“ Brand: Marks & Spencer / Type: Chicken „
Another buffet food my daughter bought with her £50 M&S voucher for the adults at my granddaughters birthday party was a pack of 20 Chicken Saltimbocca with a Red Aioli Dip. I remember eating Veal Saltimbocca in a wonderful Italian restaurant in Rome a few years ago so I was interested to see how these would compare. Saltimbocca in Italian means literally 'Jumps into the mouth' and believe me you will honestly want these little bites to leap onto your taste buds because they are delicious. They look very authentic I thought, they come with a nice looking wooden skewer holding them together which is exactly how mine were served in the idyllic Italian restaurant. A Saltimbocca in this M&S case is a chunk of free range Oakham chicken wrapped in a sage leaf and then Parma ham, they cooked perfectly in a hot oven in just a few minutes with the Aioli being served cold. The Oakham chicken is delightful, it has a delicious garlic flavour which has infused through the whole piece of chicken so that every bite has a wonderful level of garlic flavour. The garlic is not so strong that I couldn't taste the more delicate chicken flavour through it, but it is certainly one of the overriding flavours of these nibbles. The chicken has a lovely buttery and succulent flavour and texture, it is cooked to perfection and literally melted in my mouth as I ate the Saltimbocca. The sage leaf adds a really nice herby flavour that compliments the garlic chicken perfectly, I was worried that the sage leaf may not cook well and would be stringy but I needn't have been concerned as when cooked it soaked up some of the flavoursome chicken juices and was moist and tasty but definitely not stringy or soggy. The Parma ham was used quite sparingly I thought with just a single thin slice wrapped around each Saltimbocca. I thought the ham was quite salty, but them Parma ham always is and this level of saltiness just added to my belief that M&S use only the freshest and most authentic ingredients. The ham is a beautiful addition to these wonderful Saltimbocca. The chicken and ham are the perfect combination in both texture and flavour, the two working together beautifully to give me a real layered flavour from each Saltimbocca. As I'm eating the rich garlic flavour is definitely in the forefront of my mind and taste buds, but this gradually lessens so that I can fully enjoy the taste of the delicious ham and sage combination with the sage coming through more as an aftertaste. For a few minutes after I've eaten a Saltimbocca I have the sensation of having eaten something containing butter and this is a very creamy flavour which I would not really have expected from one of the dryer meats such as chicken. Each Saltimbocca is roughly the size of a sausage and bacon roll that you'd have at Christmas, this means they are perfectly bite sized, although I preferred to bite mine in half so that I was having two delicious mouthfuls of this luxurious and very tasty food. I was not keen on the red pepper Aioli at all, it was certainly rich and creamy but was rather too red pepper flavoured for my taste. I am not a red pepper fan at the best of times though so wasn't honestly expecting to like this dip, I tried a small dip and see why the smoothness of it would compliment the Saltimbocca well but not for me. And anyway, these little meaty nuggets do not really need a dip as they are succulent and delicious enough on their own. Sit down while I tell you the price, these Saltimbocca cost an astounding £16 for 20 of these little bite sized chunks of deliciousness. Worth it? Well yes, considering my daughters vouchers were free but I would have to think twice about spending my hard earned cash on such a small amount of food. For a special party these are fantastic but not priced so that you can eat them regularly, which is a shame.