review by Tony Lourens
There are two major factors that can hugely enrich your experience when out in the mountains, whether on a traverse across the Cederberg or Drakensberg, a trip into the wild Hex, or even an overnight jaunt to your favourite climbing area. One is you want to carry as light as possible. The other, at the end of the day, when you are tired and weary from a long day on your feet, you want to tuck into a great meal. Now, I’m a lover of fresh produce, but I also realise that there are times when that is just not possible, particularly if you are trying to shave precious weight off your bulging rucksack.
Forever Fresh is a locally manufactured, freeze dried product. It has been going for a few years now, but recently I see that it is taking up more and more shelf space in popular outdoor stores. On a recent trip to the Italian Alps, I was fortunate enough to be asked to test out their range of new ‘game’ meals: Kudu Spaghetti Bolognese, Ostrich Lasagne and Eland Stroganoff. We had planned some alpine trekking, so these super-light meals fitted in very well with our plans.
I remember well arriving at the Gervasutti Hut at nearly 3,000 metres, just below the Grand Jorasses, after a gruelling six hours of quite demanding, steep alpine terrain, tired and hungry.
After a few cups of tea, we felt rested enough to contemplate dinner and out came the Kudu Bolognese. One of the beauties about these meals is the simplicity in the making. Just add boiling water and, in just a few minutes, the meal is prepared directly in its own packaging, which has a base, so it is relatively stable to balance on the ground. This also means no dirty dishes at all, except your fork or spoon – no pot nor plate necessary, which means another saving on pots and pans and dishwashing paraphernalia. The other beauty, as we found out, as the temperature outside dropped and we watched the sun setting on the other side of Mont Blanc, was how delicious the meal tasted. I’ve tasted quite a few freeze dried foods, and I must say, the flavours in the Forever Fresh meals were really great. Patsy and I shared a 128 g bag and we found that it was sufficient. I think two big hungry men after a big day on the hill, may want a little extra, but if you supplement it with a cup-o-soup, then it would be perfect, or just have a 128 g bag each. They’re so light, so another bag in your pack would make very little difference.
One other thing I would suggest is to add 100 to 200 ml more water to the mix than stated on the packet and let it sit for at least five minutes longer. This will make it less thick and also give more food overall.
The other two meals we ate at a later stage and found those to be equally delicious and adding the extra water did the trick!
Besides their ‘game’ range, Forever Fresh do a variety of other delicious meals, including chicken, lamb, beef, etc. as well as some mouth-watering vegetarian options, and also sweet treats! Definitely got you covered for all your culinary needs in the mountains.
Visit their website for more info and to check out their full range of products. You will be titillated, to say the least!
RRP: R199.95 (Game meals)
Available at: www.foreverfresh.co.za