Daily Goodie Box – June 2017

Today I’ve got something great to get us through hump day.
A FREE box.  That’s right, I said free.
Daily Goodie Box will send you a box of free product samples.  All you need to do is sign up and then leave your reviews of the product on their site.  It’s that simple.  It’s subject to availability of course, but free is free.

Here’s our box…

Tiger Balm –  Pain Relieving Ointment
Verdict:  Useful, but small
Tiger balm is great when you’ve done something you’re probably not supposed to do and your muscles are making you pay for it.  I just wish the sample was a little bigger.

Prince of Peace – Original Ginger Honey Crystals
Verdict: Great for a cold
I’m not much into ginger beverages, but this sounds like something that would be perfect for when you catch some horrible subway flu.  The size is great for a sample.

Black Forest Organic –  Gummy Bears
Verdict:  You had me at gummy
I’ll be honest, if it’s fruit flavored and in gummy form, I’ll probably love it.  These were delicious, not quite as amazing as the Albanese gummies, but still quite good.

BiPro – Protein Water Berry Burst
Verdict:  Not my jam
I’m not really into the flavored “waters” and I try to stay away from drinks that have calories.  This had the type of flavor you’d expect from berry flavored water – a slightly synthetic, but mostly refreshing drink.

Crown Maple – Organic Maple Syrup
Verdict:  Love!
Organic maple syrup in an adorable glass bottle. Yes, please!
Coupon: Use code GOODIE25 for 25% off any product order.  Expires 8/31/2017.

VitaBath – Travel Size Body Wash
Verdict:  Hit!
Bodywash is a product that my household goes through pretty quickly so I’m always happy to try a new brand.  This one is sulfate and paraben free and comes in a variety of scents.  Mine is coconut which sounds perfect for summer.

BetterThanCoffee – Energy Bars
Verdict:  Not too bad
I’m not big on “energy” bars or drinks.  This one did have a more natural, hippy type flavor and texture.  It seemed like something that was good for you. (If that makes sense).

Pure Growth Organic – Snack Mix
Verdict:
  Decent
There’s nothing extraordinary about this mix.  It tastes just fine and I think kids will like it.

Goddess Garden – Mineral Removing Cleanser
Verdict:  Too small
I’m always up for trying out new organic beauty products, but I think this sample is just too small to get a real idea of whether you truly like this product or not.

OVERALL

Because this is a free box, I’m not going to give it an overall rating, but I found it to be a wonderful free box.  Most of the sizes are more than adequate to judge the products, and it has a nice mix of different types of things, including some brands you might not know about otherwise.  I also appreciate that it included a lot of organic and healthy options.  Definitely worth the five minutes it takes to sign up and the few minutes it takes to write a couple sentences about each item.

Have you ever tried any free sample product boxes? What did you think?

THE BACKSTORY
Daily Goodie Box
It’s more than just Free Samples!

They’ll send you a box of free goodies and all you need to do is review the items.
Subject to Availability.
Shipping is Free. No credit card required EVER!

Freedom Japanese Market: April 2017 + Special Offer

Today I’ve got a really fun post I’ve been saving.  The wonderful folks from Freedom Japanese Market sent me their April snack box to review.  It’s got all sorts of fun and unique treats straight from Japan.  Plus if you mention Subscription Therapy, in your order notes, you can receive a free bonus candy in your first box!

Freedom Japanese Market sends you a monthly box of treats shipped fresh from Japan.  Most of the items are sold exclusively in Japan and boxes contain some limited edition snacks and candies that are only in Japanese stores for a month or two.  About a pound of candy and snacks are packed into each box and an itemized list with pictures is included in each box.

This adorable box was left out by my mailbox which my neighbors thankfully picked up before any of the local wildlife could get to it.

Inside we have a colorful snack guide plus an adorable origami sword.  Because these snacks aren’t available in the US, I’m not going to be pricing them out.

Now to the snacks!

