I can't say the thought of packaged camp food (you know, the kind in a pouch) has ever been appealing to me. I've seen it at outdoor and sporting goods shops when I lived in California. It made me think of astronaut food or military rations and didn't seem all that appetizing. My opinion has now changed thanks to Great Grub Camp Food, a Bay Area company that focuses on using many ingredients produced by local purveyors.
Back in October 2013 The Glampette (my tiny 4'x6' travel trailer) and I were fortunate enough to participate in an overnight camping excursion on Treasure Island in San Francisco, CA. You can read the blog post here: Nine teardrops and a tiny travel trailer on Treasure Island.
It was a teardrop rally with mine being the only canned ham shaped profile. During the day we hung out, gave grand tours (that took about 30 seconds) and answered the many questions visitors to the Treasure Island Flea Market had about our pint-sized RVs.
One of those visitors was Laura Ramirez-Gonzalez, the founder of Great Grub Camp Food. She introduced herself, told me about her concept to create a line of delicious, convenient, and natural camp foods for vehicle based camping. She asked if I'd be willing to try out and taste test her products once they were developed. Being a traveling-sometimes-camper-foodie and someone who loves to promote small businesses how could I say no?
When my Great Grub care package arrived this winter it was so cold I started out by sampling the deliciously cozy Cheese Tortellini soup with Spinach.
Upon opening the package I took a peek inside. The broth is a dry powder mixed with dried cheese tortellini from Italy. The spinach was packaged separately. The first thing I noticed was the incredible green color of the spinach. It made me excited that the ingredients looked so appetizing. The tiny dried bits of tomato were barely noticeable, until they hit the soup pot.
Just boil water and add the tortellini and broth. The instructions are to cook for 14 minutes. . .
. . . Then add the dried spinach at the end. The packaging also suggested adding sausage which I reasoned made for a more filling meal. For two people one package with nothing added would be a good meal. For three or four campers I'd add meat or extra veggies like corn or maybe a chopped up fresh tomato to extend the serving sizes beyond the packages recommendation of 2 people. I used Aidell's Chicken Apple sausage that has been seared in a cast iron pan then sliced. You could also add more veggies as well.
The soup definitely exceeded my expectations of camp food. The broth was creamy, lightly cheesy, and well seasoned. I didn't need to add any additional salt or pepper before serving. Not only did it taste good, it was aesthetically pleasing as well. The small bits of orangey-red tomato complemented the verdant green spinach.
Fred liked it too. My one question to him was: Would you want more of this to take camping? To which he replied: "Sure!" Fred is often a man of few words. LOL. We had enough for two plus a serving leftover that I froze. When reheated it was just as good as fresh.
Though marketed as a product that's convenient for travel and camping I do see another great opportunity where it can fill a void. I have a few friends who don't really know how to cook. For them soup would either be crack open a can of Campbell's or Progresso or have to learn how to cook from scratch. Great Grub is a great in-between product if they'd like to put together a tasty home cooked meal for themselves or a guest.
Next I'll be reviewing the Lemon Blueberry Pancakes. Yum!
To check out the entire line visit www.GreatGrubCampFood.com
Disclosure: Though I occasionally receive complimentary products the fact that they were given to me never sways my review of any product. I sample, photograph, and write the blog post based on my own experience. In cases where the review is partially or fully negative I do give the company the option to decline the post be published meaning they have to accept the review as is or not at all. Since 2006 this has happened three times. In two cases the companies acknowledged the reviews, even though partially negative, were fair and asked me to publish the posts as written. The third time it happened the company declined having the post published at all.