Since March 2020, food and drink brands across the country have had to react at a moment’s notice to doing business through various lockdown conditions and in a constant atmosphere of uncertainty.

But it seemed to us that any panic among our favourite brands soon evolved into great innovation and forward-thinking. We watched some of our most-loved restaurants, bars, pubs, and cafés rise to the occasion to keep calm and carry on with delivery services, click and collect options, and at-home meal kits leading the charge!

Over the past year we’ve been particularly excited by the variety of meal kit options exploding onto the scene from food and drink brands in their bid to retaliate against the pandemic’s tight grip. As the country begins to re-open again, we wanted to spotlight some of our favourite meal kits to honour the incredible efforts made by these brands during such challenging times. So, grab a snack and read on because you’re about to feel rather hungry!

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PASTA EVANGELISTS

Given we’ve been stuck inside for the past year, I had previously attempted to order an Italian takeaway, however pasta never really seems to travel that well. This was the perfect opportunity to get restaurant-quality pasta, straight to my door, and help me brush up on my cooking skills at the same time. 

Each Pasta Evangelists recipe includes everything you need to prepare your dish, including freshly made pasta, an authentic sauce, and a delicious garnish. My dish of choice was ‘wild mushroom and porcini triangoli with truffle butter and hazelnuts.’ The dish was easy to cook, assemble and tasted delicious!

Becca, Client Services

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FOSTER’S CATERING, ‘BURGER CLUB’

We supported Foster’s Catering, a local wedding and events caterer who have been hit hard over lockdown and had to find ways to diversify. Step in Burger Club, a doorstep delivery every Friday with a different feature burger every single week, announced via Instagram with a ‘burger build’ grid vid!

So delicious, we tried it three times. The Achilleas (Greek lamb) and The Southern Belle (buttermilk chicken) were amazing, but the Hello 2021 was the fave in our house. Two brisket beef patties, pickled shallots, gherkins, bacon jam, Monterey Jack, blue cheese dressing and a brioche bun! Hell yeah!

The triple-cooked chips with parmesan and truffle mayo were the icing on the cake! Great value for money and great to support a local business too

Claire, Cracked’s Owner

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HONEST BURGER

Back in January we were sent a box of DIY burgers from Honest Burger (my mother-in-law-to-be sent them as a treat) and they were amazing! From the packaging and the recipe/info card to the actual meal itself, it was a great way of having a much nicer at-home burger without getting a takeaway.

In the box itself, you received all your ingredients to build your burger, along with suggested sides and spices for your homemade fries.

It was all very delicious and indulgent! Another plus is that they come with brioche buns and not seeded (my other half can’t eat seeded buns).

Alyssa, Creative Design

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HAWKSMOOR AT HOME

We were gifted a Hawksmoor kit for my husband’s 40th birthday. I can’t say I would’ve ever spent the money on it myself as it’s very pricey, but it was a lovely gift, and we also got the cookbook too!

As you can imagine, the kit came with an iconic Hawksmoor steak with triple-cooked marrow fat chips, a lovely sauce and some broccoli, all accompanied with a good bottle of red. It was amazing! Thankfully, my husband is pretty good at cooking a steak and the instructions were very straightforward, and the marrow fat was the making of the chips!

It was a lovely treat, but I can’t help but feel I would rather my food is cooked for me, so a takeaway option is definitely more appealing than a meal kit for me. I also worry about cooking it correctly and — let’s face it — a steak could have gone wrong, and at that price I don’t think I want to cook it incorrectly. Great gift idea, amazing food, but I would rather buy a takeaway from a lovely restaurant and not have to cook it for myself. However, it did make me want to book for dinner as soon as I can!

Zoe, Client Services

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SCARPETTA PASTA

Now that there’s a huge variety of pasta meal kits and takeaway options from Italian restaurants, I can’t imagine life without them! I never knew this was missing from my life until I tried Scarpetta’s artisan pasta — fresh, traditional, and completely addictive dishes made by hand.

We decided to try the burrata arrabbiata, beef shin ragu pappardelle, and the beef and truffle ravioli. Wow. What a combo. But better yet, super easy to prepare! I loved the way each meal came with its own instructions, with everything branded in the Scarpetta colours to give it that extra-premium feel.

Those three dishes didn’t sound all that filling to begin with, but we soon felt pretty stuffed — and only wanted more! The only thing I should warn you about is the cooking itself. Because the pasta is completely fresh, it takes less than 4 minutes to cook, so get ready to use almost every saucepan or pot and be prepared for things to get messy very quickly. But, if you’re like us and don’t mind all that in the name of gorgeous, freshly made pasta, you can’t do any better for a reasonably priced artisanal Italian meal kit than Scarpetta.

Lucy, Copy & Content

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DOUGHNUT TIME

For someone who absolutely loves a Doughnut Time treat whenever I pop up to London, not being able to get these during lockdown was a real blow… until they bought out their DIY Doughnut Kits!

Naturally, I’ve had multiple of these during the last year! Every time, they’ve arrived perfectly with that delicious doughnut aroma coming from the box before I’d even opened it. The decorating is so simple and is clearly aimed at all ages, but we had fun doing it as adults! Plus, nothing beats the left-over icing.

Something that stood out for me is their brilliant vegan options — not one, not two, but three different at-home kits are available to us vegans — and I can safely say having tried all three that the Biscoff is the best!

Nicole, Creative Design

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PASSO TO GO

Mummy and daughter Valentine’s night in our house involved a Passo To Go pizza kit — my daughter Nia’s favourite.

Amazing value for money, great packaging (I’m a sucker for it) and a hassle-free, but from-scratch experience to enjoy rather than just shoving a pizza in the oven, which we do all too often.

We went for the spicy Schiacciata salami, fresh tomato sauce, garlic and olive oil, jalapenos, sliced red onions and parmesan, plus a simple margherita with ham. It came with easy-to-follow instructions and a tutorial video accessed via a QR code. Both were delicious and well worth the dough! (Oh no, did I just type that?)

Claire, Cracked’s Owner

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