Even before his Emmy Award-winning show, Food Revolution, took America by storm, I was a fan of Jamie Oliver and his approachable recipes. So when I discovered he'd released a new line of pantry essentials, Jme, at Williams-Sonoma, I knew I had to find a way to get my hands on them.
With the new collection, the British chef aims to highlight the authentic food traditions of small-scale artisan producers. But are the pricey products actually any good? To find out, we tested the jams, jellies, preserves, and biscuits; see what we thought when you keep reading.
English Honey: As a basis for comparison, I tasted the Jme honey ($15) next to an inexpensive, store-bought variety that I had at home. The difference was noticeable: In contrast to the thicker, one-note conventional honey, the English honey, produced by bees from Worcestershire, had a more liquid consistency, and a grassy, herbaceous flavor that resonated from start to finish. The honey would be spectacular served with a cheese platter.
Seville orange marmalade: The orange rind preserve ($20) was my favorite for its reusable jar and its complexity: It was bitter, tart, and sticky all at the same time. I enjoyed it out of the jar, on crackers, toast, and even with meat.
Hot Mint Jelly: Once you get past the odd mouthwash smell and actually taste the mint jelly ($14), it's exquisite. The all-natural preserve had some serious spice. It went well with the recommended pairing of pan-seared lamb chops, and surprisingly addictive with cream cheese and crackers.
Biscuits: My least favorite of the bunch, the Jme biscuits ($10) just didn't seem worth the price. The Nutty Pecan & Pumpkin Seed shortbread tasted stale and lifeless, and had plenty of calories to boot. I enjoyed the orange rind and fruit notes in the Fig & Orange Biscuit, but $10 for 12 cookies simply seemed too steep a price to pay for what you get.
Apple Plum Jam: This Bramley apple and Stanley plum jam ($15) had the perfect consistency. With a sweet, tangy kick and generous chunks of actual fruit, it was like eating a fruit roll-up in a jar.
Hot Pepper Jelly: This Jamaican-style jelly ($14) with Scotch bonnet chiles was extremely sweet, with a spicy kick. On its own, it didn't have a ton of pepper flavor, but it helped put a gouda and basil grilled cheese over the top, and was delicious as a glaze for shrimp.
Do you plan to try any of Jamie Oliver's new products?