Ume Paper
Description:
“Pickled plum in paper thin form – sweet and sour!”
Verdict:  Where’s the sweet?
Death people, this tasted like death.  Like if a Stephen King book turned into a fruit roll-up.

Mix Fruit Mochi
Description:
“Mini apple and pineapple flavored piece of sweet mocha (rice cakes).”
Verdict: Adorable!
I haven’t had a chance to try these yet, but they look adorable and apple and pineapple sound great.

Premium Umaibo
Description:
“Mozzarella and camembert cheese flavored puffed corn.”
Verdict:
  A cheese doodle on steroids
Imagine a cheese doodle made with stronger cheese.  Like almost but not quite stinky cheese.  Not bad, but nothing I’d go searching for.

Shimi Choco Corn
Description:
“Cute star-shaped crispy corn puffs coated in strawberry chocolate.”
Verdict:
  The strawberry is a lie.
I was so excited for these because no one loves artificial strawberry flavor like I do, but there was this strange sort of texture after eating these.  I can’t really explain it but it was so unpleasant and the strawberry taste was just odd. These were disappointing.

UFO Ramune
Description:
“Ramune flavored hard candy in four flavors: yogurt, peach, apple, and cider.”
Verdict:
  Sounds interesting
I didn’t get to try these but “yogurt” flavored hard candy sounds intriguing.  It can be either horrific or amazing, there really isn’t an in-between.

Nagewa
Description: “Beef consommé flavored ring shaped potato crisps are fun to play with and eat!”
Verdict:  Hamburger Magic
I had no idea what Beef consommé tastes like, but apparently it tastes like a hamburger.  Like a hamburger with ketchup and pickles on it and everything.  These little potato straws were like you took a hamburger happy meal and magically shoved it into an itty bitty crisp.  This was my favorite item in the box.

Teriyaki Umaibo
Description: “Teriyaki burger flavored tube of puffed corn.”
Verdict:  Beefy cheese doodle
Another ginormous cheese doodle.  I’m not sure I would have guessed this was “burger” if I wasn’t told.  The taste was savory but without being immediately identifiable (if that makes sense).

Caplico Mini
Description: “Strawberry flavored aerated chocolate shaped like a mini ice cream cone!”
Verdict:  Wafer-y goodness
This strawberry treat made up for the other one.  It was like a wafer cookie with lots of extra filling.

Pizza Umaibo
Description: “Pizza flavored tube of puffed corn”
Verdict:  MOAR GIANT CHEESEDOODLES!
This cheese doodle had that sort of sharp pizza flavor.  Not bad, but not something I’d look to eat again.

Umaka!
Description: “Ramen chips flavored like champon, a Nagasaki noodle dish made of seafood and veggies.”
Verdict:  Mostly non-distinct
I try all these treats without reading the card first, because I figure that will give me the most honest impression.  I was worried this one would have fish in it based solely on the angry face and the little prawn.  I’d eat one chip and it would be a pretty bland then I’d try another and it would have a faint taste of fish.  They were interesting but didn’t live up to the exclamation point in the name.

Kabuki Cracker
Description: “These delicious rice crackers are stamped with famous kabuki emblems.”
Verdict:  Crunchy and bland
I passed these over to my boyfriend and his verdict was that they were crunchy and pretty bland which is kind of a theme with a lot of the rice based Japanese snacks.

Un-Choco
Description: “Mini grape flavored chocolate balls in cute animal packaging!”
Verdict:  Look at that face!!
I didn’t even try these but I love them. Look at that cute little face.  I don’t know if it’s a koala bear or some kind of alien hybrid animal, but I love it.  Packaging wins me over every time.

Caramel Corn
Description: “A seasonal exclusive!  Sweet rare cheesecake flavored curls of puffed corn.”
Verdict:  Lightly sweet
These corn puffs were very delicately sweetened and I thought they were a nice treat.  They almost reminded me of a lighter version of the honey flavored Chex Mix.

BONUS!
Chewing Straw Candy
Description: “Straw-shaped grape flavored gummy candy.”
Verdict:  Not quite for me
Normally gummies win me over, but I’m not a huge fan of sweet and sour gummies and these had that cloying sweet and bitingly sour thing going on.  But someone who enjoys those types of gummies would probably love this.


OVERALL

Verdict:
Hit!
Now, this box normally costs $24.99, which seems fair to me for a box shipped from Japan with this many treats. I think this would make a fun gift for a teen or even someone away at college.  Even if the treats aren’t quite suited to our Western palates, they are a lot of fun to try out.  I always enjoy learning about different foods and cultures, even if at the end of the day they aren’t something I fall in love with.  The packaging on this sub is adorable and I thought there was a good variety of sweet/salty/sour.  The one improvement I could see with this box is that we received three Umaibos, but maybe instead we could have gotten  one or two and a different type of snack.

I think this is a really fun sub and if you love Japanese snacks or fun unique food items, you may want to give it a try.

Have you ever tried snacks from other countries?
If so, what did you think of them?

THE BACKSTORY
Freedom Japanese Market sends you a box of treats shipped fresh from Japan.  Most of the items are sold exclusively in Japan and contain some limited edition snacks and candies that are only in Japanese stores for a month or two.  About a pound of candy and snacks are packed into each box and an itemized list with pictures is included in each box, so you don’t have to read Japanese.

Club members can buy additional boxes and send them (to other addresses) as gifts or gift subscriptions.

Plans:
Puchi Pack – $14.99 per month:
(For a small taste of Japan)
★ 5 to 8 full size and sample snacks
★ 1 handmade origami
★ English content list with pictures
Original Pack – $24.99 per month:
(The perfect box of treats from the land of the rising sun)
★ 12 to 16 full size and sample snacks
★ 1 handmade origami
★ English content list with pictures
★ Includes DIY Candy Kit
Family Pack – $45.99 per month: (Snacks for the whole family)
★ 24 to 32 full size and sample snacks
★ 1 handmade origami
★ English content list with pictures
★ Includes DIY Candy Kit
★ Double the snacks without double the price

Discounts: You can create a 1, 3, 6 and 12 month renewable plan (longer plans have larger discounts) that will fit your needs.
Special Offers: If you mention Subscription Therapy, in your order notes, you can receive a free bonus candy in your first box!

Shipping:
Free Shipping Worldwide
You can cancel at any time without fees or penalties.

Drift Away Coffee: November 2016

I think I’m not alone when I say 2016 has been a really tough year and I won’t be sad to see it end.  Today, I thought I’d finish on a high note, with an awesome box that is long overdue for its review from Drift Away Coffee.

Drift Away Coffee is a personalized coffee subscription.  You start with the tasting kit that features four coffees from around the world.  You download the free Drift Away Iphone app (or visit driftaway.coffee/fave)  and as you try each coffee, you can type in your notes and rate the coffees you tasted.  This helps Drift Away match coffee to your taste preferences.

For all plans, the first delivery is a tasting kit, which features 4 two ounce bags of and is the box I’ll be reviewing today.  For new subscribers, a tasting box will only set you back $8.00.

First, you would select how much coffee you want (7 oz, 11 oz, or 32 oz) and the frequency (Every Week, Every Other Week, or Every Four Weeks).
package
My sub came in a really cute bag.  I love the name “Drift Away Coffee” although it makes me think of that show the OA, which I recently binge-watched.  That show was like trying to do a word problem in high school.  Like you have a vague idea what is going on you until you realize this crap is actually requires formulas you didn’t bother memorizing.

My box includes four coffee samples and some cute little cards that offer tips on how to brew coffee.  Sadly, my coffee drinking is not that intense.  I’m lucky I even have a coffee grinder at all, never mind suggestions to use a “Burr Grinder” because it “gives a consistent grind.”  (Is it just me or does Burr Grinder sound like a bad dance move, or a really good sandwich?)
coffee-all
What I really liked about the cards was that each bag corresponded to a flavor profile – Fruity, Classic, Balanced, and Bold.

