Rating: 7.3 / 10
Value for Money 1.3 / 2.5
Taste 1.2 / 2.5
Convenience 2.3 / 2.5
Weight 2.5 / 2.5
The Back Country Cuisine range of outdoor meals is probably the best known in Australia. These meals are stocked by the majority of outdoor stores and many people consider them the staple meal choice for outdoor activities. Back Country has a huge range of meal choices and many stores seem to select a ‘top ten’ so you are unlikely to find the full range in any one store. In addition to the large variety of twin serves, the company also has single serves (entrée size) although the single serve options don’t seem to have as large a variety at least as far as the stores I visit. I’m still working my way though the very large range but I am finding this adventure is a bit hit and miss. But then again, everyone’s tastes are different!
Now I need to be upfront here and say that I’m not a fan of pasta carbonara at the best of times so this meal would not be one I would usually eat. Having said that I went into this taste test with an open mind. Unfortunately this meal didn’t really excite me. I know what a good pasta carbonara tastes like and while I realise this is a rehydrated version that is not going to stack up against an Italian restaurant, I would at least expect this to taste reasonably rich and creamy. The taste overall was fine but I found the flavouring a bit too artificial; and sure enough while it doesn’t contain MSG (flavour enhancer 621), it does contain another flavour enhancer; 635. Flavour enhancers and I don’t get on well so I try to avoid them whenever I can. Apart from making me feel a bit ‘seedy’ I find it just doesn’t taste quite right. If you have to add flavour via enhancers, then to me that means that something else is missing.
This meal offering from Back Country Cuisine recommends adding 220 ml of boiling water and leaving it for ten minutes. The water recommendation on this meal was spot on but as usual, I left the meal for about 11-12 minutes just to ensure a good consistency.
The normal price sits around the $9.95-10.95 mark for a single serve pack with the twin serves working out more cost effective. Most of the larger chain stores offer member discounts or have regular sales so its worthwhile looking around. These products do have a long shelf life so you can stock up at the sales come in anticipation of an upcoming trip.
The meal comes in a bag that is well designed and the bottom opens out to provide a flat base for those minimalists who want to leave the bowl at home. The option exists to tear the top off the bag to allow easy access to the food but you if you have a long handled spork/fork/spoon you won’t need to tear the bag. My other reason for not tearing the top off the bag is that you minimise any mess and after you’re done, you can re-zip the zip lock.
So what is the final verdict? While this meal was OK the fact it contains flavour enhancer is a real negative for me and there are just too many other meal options, from both Back Country and Outdoor Gourmet that are better and I would rather eat given the choice. As such I won’t be adding the Creamy Carbonara to my regular hiking meal list on future trips.
An easy to prepare meal whether it be on a short or long trip for camping and hiking
You can purchase the Back Country Cuisine Creamy Carbonara online from Wild Earth
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Malaysian Vegetable Curry
Back Country Cuisine Creamy Carbonara as purchased
Meal bag with the base folded out
Back Country Cuisine Creamy Carbonara unrehydrated
Back Country Cuisine Creamy Cabonara ready to eat
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by the reviewer