Saturday, 16 November 2013

A New Kid on the Block........Mountain Trails Moroccan Cous Cous with Chicken.

The colder months are here and I like to take a stove and something to eat with me. It's a good way to warm up and get some energy. I like to take a freeze dried meal with me, Fuizion being my favourite. But these meals are quite expensive for a quick meal out on a walk. Well I've found a cheaper alternative, Mountain Trails.

Mountain Trails have been making vacuum packed porridge for quite some time. They produce them in various flavours and are very convenient for backpacking, camping etc.
 
 
A week or so ago I spotted some freeze dried meals on ebay called Food on the Move. I ordered a couple and dropped an email to Mountain Trails as there company was mentioned in the ebay page. It turns out they are the one and the same. Mark Trodden, the proprietor emailed me back to confirm they plan to produce 8 breakfasts, 12 mains and 8 desserts.
 
 
From ebay I ordered a couple of mains at a cost of £4.99 each, including delivery which is potentially highly competitive. I also purchased a couple of Granola packs at a cost of £2.99 each, including delivery.
 
 
My main interest is the main meals. I ordered a Moroccan Cous Cous with Chicken and a Spaghetti Bolognaise. The delivery took around 4 days to arrive, pretty fast considering its free.


First Impressions

The meals arrive vacuum packed in the usual silvery packs wrapped in a cellophane outer bag which has all the sticky labels on for the product and instructions. The cellophane bag may come in handy for keeping rubbish together. What I noticed in particular is that the packaging is tall and thin, opposite to Bla Band packs. This was something that I thought might be an issue. The packs are also very compact. Mountain Trails seem to have gone for the smallest size packaging they can get away with. This might be ideal for weight conscious backpackers.


Preparation

The meal was easy to prepare. Following the instructions and adding the required 250ml of water was simple enough. You will however need a measuring system as there is no marker on the pack like some others. THe meal needs a good stir and then I left it for around 10 minutes.


Texture

The texture was quite good. Cous Cous is hard to make a hash of, but there were actual lumps of Chicken in the meal which had re-hydrated nicely. It also contained mixed peppers and a small amount of seasoning.


Flavour

Flavour was good with individual ingredients flavours coming through. I was particularly impressed with the chicken. The meal was not too spicey, or salty like some. It may not be spicey enough for some, but they do have to meet a wider audience. I'd put the meal more on par with Bla Band if not quite as spicey.


After the Meal

Afterwards I did not feel full, but I did feel like I had had a reasonable sized meal. A dessert or something to bulk the meal up would make it a good rounded after walk meal. For a lunch during a walk it would be acceptable.


The Packaging

This can be a problem if it is done wrong. And this is the Achilles Heel of the meal. It is compact and light which is great. But I think their packaging is 90 degrees out of whack. Eaten with a long handled spoon, the meal is accessible, but not as easy as a Bla Band. Something you might find irritating if you are ravenous after a long walk. If packaged like a Bla Band, the meal would be brilliant.


Nutrition
 
The meal dry, weighs 125g. This makes the food weight slightly higher than some competitors, but with a lower calorie count, 488 in this meal. This can go one way or the other. It may be that the lighter, higher calorie count meals are packing in the carbs or fat. These Meals on the Move seem to be packing in the protein. Some will prefer the more filling, high protein meal. Some will want the higher calorie count. I think that the environment and location may dictate which you go for. So if you want lower carbs, lower fats and higher protein, Food on the Move maybe up your street.





Final Thoughts
 
Would I recommend Food on the Move. For flavour....yes. For protein.......yes. For calories......that depends on whether you carry supplementary sources of energy. For packaging and ease of access, there are better. But the price of £4.99 including delivery may clinch it for some. I certainly will be purchasing more.
 
I would also recommend their Spaghetti Bolognaise, one of the best I have tasted.
 
As of November 17th 2013 these meals are not on the Mountain Trails site yet. But I have assurances they will be soon.

http://www.mountaintrails.org.uk/default.asp