This is the second UKClimbing.com user review of Travellunch, the freeze-dried meals distributed by Rosker. In the first Alicia samples the delights of Pasta in a Creamy Sauce with Herbs, Scrambled Eggs and Mousse au Chocolate. You can read here review here and the associated debate about trans-fats / hydrogenated veg oils here.
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We have several other user reviews of Travellunch coming up in the next month. Here's CarolineMc's to add to the mix. She sampled Vegetable Risotto, Creamy Herb Pasta and Chocolate Muesli with Milk.
My lasting memory of dehydrated expedition food is a Raven Chili-con-Carne, eaten somewhere near the Cheviot in 1992. Anyone else who's tried this, er, delicacy is likely to agree that it is an experience not to be repeated. Hence my further forays into the world of dried food have generally been limited to Bachelor's Pasta 'n' Sauce and the occasional bowl of noodles served at Awesome Walls. So, bring forth the Travellunch test - three silver foil packages promising tasty meals with minimum fuss. Weighing in at just 125g, they were certainly light, easy and convenient to make! But were they any good?
I took the Vegetable Risotto out on the hill one afternoon and was looking forward to a hot meal instead of the customary (and legendary?) pork pie. After boiling up the water and pouring it in the pouch I gave the powder a pretty good stir with my spork and let it stew. I was disappointed to find that despite this I'd still missed quite a lot of the goo and when I got to the bottom of the pack, there was a solid lump. The other disappointment was the serious lack of vegetables. I checked the ingredients and found only 3% peas, 3% carrots and 1% mushrooms. To be honest it felt like less but the presence of salt was far more apparent and on checking, it appeared above mushrooms on the ingredient list. In all, it was relatively all right, quite filling and would make a good emergency meal on a lightweight expedition if you lacked the energy or effort to make anything else.
Next up was the Chocolate Muesli with Milk (not for dessert, I might add!), which could be served hot or cold. Being 'summer' I thought I'd try it cold so I added a random amount of cold water and gave it a stir, but then I wondered what the bits that looked like rats droppings were. Turns out they were crunchy choccy bits - cool! I was also happy to find quite a lot of real milk chocolate too. Muesli is one of my least favourite things to eat but I was pleasantly surprised - it was filling, tasty and actually quite satisfying. However, for the price (rrp £2.40) frankly I'd expect a handsome butler to come and serve it to me on a silver salver. I could buy a big box of Tesco's Finest and some Five Pints for that kinda cash!
Finally it was the turn of the Creamy Herb Pasta. Remembering the lack of tasty ingredients in the risotto, I cheated a little and fried up a couple of rashers of streaky bacon to go with this one! Ignoring my added extras, the meal was more filling than the first but again the mix was quite salty and unfortunately the pasta was macaroni. This ensured that some of the powder was hiding in the tubes and escaped the hot water which would have made it a tasty sauce. Instead I'd get a sudden crunchy, salty mouthful and needed a drink to hand. Perhaps fusili twists might have been a better bet? Still, like before, it made a reasonable meal to fill a hole.
So all in all, an interesting experiment. I'm not sure I'd have these three offerings again, but maybe if I was trying to limit the weight in my sack and needed some emergency food I'd chuck one or two in. They're certainly convenient and a reasonable size but they're expensive for what you get and I'd be reluctant to have them as my sole source of expedition food - I'm not sure my blood pressure could cope with all the salt!!
Pack weights: 125g (although these varied between 130g and 145g)
Vegetable Risotto: Kjoule/100g: 1607; Kcal/100g: 381; Protein (g)/100g: 7.0; Carbohydrate (g)/100g:64.1; Fat (g)/100g:10.7; Required Water: 375ml
Pasta in a Creamy Sauce with Herbs: Kjoule/100g: 1730; Kcal/100g: 412; Protein (g)/100g: 10.0; Carbohydrate (g)/100g:56.4; Fat (g)/100g:16.2; Required Water: 400ml
Chocolate Muesli with Milk: Kjoule/100g: 1707; Kcal/100g: 405; Protein (g)/100g: 10.8; Carbohydrate (g)/100g:63.1; Fat (g)/100g:12.2
UK Availability and details of the full range at : www.rosker.com
Travellunch are available all over the UK from:Snow and Rock, Cotswold Outdoors, Tisos, Nevisport, Blacks, Footprints, Up and Under, Joe Browns, Outside, Penrith Survival, Outdoor Wharehouse, One Step Beyond, Hitch n Hike, Go Outdoors, FaceWest, Oswald Bailey, Open Air, Tackle Up, Trail Venture, Taunton Leisure, Outdoors and Active and more.
Travellunch is made in Augsburg, southern Germany. It is good food that is freeze-dried to retain more flavour and nutritional values than simple dehydrated food.
Each menu has been produced to meet the energy and more complex nutritional requirements of outdoor enthusiasts.There is a wide choice of breakfasts, main meals, soup and desserts with numerous options for vegetarians.
Apart from 4 of the menus, the meals are prepared simply and quickly by adding hot water (or cold water for desserts and muesli breakfasts) to the foil pouch which expands as the meal prepares itself ready for eating. The pouch becomes free standing and the foil retains much of the heat. These meals can be eaten straight from the pouch.