Well, it wasn't supposed to be a raging party. But the wine was flowing and somebody broke a vase at the end, so I guess the blogger preview of F&E new, healthy "EatWell" line was indeed a certified party. :)
This is also the first time all three of the Temple's priestesses were together in the same room! So, I'm starting this post and Sister Annette and Sister Amy will chime in as we go along.
'N: Indeed it was. All that was missing were the Cava and Malbec, but they may have taken the party to a whole ‘nother level. As it was, the wines that were offered were delicious, especially the bubbly. F&E really knows how to choose tasty, affordable wines. They certainly give Trader Joe’s a run for the money in that department.
We were there with many Los Angeles bloggers and tweeps to sample the new line of grab-and-go "nutritionally balanced meal options" which will be in store April 7.
'N: The launch will consist of 17 new items with a second phase coming soon after. The Priestesses all hope that dessert will be part of the second phase.
Many of the offerings are chicken and fish based meals with a good selection of vegetarian meals thrown in that this meat-eater would not lift her nose at.
Yep. Healthy, tasty meals that's FRESH! No frozen or artificial here, kids.
'N: But you *can* freeze the meals. Very important for those of us who grab prepared meals for office lunches. The packaging includes information on re-heating from frozen. They’ve thought of everything!
EatWell products have nutritional postings right in the front of how many calories, how much fat and saturated fat, and sodium per serving are in them. AND one serving here is exactly what it means--that container you're holding is one serving and therefore the nutritional value applies to all that you're about to eat.
The cool part? Each of these EatWell meals contains 25% or less of your daily caloric intake (based on a 2,000 calorie diet). So if you eat 4 of these in one day, you'll be right at the target. Pretty neat concept.
But what wins everyone over is the fact that one of these packages count as one serving. There is no calculating of how many serving is in a box and how many calories do they add up to. Throw out your calculator there, peeps.
So the team had the foods out for us to try. Not all 17 of the products, but the safe choices.
Farmer's Market Salad with Lemon Hummus dressing
O: I didn't try this one.
'N: Me neither, I opted for the Spicy Tuna.
Veggie wrap with red pepper hummus
O: I didn't try this one either. With my braces, I'm not about to bite into crunch veggies. But I adore the red pepper hummus so this can't possibly fail me.
'N: This is one of purely vegetarian offerings that I would eat on a regular basis. “Crisp cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, and spring mix lettuce with red pepper hummus wrapped in a sun-dried tomato tortilla” – Quite tasty and filling. And for $2.99 you can get some of those pesky fruit and vegetable servings out of the way and enjoy it.
Spicy Tuna "Sushi Box" (aka Chirashi)
O: The heat is going to be too much for those who don't eat spicy at all. But those who already love spicy tuna sushi, the heat is perfect here. Just enough to kick you in the mouth but not so much you weep. With the brown rice and edamame, it's a complete meal. This would be the one I'd pick for lunch all the time. The Sisters agreed.
'N: and went back for seconds!
O: Annette and I agreed this lacks some cumin and could use more chili powder. I mean, we're not looking for spicy heat, but spices as flavors.
What about some cheese or sour cream? Annette actually asked for some but there weren't any on hand. Chef Katie also pointed out, that the extra fixings would put the serving over 25% requirement. They did want us to taste the meals the way they actually will be sold. So...remember to pick up some cheese and sour cream on your own there, people.
'N:And as one mom blogger pointed out, you can always add heat, but you can’t take it away. This chili is a good base. You can have it bland for the kids and kick it up a notch at home if you like your chili to taste like it has some chili in it :)
Arroz Con Pollo
O: Again, need more cumin and spices. The texture is great, just need some more flavors.
O: Something is missing and it ain't the salt. Again, we think it needs a bit more herbage in the sauce.
Teriyaki salmon, brown rice, and veggies
O: The salmon was cooked perfectly and the sauce is just right. Another go-to lunch item right here.
We had great food and great conversation with other bloggers and tweeps. A briefing from John Burry and the team, as he called in the Tupperware speech in the middle of dinner, and a casual Q&A with the bloggers.
Chef Katie revealed she likes the Mojito Shrimps, not served today but will be in the stores. On that note we also found that the shrimps came from sustainable farms in Asia that meet F&E/Tesco's standards. (Thailand shrimps! Yes, I am supporting my Motherland!)
ETA: A fellow blogger Amy also discussed the question she posed about the source of F&E seafood.
I'd ask about some EatWell dessert. I mean, you can have healthy stuff that'd fit in the 25% requirment, right? Fruit crumbles? Angel Food Cake? There's gotta be SOMETHING! They said they'd think about it.
Then we were off touring the HQ. We got to sneak a peek at products in development and packaging design, as well as the staff's Halloween party snapshots and, for you geeks like me, the tardis in CEO Tim Mason's office.
John also mentions that they're developing the EatWell for kids. Goodness, I think, is what they'll be called. Kids-friendly healthy, wholesome food with hidden veggies here and there i.e. carrots and spinach blended into the spaghetti sauce. The mom bloggers are excited about that one. Some of us with picky eating adults in the household also rejoiced. ;-)
We all went home with a gift bag each: the canvas 6-bottle-of-wine bag with a bottle of their new Tempranillo Spanish red, a recycled paper note pad, a $25 gift card, and a $5-off-$20-purchase coupon.
Oh, how we have missed you so, $5-off$20 coupons!
Over all, it was a great event for us to try out the new products. Once again, proven that they do listen to their customers here.
Here's the slide show:
Now, more coverage of the event: