During late 2017 and early 2018, I was on a high-fat, low carb diet (Ketogenic) to help heal some issues with my body. The strange thing is, it was not sugar or bread that I missed. It was chickpeas. Chickpeas are so versatile. You can use them as falafels, curries, soups, salads, snacks and of course, the humble hummus.
I am an avid hummus creator, and those close to me find my dips delicious and best they have ever tasted. Yet, I have come across a local hummus artisan that not only blows my hummus out of the water, but every time I try their hummus, I reminded by the beautiful memories of food from my Pakistani/Indian background.
That is undeniably saying something.
The Perfect Hummus
I have a bit of an OCD nature when it comes to my diet and health. I need to know what I put into my body to ensure it is clean, healthy and won’t add unnecessary calories. That said, hummus is a great snack, though store-bought can be quite calorie dense and so I often made my own hummus.
Homemade is always better as there is no added additives or bulking agents compared to supermarket varieties. It is clean, unprocessed goodness. Making your hummus is very simple, and experimenting with flavours is glorious fun. Saying that makes me sound like a sad person though.
The list of my own creations is endless. There is even a cauliflower variety which I only created it to get my hummus kick while I was on the low-carb diet. Was not the best of hummus, I can tell you that!
The lack of flavours is another problem with store-bought versions. The hummuses are quite often dull, and boring. Supermarkets have variants that try to creative flavours yet still fail as either the ratios are off or they rely on inferior quality ingredients. The real characteristics of their proposed ‘flavour’ do not shine through.
What’s worse though is the texture is always way off. More often then not, you end up with hummus that is either watery and runny or thick and stodgy and sometimes overly grainy. No substance or texture.
Companies seem to forget that there is more to food then the list of ingredients. There are aromas, the character, the balance of flavours and the technique involved.
With all that out of the way, enter Moist. A local Bristol-based hummus artisan. Personally, I wouldn’t describe hummus as ‘moist’, and many people seem not to like the word either. But this startup blows everyone’s dips, including my very own, out of the water. Sky high. Supermarket’s hummuses are alright. My versions are good. Moist’s hummus is many levels of greatness beyond that.
The brain behind the outfit is James Macfarlane, a local Bristolian such as myself who started Moist back in 2015. James began based on the persuasion of his friends critiquing his hummus as ‘That’s proper nice – you could sell that!’ which I think is a bloody good reason to start anything. Friends tend to be more honest compared to complete strangers and even your life-partner. Unlike friends, everyone else seems to say everything you do is fabulous and end up giving you a gold star for it ( *cough* *cough* Lee *cough* *cough* inside joke).
Being a local foodie, James and his dips take part in Bristol’s food culture. We are not just a tech hub here. The great thing about so many foodies and artisans in Bristol is the community that is created where knowledge, food and inspiration are shared among everyone. Moist is definitely part of this community.
Speaking to James, Moist is set to be part of many events in 2018 which include the Redland May Fair, Viva! City Vegan Fair on College Green, Redfest in St George, Wells Food Festival and the Abergavenny Food Festival.
Like others, Moist ethos is not just to create great food but to do it with gusto and always stay at the bleeding edge.
Before even speaking to James, I knew that only the best of ingredients are used within his dips. The freshest and cleanest of foods can make a massive difference to the end product, and James reinforced this principle by using fresh vegetables and herbs from local organic farms. Local Bristol based vendors are used for imported ingredients too.
Apart from their usual staple hummuses such as coriander, masala, and beetroot, Moist is not content with stagnating by selling the same dips. Time is spent consistently experimenting with new flavours, to create unique wonders that they sell. Recent hits have been; Scotch Bonnet, British Carlin & Yellow Pea with Avocado and Caramelised Red Onion & Pumpkin Seeds. Not tried any of these sadly as I always come late to the party.
That said, my current favourite of their’s is Masala hummus which is the whole reason why I fell in love with this company and writing this article.
The Masala Hummus
Food is ultimately meant to fuel the body. But a lot of us eat for the pleasure, experience, and sometimes for comfort.
Moist’s Masala hummus is definitely an experience. A positive experience that I did not think I would have with a food item.
I moved out of my parent’s house about six years ago where most of my dinners were of the Indian variety. Bias aside, nothing beats your mothers cooking, and my mum’s curries are the best. They are admittedly the best compared to my relatives who often overpower everything with spices and chillies. Though not appreciating it at the time, there was always a great sense of balance and character to the dishes. Not able to recreate these dishes my self, I end up having to develop my own spin-off versions. They don’t compare at the end of the day. Mum knows best.
The Masala hummus that James has created is somewhat special to me. Though it tastes nothing like my mum’s cooking, it unquestionably has that curry vibe and carries me on a journey that evokes memories of her dishes. It’s rather enchanting.
Visually appealing, it has an open texture that is not often seen in supermarket varieties. The aroma is light and fragrant where masala spices such as cumin, mustard, ginger and more shine through.
A morish dip, it has a rich creamy, yet coarse texture. The balance of spices is perfectly light. Nothing is overpowering another, and so you can distinctly taste the coriander, ginger and get a hint of chilli. With genuine character, the hummus is fresh and authentic.
As someone who often judges curries a lot; I usually describe poor versions as a western, watered down and takeaway-like due to the lack of flavour and spice. I can honestly say that this hummus is the real deal. It’s genuine. It’s authentic to the roots of the name and spices used.
But again, I am biased towards my mother’s cooking. If you love my mum’s food, then you will definitely adore this hummus!
A Moist Future
I wholeheartedly recommend James and his dips from Moist. You will usually find him in a stall in markets:
- Whiteladies Road Market in Bristol
- Bath Farmers’ Market in Bath
- Wells Market in Wells
- Tobacco Factory Market in Bristol
- Primrose Hill Market in London
- Keynsham Farmers Market
- Frome Independent in Frome
You will be available to find them at local events and festivals:
- Redland May Fair
- Viva! City Vegan Fair on College Green
- Redfest in St George
- Wells Food Festival
- Abergavenny Food Festival
James has big plans for the future of Moist as they ramp up on their success to create retail versions of their dips for sale in independent retail outlets shortly.
The following quote from James intrigued me though and has me pondering on what it could be; “…we do have a new product launching later in 2018 that we’re really excited about but that’s top secret at the moment…“.
Moist does not have a website as of yet although there are plans for one. In the meantime, give them a follow over on Facebook to stay up to date with their amazing dips.