When I received an invite to a ‘Smoothie Wars’ event, the title had me sold before I’d even read the details. As someone who whizzes up healthy concoctions on a daily basis, with the addition of a fun competitive element thrown in there, this occasion could not have been more suited to me.
The Post Box Cafe in Chorlton was the venue for the battle of the blending, a cute, quirky cafe just opposite the tram stop, oozing character and charm from it’s quaint setting. Joined by 8 other lovely Manchester-based food/lifestyle bloggers, we were met with a friendly welcome from the team, our wonderful host, Cass, plus champagne, a score sheet and a large ‘cup’ from the Ninja Kitchen Nutri Ninja blender – our fate was literally in our hands!
A table bursting with a generous selection of vibrant fruit and vegetables awaited us, with everything from the green offerings of kale, spinach, avocado and broccoli, to the tropical delights of pineapple, bananas and prickly pears, alongside purple bursts of colour from berries and beetroot. With a cheeky selection of white and milk chocolate pieces, alcohol and flavoured syrups, plus cameras set up to film the event, the scene was set for our blending creations to commence!
Split into teams of two, we had 10 minutes to go up with our empty NutriNinja cup and fill it up three-quarters full with whatever weird and wonderful combinations we wanted. Limited preparation is needed thanks to the power of the blades, which is a bonus for those of us who are short on time. Peel the avocado skin off? Nah. Chop off the outside of the apples and carrots? Hell no! The only thing that required this was a fresh pineapple which is certainly understandable; one of the main selling points of this gadget is maintaining as many nutrients as possible, most of which are under the skin of fruit and vegetables.
What did I go for? Well, since we were being judged on taste (not necessarily health benefits of our smoothie combination), I skipped the kale and spinach and instead, in went half an avocado (skin on), 1 banana, a large handful of berries, fresh pineapple chunks and a few slices of beetroot. I debated adding in a sly bit of chocolate or spoonful of syrup, but was intrigued to see how it would turn out naturally so I left it out. We were keeping a watchful eye over each other’s but more for curiosity than swinging our decisions!
Once the second team had been up, we were very kindly treated to some canapes from the Post Box team. I was delighted when they brought out a gluten-free alternative, a selection of the delicious toppings including smoked salmon, fresh guacamole, brie and cranberry sauce and sunblush tomatoes. Perfect to whet the appetite before the smoothie tasting!
Next we were given a demonstration by the lovely Chris of how the sleek piece of kit works. Adding some ice to fill the cup and screwing the blade lid on tight, it was a case of clicking it into place and leaving it to blitz for exactly 49 seconds, shown by a handy electronic countdown clock on the base of the Nutri Ninja. The result was a smooth, well mixed consistency – the ideal smoothie formula – ready to drink straight from the cup, with the option of taking it out and drinking on the go thanks to a beaker lid.
This is when the competition hotted up, as each of us went in front of the camera and had our combinations whizzed up using the Nutri Ninja. It was fun to see how each of our smoothies turned out; apart from a green one, the rest showed off a wonderful range of different pink and purple tones – beetroot and berries must have been a popular choice! I must admit, I thought mine would have been slightly tastier and I regretted not adding some maple syrup, but it was still enjoyable and healthy at least!
It was finally time for the main moment of the night, the taste testing! Each one was poured out into tasting glasses for us all to try, with score sheets in front of us to mark the others’ creations. It was hard to guess which one was in the lead as we sipped and spooned our way through them (yes, some were a little thicker than others!), as our scores very much depended on personal taste. For me, a few were a bit on the tart or sweet side, with a couple really standing out and had my tastebuds craving more – the green one was up there!
Smoothie tasting done, our score sheets were whisked away and counted up as some of us did a short interview Q&A for the camera, waiting in anticipation as to who would be crowned as the smoothie champion; with a fantastic prize up for grabs, the stakes were high! Finally, the votes had been counted and the winner was revealed as…Kat aka Rainbow Crush for her colourful and flavour-packed creation, woohoo!
I’d like to say a huge thank you for Cass (on behalf of Coffeepot Digital) and the Post Box team for an enjoyable night of fun, great food and being the ideal spot for the smoothie wars to take place. The evening was structured and organised, while allowing time for us to chat with each other and have a laugh. With a few goodies thrown in for us to take away, I’ll definitely be using my Nutri Ninja for creating more healthy, gluten-free creations plus I am already looking forward to returning to the welcoming, cosy atmosphere of the venue.