26 September 2016

REVIEW: Real Turmat Freeze-Dried Meals

Literally, a light snack.

Interesting one, this. We were asked to give some freeze-dried hiking and camping food pouches a go from Real Turmat, Norwegian experts in lightweight yet nutritious dishes. Although we didn't have any camping trips planned, that didn't stop us from saying yes. Because it's food,Norwegian food no less. And Norway folk are pretty awesome at everything, to be honest. Here's what we thought.

We were sent two pouches to try; the Kjott Suppe (meat soup) and the Laskaus (beef and potato casserole). The thing that struck us the most was how damn small and light the pouches were. Both had been vacuum packed to within an inch of their lives, meaning several of them could be stowed in a rucksack without taking up much room. They were also very light – the soup especially – which didn't really fill us with confidence of a satisfying forthcoming meal.

However, following the instructions we tore off the top of the pouch, poured in water that was between 80 and 100 degrees Celsius, stirred, then sealed up the bags to stand for six to eight minutes. Because of the way the pouches have been design, as soon as you break the seal and let air in, they fill out pretty well and have a sturdy base to stand unaided.

Right, a few minutes down, and with both pouches having bulged quite a bit, we opened them up. Hot damn, there was a tonne of food in there. Seriously, the total mass of food had quadrupled and, especially where the casserole was concerned, the mix was thick and meaty.

Eating straight from the pouch (as all hikers should) we tucked in. The beef and potato casserole was truly delicious, with the potato taking the form more of light mash than actual chunks of tatty. The beef strips were thick and tough, having the consistency more of steak than of the wispy bits of meat we were expecting. The whole thing kept the heat for a good long while, and even 25 minutes after opening the pouch it was still good and hot.

The soup, as you might have expected, was far more watery with smaller chunks of meat and vegetables. This also held the heat well, and was hot for the entire duration of the meal. We were less keen on this, after the brothy delights of the Laskaus (look at us, dropping Norwegian words in left, right and centre!), but it was still delicious.

Sure, we ate ours around a relaxing and warn dining table in the middle of a city, but had we been feasting on these out in the wilds, they would have more than satisfied us. Light to carry, easy to prepare, and both tasty and nutritious, we can't wait to take some Real Turmat food out with us on our next camping expedition. And hey, a few hours later and there have been no 'emergency visits' to the toilet. That's a win, right there.

£9 each.

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