Our Artichoke Antipasto is perfect as a bruschetta topper or mixed into a potato gratin for a touch of luxury.
• Gluten: Nil Detected
• Vegan friendly
• Made in New Zealand
• No artificial colours or flavours
Refrigerate after opening.
Artichoke is one of those foods that I had zero interaction with until I was eighteen and on my OE. The family I stayed with loved to just cook it as is and eat the heart of it. I tried it but found neither the taste nor texture appealing, to me it was too similar to avocado, a dish I didn't like at all at the time. The last year or so, however, I have begun to grow accustomed to avocado, no longer requesting it be removed from my dish, so I figured the timing worked out well to give artichoke a try again. One thing I really like about these is how the lids have to twist to open, means that when my kids dropped it on the floor, it didn't pop open like other brands do.
I decided to try this with some crackers and cheese, despite finding the texture totally unappealing. I found that it tasted ok but it wasn't anything inspiring nor did I feel like having it on any further crackers, so not a hit in that regards. Making mashed potatoes, I decided I'd mix some of this through instead of my usual carrots, milk and butter, just this and a little milk. None of the kids were keen on the final result, but found that my mother rather enjoyed it, so she was happy to have the leftovers for lunch the following day. This wasn't a hit family and hasn't changed my mind on artichokes, so this won't be on our shopping list anything soon.
I was very excited to receive some of the new Barkers Antipasto range in my most recent review parcel I adore Barkers products and am always excited to try their new ranges. I also love a good antipasto and especially over the summer months platters of fruits, vegetables, crackers, bread, cheeses and cold meats are really popular in our household. I love a good dip with these style of meals and am always keen to try new flavours. Artichoke is something I have heard about but never actually tried, and have a friend that raves about artichoke dip so I was dying to see what it is like.
When I opened the container I could straight away see this artichoke antipasto was very light in colour, the others I tried had very vibrant colours but this was 50% artichoke which is very light in colour itself so the resulting dip is a pale off white. I tried some on a corn chip to start with, dipping just a small amount curious as to what it would taste like. I was hit with a tang from the vinegar, an earthy plant taste somewhat like broccoli and some subtle peppery notes coming through, the texture is very smooth which I liked and was all around very pleasant. I happily dipped another corn chip into it using like a dip this time scopping up more of the delicious dip onto my corn chip.
I had some ciabatta loaf I needed to use up so I toasted it and then used the artichoke antipasto as a spread on the bread, it doesnt have a strong flavour but it added a nice touch to the bread. I'm not 100% sold on artichoke I think it did have a pleasant flavour but I personally reached more for the other Barkers Antipastos I had received and I wasn't able to think of as many ways to use this for me personally.
When I saw this artichoke antipasto come up for review I was really excited, for a number of reasons. One - Barker's products are usually top notch in terms of quality, Two - I have no idea what to do with artichokes and am very intrigued, Three - I have a huge love of antipasto!! (There are definitely more than three reasons, don't you worry!)
I was lucky enough to receive four different flavours of antipasto from Barker's to try, and have to say, my hubby was really excited, possibly more than me even!! This was the second flavour that we decided to try and oh my goodness..... WOW. I could probably leave you all guessing with that comment, but I will fill you in on why the word is a perfect description.
Antipasto are really versatile, and can be used in many more ways than simply a dip or spread - they have the ability to really enhance and spice up (flavour up??!) a dish, and to get you to try different flavours you may not thought of putting together. I really had no idea what to expect from artichoke, having no idea how you prepare, cook, serve, do anything with one! In fact, I think of them as a flower to be honest!
Opening up the container, I noticed it is really sturdy, with a secure lid - essential when you have kids that like to "help'' get things out of the fridge for you! Internally, there is a foil seal also - meaning that until it is opened, you can keep this in the cupboard, then it requires refrigeration. On opening it up, I was hit with a vinegar/pickle type smell, and a tang of spices. I checked the ingredients and was pleased to see that nearly 50% of this antipasto is artichoke, making it relatively low in sugar and things I am trying to avoid - awesome start!!
I decided to be boring and sample it first with crackers, just like a dip, and was met with a tart, vinegar flavour as well as a peppery hint. Oh my goodness - love love loved every bite! This antipasto is absolutely divine!!! From there, I would have very very happily eaten every bite with crackers, but decided to try it in a different way next time - as an accompaniment to homemade burgers. As you can see in the picture - I very generously applied it to the bun (then on top put another antipasto type spread) and the result - a very interesting and flavourful burger - an absolute delight to eat, if I'm honest. The tart and vinegary taste really complemented the meat and the cheese and really made it much more than a boring burger!!
All in all I really really enjoyed this antipasto and without a doubt will be buying it again. I think it is probably my favourite, but I do not want to exclude any of the flavours, so may have to just keep eating them all!!!
Antipasti are so versatile - they are a great way to start a meal or to jazz up a between-meals snack. The more flavoursome the better, and certainly the artichoke flavour drives this antipasto. On removing the lid, I encountered a fairly ordinary pickle smell, but when I tasted it the full salt-sour taste of the various herbs and spices leapt out at me. I have often eaten artichokes with a plain dressing of butter and black pepper, with an occasional splash of lemon juice, but this way of preparing them is a revelation.
I was planning to attend a potluck dinner with several friends, so as my contribution I took some of the artichoke antipasto and mixed it with soft cream cheese. The mixture was then pressed into avocado halves and topped with a little fresh coriander. I usually serve avocado with a variation on a basic vinaigrette, so the combined flavours of the antipasto led me to believe that this would be a suitable combination. Very simple and very effective. I prepared a half avocado for each person attending, with an extra three halves just in case someone turned up unexpectedly. Nobody did, but I did notice that the extra three had mysteriously vanished with only the empty avocado skins left behind!
Because that dish was so successful, I thought it might be useful to try the antipasto with some other dishes normally served with pickles. I could have cheated and just used it as a dip with commercially produced potato crisps, but that seemed a cop-out and rather too obvious. I had a recipe for home-made cheese straws which were quite easy to make, so I got my friend's two teenage daughters to bake some with the idea of dunking them in the antipasto. It took a little organising and a lot of laughter, but eventually they managed to bake some flavoursome if slightly burned and misshapen cheese sticks. (I hesitate to call them straws as they ended up being quite thick). The four of us tried them with the antipasto and there was a unanimous thumbs up. They were good!
Finally, I tried some as a dressing on some leftover pizza. Cold pizza is not especially inspiring; it has lost its flavour and often its texture as well. But when you are going on a hike for four hours or so, it can provide a quick energy boost, especially for permanently hungry teenagers. We wrapped the pizza slices and took the antipasto separately as we thought it would travel better that way. The secure screw-top lid ensured that it would not spill, and although it is meant to be refrigerated once opened, we were confident that there would be none left by the time we had spread it on the pizza. The exercise was an unqualified success. The pizza was piquant and eminently edible, and as I had predicted, there was no antipasto left to spoil in the heat. We had finished the lot!
I am a real lover of Italian food and having grown up in the UK, antipasto was really easy to come by. I love being able to have really tasty and unique bites of foods as a snack for lunch, or at the end of the day accompanying a nice drink. Since being in New Zealand, I have found it hard to find really good antipasto which isn't really expensive, so when I saw these Antipasto Artichoke pots from Barker's, I was really keen to try them out.
When I received the pot, it was great to be able to see the delicious-looking artichoke contained within it. Diving into it, I noticed that it was a really great colour. So often artichoke can go a grey, dark mushy mess, but this had been preserved beautifully. Ready to eat, no further preparation is required, so I could taste straight from the pack (very different to if you have the hassle of fresh artichokes to prepare). The flavour was delicious- zingy, but slightly sweet and beautifully creamy, they were a joy to eat just with a spoon from the pack, so using them for a grazing table or platter would be really easy.
I knew though that to really put them through their paces, I needed to try them out in other dishes, and I was definitely not disappointed. Stirred through a simple sage and burned butter pasta, these artichokes shone- providing the extra little lift to finish the dish off perfectly. They were also delicious when added to a creamy potato salad- cutting through and balancing the rich creamy sauce. Another great use was provided on the packet itself- added on top of bruschetta alongside a few tomatoes and a generous slug of olive oil they were the perfect lunch for a warm and sunny day for the whole family to enjoy.
Overall, what an amazingly versatile ingredient Barker's have produced. Not only are they great quality, but for the uses and ease, fantastic value for money. Perfect for your Summer BBQ, right through to the deepest of winter cheese dishes, give them a try, you will not be disappointed.
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