product review



It may sound a bit strange but I can pinpoint my first ever houmous experience to summer 1992. My friend and I were taken to a Syrian restaurant in Prague by two Lebanese exchange students. I remember being absolutely amazed by the exotic flavours of houmous bi tahina and ful medames. Ful medames, to this day, is my all time favourite Middle Eastern dish and houmous is an everyday staple in our house.

Nowadays houmous is everywhere. It’s in every supermarket, corner shop and every sandwich shop (yes, it usually is the only vegan sandwich available). What used to be a hippie veggie dish has turned into one of the most popular food items. I find myself recommending houmous to all my nutrition clients. What’s not to like? Apart from being delicious, houmous is the perfectly balanced food providing fibre, protein, complex carbohydrate and healthy fats (depending on the fat it is made with). Only dishes this perfect survive for hundreds of years; the earliest mention of houmous dates back to 13th century!!!

I can say I have had my fill of the good, the mediocre and downright disgusting houmous. Don’t remind of the one we tasted in a vegan restaurant in Prague last summer. Yuck! Supermarket houmous is a good standard but I hate the idea that all supermarkets use one factory to make their “own brand” hummus. It truly is consistently same and after my today’s discovery I can say consistently mediocre.

Recently I have been asked if I could review a range of organic houmous made by a local Somerset company called Natural Vitality. Of course I couldn’t not say NO to tasting food!!! I was excited but strangely apprehensive. Thoughts came to my mind: What if I don’t like it? What can I write if I don’t? Surely with products that carry several Taste the West awards I couldn’t be disappointed.

A box of deliciousness


The very lovely Ayleen from Natural Vitality brought my box of their five different houmous flavours yesterday plus a pot of labneh. I am such a foodie, I felt like a child on Christmas morning. Today I invited my friend Tanya (who runs her own food business), my husband, son and daughter for a “scientific” tasting session. We listed the different flavours on a piece of paper in order of tasting:
  • extra smooth
  • kalamata olive
  • succulent sundried tomato
  • smoked
  • roasted red pepper
I was going to get everyone rate the houmous. This plan failed as we eagerly tucked in and forget about rating anything. We didn’t need to rate them indeed. All the flavours were amazingly delicious! We couldn’t decide which one is best. I am swaying toward the sun dried tomato but the kalamata is awesome too. I like them all. My daughter loved the extra smooth one and sundried tomato, my friend loved the freshness of the sundried and amazed herself by liking the pepper one (she usually doesn’t like pepper flavour) and she was sure her husband would love the smoked one. My husband and son both loved the kalamata. I have to add that my son enjoyed the labneh and had it for breakfast.

Serious tasting in process


When I compare some of the flavours with their supermarket rivals (roasted red pepper and sunddried tomato) I can say the Natural Vitality houmous is miles better. The flavours are more defined, you can clearly taste the roasted peppers and the sundried tomato houmous has actual tomato chunks adding amazing juicy bites. Simply you know what you are eating. It’s the same as comparing Twinings green tea to the Tea House in Covent Garden loose green tea. One is acceptable (when there is nothing else) the other exceptional providing true flavour experience.

Do you really need to have another houmous in your life? Especially one that will be more expensive that the one you buy in supermarket? My answer is a definite YES you do. It’s about passion and care that is put into creating this product. It’s about sourcing the best organic ingredients. It’s about the knowledge that it wasn’t a machine that filled the pot with this deliciousness but a person who cares about you, the consumer.

Natural Vitality is a small local ethical company run by the lovely Bristol based Ayleen Driver and her business partner Mark Rawson. Ayleen’s daughter Amber is responsible for creating the flavours and from what I tasted she is absolutely amazing at it. In a product like this you can taste the love and passion that goes into making it, and that’s why it is good for your body and soul.

I only have one issue: I can never go back to supermarket houmous again!

For more information on Natural Vitality and stockist please head to:

The Kalamate olive one - hit with the boys