Fruity: Light roasted African coffees, typically with delicate, fruity or floral notes.
BUP
Kayanza Mpanga
Origin: Burundi Shimu
Flavors: Grapefruit, Nutmeg, Chocolate

Classic: Medium roasted coffees, usually from South America, with chocolatey and nutty notes.
COR
La Angostura Tarrazu
Origin: Costa Rica
Flavors: Peanut, Toffee, Nutty

Balanced: Light-medium roasted coffees, usually form Central America, that balance chocolate & fruity notes.
ELV
Finca Cjamarca
Origin: El Salvador
Flavors: Toffee, Lemon, Citrus

Bold: Dark roasted coffees from around the world, with bold, rich, flavors.
PEK
Centrocafe
Origin: Peru Apu
Flavors: Dark chocolate, Brown Sugar, Cherry

I opted to try out the “Bold” flavor because go big or go home right?

Now, I’m not a huge coffee drinker.  It’s not part of my regular routine – I prefer to have a really good cup once in a while rather than drink it every morning.  I pulled out my coffee grinder from obscurity and got started.
grinder-before grinder-after
After I ground up my coffee, I brewed it in…I know this will be sacrilege, but I’ve got a refillable pod for my Keurig.  (Gasp! I know, a Keurig, not a French press or a beaker with a reusable unicorn filter, or whatever the hipsters go for these days).

I tried the coffee black and then with a bit of milk and sugar.  Both ways, it was lovely.  I definitely got the “bold” flavors, but it didn’t have that acidic or burnt aftertaste I find with stronger coffees.

I was able to download the Drift Away app easily on my Iphone.  I didn’t continue through it, only because you need to sign in – presumably with your info from the site.  Since I received this box free for reviewing purposes I couldn’t do that.

OVERALL
teacup
Verdict:
  Hit!
As I mentioned I’m not huge into coffee, but I thought this was a really great box.  The packaging was nice, the price is reasonable for upscale coffee and I thought it had a nice variety.  I’ve tried other coffee subs and I like how Drift Away kept things simple.  The four coffee profiles were easy to understand.  The only downside I can see is that Drift Away only offers whole beans – but since that’s what most coffee aficionados want, it’s not a big issue.

If you’ve got someone on your list who adores coffee and is otherwise hard to shop for, consider giving them a gift subscription to Drift Away in lieu of a Starbucks gift card.

Are you a coffee addict?
Would you enjoy a coffee subscription?

THE BACKSTORY

HOW IT WORKS:
Drift Away Coffee is a personalized coffee subscription.  For all plans, the first delivery is a tasting kit which features 4 two ounce bags. You use the free Drift Away app to rate each coffee and customize it to your taste.

COSTS:
Tasting Kit:
$8.00 for new subscribers (16.50 otherwise)
7 oz/14 Cups/1 Drinker:
$12
11 oz/22 cups/1-2 Drinkers: $16
32 oz/64 Cups/2-3 Drinkers: $34
Free Shipping

You can select the frequency from “Every week”, “Every other week”, or “Every Four Weeks”.

They also offer gift subscriptions, the ability to purchase individual bags and options for offices.

Save

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Whisk & Flour October 2016: Matcha White Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

So apparently being a big giant ball of stress can result in you catching the plague yet again.  I find myself once again best friends with a bottle of NyQuil, so today I decided to add some sugar to make my medicine go down.  The awesome folks at Whisk & Flour sent me a baking box to review.  For reference, I love baking.  I have a giant cabinet full of different cookie cutters and baking pans.  I even have a 90th anniversary cherry red Kitchen Aid.  So you can imagine I was super excited to try a monthly baking box.

