In The Best Possible Taste


One of my editors occasionally asks me for contributions she can run in a regular slot called “cheap buys”. It’s normally filled with bargain clothes or home products and to ring the changes she wants five surprisingly cheap food products that would pass muster at a gourmet’s table.

I always struggle, to be honest, and not just because in the food world you generally get what you pay for.

It’s also because unlike skirts, shoes or sofas, you really can’t judge food by how it looks. It’s all in the taste, obviously. And that means a filler article she expects me to knock off in 30 minutes would actually take weeks of research as I tasted every supermarket own-label olive oil and chicken curry to find the standout bargain.

My problem not yours, clearly. But it does demonstrate the importance in the food world of getting samples in front of journalists if you want to gain coverage. There is no way I will promote something I haven’t tried, and that applies to a cheap new cereal bar as much as a limited release of a rare whisky.

The questions I have to ask – and answer - on my readers’ behalf are, Does it taste good? Is it worth it? And that means trying before I buy.

You can decide if it’s better to send a sample straight off or to get in touch and gauge interest first (perhaps I’ll expand on that another week) but just telling me about a new product isn’t enough. You’ve got to get me to taste it too.