing as there’s just two of us, the vegan wines may well last all the way through to Christmas. Unless of course I throw a party but when something is this good, I really don’t want to share. I’ll link all products and details below.
Raisin & Walnut Sourdough, Organic, Famous Hedgehog Bakery, £3.75
Multigrain Thins, Organic, Rude Health, £2.25
Turmeric Houmous, Organic, Abel & Cole, £3.00
Smoked Houmous, Organic, Abel & Cole, £3.00
Fig & Balsamic Chutney, Organic, Abel & Cole, £3.95
Real Ale Chutney, Organic, Abel & Cole, £3.50
Apricot Chutney, Organic, Abel & Cole, £3.95
Sweet Onion Relish, Organic, Abel & Cole, £3.50
Aged Black Peppercorn Cashew Cheese Alternative, Organic, Nutcrafter Creamery, £7.95
Aged Chive Chevre Style Cashew Cheese Alternative, Organic, Nutcrafter Creamery, £7.95
Aged Roasted Garlic Cashew Cheese Alternative, Organic, Nutcrafter Creamery, £7.95
Disclaimer: This is sponsored post written in collaboration with Abel & Cole who kindly sent me a selection of their vegan wine and food offerings. As always, I only ever accept product from a brand I would genuinely use.