Review: Pasta Evangelists

A lover of all things carbs, I was happy to be contacted by Pasta Evangelists asking if I’d be interested in trying some of their plant-based range, during a special week the home delivery service planned to test out some new vegan dishes.

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At this point I want to say I deliberated about whether to share this review on my blog, because what I received in the mail in the end was not a vegan friendly product. The brand have gone to the effort to develop their new plant-based options with Chef Patron of Tredwells restaurant, Chantelle Nicholson, and these are labelled vegan on their website, but when my parcel arrived I was pretty grossed out to find that the insulated packaging is lined with sheep wool. The packaging is touted as environmentally friendly, biodegradable, recyclable, and sustainable, a little misleading I think when we know that exploiting animals for our own purposes is not really a sustainable way of living (though I appreciate their desire to reduce their use of plastic). I felt uncomfortable that I had unwittingly played a part in that system – I felt responsible to check whether I’d skimmed over something on their website, but describing their packaging, they only say it’s ‘specially insulated’ and don’t refer anywhere to animal products being used. Anyway, knowing this now, I would definitely not order from Pasta Evangelists again unless they sourced vegan packaging, and I think this is a big oversight on their part if they’re hoping to branch out into the vegan market.

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With that out of the way, on to the product itself. I was sent a couple of servings to try – a tagliatelle with wild garlic pesto, and a pumpkin tortelloni. The long cardboard box is sized to fit through a standard letterbox, but that’s no good for me as I live in a flat, so I got it delivered to my office. I was given a one hour delivery slot and the parcel arrived no problem, so this was actually really convenient (apart from making my cycle home with gym kit slightly trickier, but that was my own fault for not thinking things through properly). Inside were two individually packed portions of fresh plant-based pasta, a sachet of pesto for each, a little pot of seeds, and for the tagliatelle, a packet of pickled leeks. One of the pesto sachets had leaked a little but it was only a small amount of oil so nothing too serious. Included in the box were recipe cards featuring images of the dish as cooked by the professionals, and step by step guides of how to put together your quick evening meal.

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The tagliatelle was available for purchase at £6.95, and took all of three minutes to cook, so definitely both quicker and cheaper than a takeaway, and obviously fresher. Having sniffed at the seemingly small portions when they were in their plastic packaging, seeing it in my bowl this was actually a perfect size for me (someone bigger might be left feeling a little hungry). There was ample of the flavourful pesto, made with pumpkin seeds and vegan staple nutritional yeast rather than parmesan cheese. It was a tasty and filling bowl of comfort food, though those among us who are wanting a well-balanced nutritional meal might add some different coloured veggies and extra protein to the mix.

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The Delica pumpkin tortelloni were very filling, and the whole dish was quite soft so I was grateful for the seeds to sprinkle on the top. As you would expect, the pumpkin was very sweet, perhaps a little too sweet for me, though my boyfriend Jamie really enjoyed the flavour of this bowl. It cooked in the same time as the tagliatelle which made serving and eating together at the same time easy. The tortelloni were priced at £8.95, presumably to account for the extra time taken on the filling and putting the pasta together. This is still obviously way less than you’d pay for a dish like this even at a Prezzo, let alone for food from a fine dining establishment, so it’s not unreasonable.

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I can imagine this might be the sort of thing that someone in a well-paid job who is short on time and fed up of unhealthy takeaways would go for. There are no weird additives to the food, it is simple, fresh, and tasty. That said, ultimately, it’s just pesto pasta, and I find spending £9 on a bowl of pesto pasta eaten at home kind of hard to justify. Another major plus side to your local takeaway is that it makes almost zero washing up, whereas this simple meal required two saucepans (per portion, of which we had two) to knock up. I guess the people who can afford this kind of meal regularly also probably own a dishwasher. While the food itself was lovely quality and I really did enjoy it, sadly the service overall is probably not one that I’ll hurry to use again any time soon.

Pasta Evangelists sent me these complimentary dishes to try, all thoughts are my own.

2 thoughts on “Review: Pasta Evangelists

  1. Ciao,

    Thank you for such an in-depth and detailed review. It is helpful for us.
    I am also glad that you and your boyfriend enjoyed the food.
    We are a small start-up and are working hard to improve everything we do.

    I thought I would provide more information on the wool being used to insulate the products.
    To ship chilled food nationwide wool is the most ecofriendly solution. It is being used by pretty much all food companies that ship chilled food overnight.
    We were surprised to learn that actually it is also an animal friendly solution. Let me give some more detail –

    Wool comes from the shearing process which is absolutely necessary to keep sheep clean and healthy. Much different from leather, for example, which can only be acquired from killing a cow or pig, wool is a by-product of the necessary processes to actually keep the animal in good health.

    We also use the coarsest wool which comes from a sheep – this wool is rejected by the textiles industry as it would be too itchy to wear, and because of this, the wool is worth almost nothing to the farmers.

    The Wool Marketing Board, who all sheep farmers legally have to sell their sheared wool to if they have more than 4 or 5 sheep, purchase all the wool from the farmers direct and sell this on for a profit.

    The positive is that we are creating a much higher demand for this ‘worthless’ wool and by using a by-products of the shearing process which would normally go to waste, we can raise the cost of this wool for the farmers, who can afford even better upkeep of their livestock. We also make a point of never using pulled wool as the process does not fit in with the values of our company regarding animal welfare and the environment.

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    1. Hi Alessandro, thanks for your comment.

      I appreciate that you believe you are doing your best for the planet by choosing to use wool-insulated packaging for your products. However, regardless of how ‘animal friendly’ you think the wool you use is (and if you look into it further you’ll find out that it isn’t remotely), you really shouldn’t label your products as vegan while you continue to use it. It is incredibly misleading. There is a distinct difference between the term ‘plant-based’, and veganism. Individuals following a plant-based diet do so for a variety of reasons, such as health or perceived environmentalism, and might not have an issue with the product being delivered using wool. Veganism however is a lifestyle choice where an individual abstains from using animal products in any form, due to the belief that animals do not and should not exist for humans to exploit.

      You talk about how the wool you use is a ‘by-product’ of the shearing process, and how it’s ‘necessary’ to keep the sheep healthy, missing the point that the farmers have bred and raised these sheep solely for human consumption – which is not necessary at all. You talk about the Wool Marketing Board, and the profit made by multiple parties within the supply chain due to the exploitation of these animals, who had no choice in being brought into this world, no choice in how they were treated throughout their short lives, and certainly no choice in how they were killed. This commodification of animals, living beings, is exactly what vegans don’t want to have any part in.

      I understand you are unlikely to rethink your choice of packaging, but none the less I do encourage you to consider re-labelling any plant-based products on your website as such, to avoid any future confusion or upset by unsuspecting customers.

      BW,
      Heather

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