~Retail Therapy~ My husband likes a good bargain and found this blender in the retail park near where I work at a knock-down price of just £10 in the Tesco Direct store. Normal price would be £49.99 so it was a shocking saving. "I guess they were just trying to get rid of them" he said, excitedly. I am not surprised by his blender excitement because this piece of kit has all the classic appeal of a super-charged power tool. There's nothing wimpy about its stylish black and chrome good looks and once you get it plugged in, the 800w motor packs one heck of a punch. Over the last 20 years I've had a lot of different blenders - cheap and not so cheap, own-label and branded - but never one that's a patch on the Breville. The last time I saw something this powerful it was in an industrial kitchen. This is less of a blender and more of a pulveriser, but it isn't all about beating the bejesus out of everything in its path; when called upon it can be quite subtle too. ~So what do you get?~ In my perfect world, you'd get the stick hand blender and that would be your lot. If I look through the boxes in the garage, I could find several each of the accessory bits that blender manufacturers use to boost the perceived value of their products. We'd had so many of these blender 'packages' and it's always the blender that breaks and the other bits rarely get taken out of the box. And then when the blender's kaput, the rest is obsolete. With this Breville you get an egg whisk attachment, an 800ml 'goblet' for putting stuff into before you zap it with the stick blender, and a 500 ml chopper attachment. IF you don't have an egg whisk, a suitable bowl or jug or a chopper, these may all come in handy but we do have them and we don't need the extras. In fact I've not only not used the other bits, I've not even seen them. My husband 'tidied them away' and can't remember where he put them. But let's be honest, if the stick blender is good then this is worth buying and if it's bad, any number of extra gizmos won't make it more attractive. We have a small Russell Hobbs chopper and an elderly Kenwood Chef food processor so we don't need the chopper or the egg whisk either. ~Give it some stick~ If you are thinking of buying a stick blender, I'd recommend you consider two things. Firstly be sure to buy one with a removable blade attachment so you can stick it in the dishwasher or the washing up bowl and not just run it under the tab whilst desperately trying to keep the electrical bits out of the water. Secondly, try to get one that has multiple speeds and a high wattage engine. The cheapest ones have only one or two speeds and limited power. The Breville has quite a heft to it's certainly the heaviest hand blender that I've ever owned. If it were not so stunningly powerful and therefore really quick, I suspect I'd soon find it got too heavy to hold for very long even with its rubberised grip. The black body has a button on either side which helps the body to clip onto the relevant attachment. These are also the buttons you click to remove the attachments too. On the top of the body there's a dial with setting from one to twelve to vary the power of the blending action and on the front of the body there's a swivel switch to either set the blender to 'ON' or 'TURBO'. If you use ON, the speed varies according to the setting on the dial. If you go TURBO, it just blasts the daylights out of anything nearby. We mostly use the blender for making vast vats of soup with the stick blender attachment. This attachment is stainless steel so it won't make any difference how deeply coloured the soup is - it won't stain or discolour. We've had plastic stick blenders that were badly stained and looked like they had a 60-a-day smoking habit after making carrot or pumpkin soup. We've also had low powered blenders that could barely cope with the softest of lumps and took forever to zap a large saucepan of soup. This isn't the case with the Breville. I like my soup smooth and this blender when set to TURBO will zap through a vat of soup in less than a minute leaving it lump free. I have also used it to beat eggs for scrambled eggs. If you want to make smoothies or baby food, this should deal with them without breaking sweat. It's quite possible you could use it for making cakes, but we would always use the Kenwood and it's much bigger bowl for that. For me a 500ml chopper bowl is a bit too small but you could zap up some hummus, salsa or guacamole if small batches are all you need. I guess the egg whisk would be handy for meringues if you don't have an alternative, but again that's something I'd put in the Kenwood Chef. ~Recommendation~ What you'll use the Breville VHB065 for will depend on what you like to make and what other equipment you already have in your cupboards. However, even if you don't need the other bits and bobs, this is an absolutely outstanding stick blender. I'm not sure I'd pay nearly £50 for it, but if you aren't fussed about the other attachments, then at any price up to around £35 it would be a stonking great bargain.
Short name: Breville VHB065