A little about Whisk & Flour:
“Whisk & Flour was founded by Donna Doktorcik with the belief that artisanal baking should be within reach for everyone.  The Whisk & Flour team has focused on bringing unique recipes and ingredients to everyone. We love hunting down creative ingredients and creating yummy treats for everyone to share!”

How It Works:
Whisk & Flour curates recipes with artisanal ingredients like matcha, candied ginger, dulce de leche.  No fancy equipment or techniques required.

You sign up for monthly deliveries.  (First box ships the 15th of the following mont h and you can cancel at any time).

They send all the dry ingredients pre-measured along with a recipe card and easy to follow instructions.  You provide the butter and eggs.  Every few months they will include a Baking accessory.

The cost is $28 per month. Delivery is free and they use eco-friendly packaging.

A cute little box arrives with an adorable label:
box-label open-box-1
I can’t wait to see what recipe I’ve got…and then…
open-box-2
Matcha?  Cookies?
I’ll admit I was immediately disappointed.  Green tea tastes like medicine to me and this wasn’t what I was expecting.  I had anticipated a recipe to match the season – some Fall flavors like cinnamon or ginger.  But I had to give it a chance.
ingredient-bag ingredients gift
The box was packaged adorably and the ingredients came in a cute little sack that I’m going to reuse to hold some cookie cutters.  All the ingredients had lovely labels and were pre-measured.  Included was a half-sheet pan silpat.  Silpats are great for baking and I already own the full size, however,  I was confused by this inclusion.  You couldn’t use this for the included recipe as it makes too many cookies. (You need a regular size sheet pan).  I also feel like a half sheet pan size is not something everyone would own.  Silpats are great, baking accessories are awesome, but this one didn’t quite make sense to me in this box.

So now it’s time to start the actually baking.
creaming dry-ingredients
For this recipe I needed to provide 5 Tbsp of butter and 1 egg yolk.  We cream together butter and the included powder sugar and sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
mixing adding-chips
We add in the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, then fold in the white chocolate chips.
matcha-log sliced
We shape the dough into a square log and refrigerate for 1 hour.  The chilled log gets sliced and the cookies get put on a baking sheet with a mat and baked in a 300 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes.
baked-cookies cooling
They get removed from the oven and chill on a baking rack.
And when I’m done this is the finished product:
matcha-shortbread-cookies
So what did these taste like?  Delicious buttery cookies with the faintest hint of basement.  Seriously, I can’t get past the Matcha taste.  For me it took away from what should have been a delicious cookie.  Don’t’ get me wrong they still got eaten, because there’s still butter and sugar goodness.  Unfortunately, I thought the Matcha detracted from the cookie rather than enhanced it.

OVERALL
whisk-flour-matcha-white-chocolate-chip-shortbread-cookies
Verdict:
Lots of Potential.
I’m going to start with the positive.  I love the idea of this sub and how everything is so nicely packed and pre-measured.  I also appreciate the approach with the artisanal ingredients, but I wish they had matched the season more.  I think at this time of year we should see maple, cinnamon, ginger and more Autumnal flavors.  I also think that $28 a box is steep, if you’re not getting an accessory every month. I think the box should include a small accessory to use in the provided recipe.  For example, maybe maple butter cookies with a maple leaf cookie cutter, or maybe a cake slicer to make a lemon layer cake in the Spring, or specialty sprinkles for cupcakes and so on.  Even though the Matcha wasn’t a fit for my palate, Whisk & Flour has a ton of great looking recipes on their site that I think I would have loved.

What types of treats would you want a baking subscription to include?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Whisk & Flour sends a beautiful recipe card with step-by-step instructions, all the shelf-stable ingredients pre-measured, and some fun facts about the recipe you are making. Plus, they add baking accessory every few months as a bonus! You bake, {maybe share}, and definitely enjoy!

Monthly Cost: $28 per month
And shipping is always free!

July Irish Taste Club & 10% Off Code!

Today I’ve got some more fun with food with my review of the July Irish Taste Club box plus an extra special coupon for 10% off when you sign up (use code therapy10).

If you remember from my last review, Irish Taste Box, features sweet and savory treats all the way from Ireland.  For details on the pricing jump down to The Backstory.

The lovely box included a handwritten note to subscribers, which was a thoughtful touch.  Apparently this is the first box for subscribers, so I’m assuming my previous one was a trial run.
Box Open Box Personal Note
Now let’s get to the goodies!
Granola
Maria Lucia Bakes Granola Cranberry Coconut and Chia Seed Granola

Description: “We knew when we tasted Maria Lucia Bakes Granola that it was a perfect example of its kind.  We were determined to have it in our boxes.  She has just won best cereal in Ireland at the Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards with her cranberry Coconut and Chia Seed Granola, which is our favorite flavor, but we will offer the whole range over the coming months.”
Verdict:  Like!
This was a really nice granola chock full of healthy things, I didn’t find it all that different from what we have available in the US, but still good. I’m taking it to work to sprinkle in my morning yogurt or oatmeal.  This is quite a large box so this should last me awhile.

Sauce
Ballymaloe Original Sauce

Description: “????.”
Verdict: “Couldna been so beautiful…couldna been so right…”
According to my insert, this was supposed to be “Ed Hicks Bacon Jam”, (Bacon Jam!!!!!) so I don’t have any info on the Original Sauce.    Instead it’s tomato sauce?  Which I think might be what we think of in the US as ketchup.  I am sort of a ketchup addict (although my heart belongs to Heinz) so theoretically this would be a good addition for me, but I can’t keep thinking that I missed out on bacon jam. Mmm, bacon jam.  It looks like this is available at Wegman’s so if you’re lucky enough to be close to one, you can try this out for yourself.

Sour Cream Chips
Keogh’s Shamrock and Sour Cream Crisps

Description: “Everyone loves crisps and the Shamrock and Sour Cream variety from Keogh’s. The guys make them on their farm in North Dublin.  We applaud that he producer grows the potatoes that make the crisps and we really like the flavor combinations.  Our first box just had to have a little shamrock.”
Verdict:  Hit!
There is never anything wrong with sour cream and onion chips.  I gave these to my boyfriend (because I’m the awesomiest girlfriend ever) and he enjoyed them quite a bit.  Unsurprisingly, Irish folks know how to make a tasty potato.

OatsTea
Foods of Athenry Just Oats Flapjacks
& SD Bells Belfast Tea
Description: “The flapjacks from the Foods of Athenry are part of a massive range of oat-based goodies form the multi-award winning Galway producer.  We think they’re great for kids/ lunchboxes and to have the cup of the iconic SD Bells Belfast Brew tea.  They’re also good crumbled up over fruit and baked as a Crisp.  SD Bells supplied the Titanic with dry goods including tea!  The company is Ireland’s oldest Tea Importer and Coffee Roaster.  The Belfast Brew cuppa is a perfect blend example of Indian Orthodox Leaf.  It’s strong and that’s how we Irish like our tea.  It’s best taken with a little milk.”.
Verdict:  Miss for the Oats, Hit for the Tea!
I found the Flapjack treats to be a bit dry and not as flavorful as I would like, but the insert included a recipe for a granola fruit crisp, so I may try it out in that capacity instead.  I didn’t get a chance to try the tea yet, but I love that it’s the oldest tea importer and actually supplied the Titanic.  I think this will be a lovely treat as the weather cools and we head toward Fall.

Oil
Newgrange Gold Rapeseed Oil

Description: “Rapeseed oil is Ireland’s answer to olive oil and some say it’s even better for you.  This one from Newgrange Gold is just that-liquid gold in a bottle.  It’s so versatile.  You can cook with it and use it in salad dressings. It also takes on flavor really well, so add some chili and garlic or basil or rosemary….We could go on.”
Verdict:  Like
I enjoy cooking so I always love getting seasonings and oils from other countries to try out in my dishes.  I think I might try this out in a Mediterranean style orzo salad.

Truffles
Skellig Chocolate Company Citrus Truffles

Description: “Finally, we had to have some chocolate.  The Skelligs Chocolate Company in Kerry is one of the best in the country.  We just can’t stop eating these White Chocolate Truffles with sharp hits of lemon zest, but don’t’ worry, there’s plenty of stock.  We just know there will be repeat requests.”
Verdict:  Like/Gift
I like that there was a dessert component and I brought this with me to a summer BBQ to share.  Some folks loved it, others thought it had a sort of lemon pledge vibe.  I thought the citrus flavor was a lovely addition for summer and a unique truffle to offer.

OVERALL
Irish Taste Club 7.2016
Verdict:
  Like!
I received this box for free, but it would have cost me $44.  I think that considering that most of these products are very difficult to find in the States, it’s a solid value.  I am super disappointed though that I didn’t receive the bacon jam that was listed.  I’d also love to see more recipes and uses for the ingredients (there were only two and one was to be paired with the missing bacon jam).  It will be interesting to see the unique items this sub offers in the coming months.

Do you enjoy food boxes and food subscriptions?
Have you tried any yourself?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month, Irish Taste Box will send  7-9 sweet and savory products including handmade chocolate, artisan jams and chutneys, baking mixes, and specialty condiments sourced directly from Ireland’s finest independent producers. Each box will feature an explainer card giving exclusive recipes for our products and the inspirational stories behind their producers.
It’s like an Irish farmers’ market direct to your door!

Cost: $44 per month, $120 for 3 months, or $420 for 12 months.

Coupon Codes: Use therapy10 for 10% off

July 2016 Chococurb Nano & 10% off Coupon Code!

I’ve got something special to combat the Mondays – a chocolate subscription!  Yes, that’s right, it’s like a Willy Wonka-o-gram!  Someone will send fancy pants chocolate right to your house every month.  (I swear sometimes subscription boxes do God’s work.)

The wonderful folks at Chococurb sent me their July Nano box to review for you all plus an awesome coupon code for 10% off your order, just use the code THERAPY (valid through 9/16/16.)

“Chococurb partners with the best chocolate makers in the world…and will help you discover, enjoy and learn more about one of life’s greatest pleasures.”

I had no idea I needed help enjoying chocolate, but who knows maybe I just haven’t been trying hard enough.

Chococurb offers several subscription options with a discount for prepaying (for more detail, jump down to “The Backstory”).    Today’s Chococurb Nano box, costs $10 for a monthly sub and offers five small-to-medium sized items.  Chococurb also offers the option to buy your favorite products from their online chocolate shop.

A large Styrofoam box arrives and I’m wondering just how much chocolate is in this bad boy.
Styrofoam
I open it and inside is a cute little package nestled in some cooling packs.
Chococurb Nano Wrapped
Inside the cute blue box, we’ve got more wrapping!  Getting to this chocolate is a lot of work.
Once I open it up, we’ve got some adorable little bars inside.
Unwrapped

Birthday Cake Batter
Seattle Chocolates – Birthday Cake Batter

(2.5 oz Bar: $3.50)
Description: “Seattle Chocolates created this wonderful treat, which tastes like vanilla frosted yellow cake. With colorful confetti pieces mixed into the milk chocolate, it’s even more exciting!”.
Verdict:  Hit!
I love birthday cake batter treats, so it must have been a moment of insanity (or true love) when I gave this one to my boyfriend.

Ethereal
Ethereal Confections

Verdict: Hit!
I couldn’t find this exact bar, but Chococurb does offer one for sale with Macadamia nuts, raspberry and lime kaffir.

Menakao
Menakao Chocolate – 44% Milk Chocolate with Madagascan Vanilla

(Bar: $7.99)
Description: “Similar to coffee beans, the ones for cacao obtain many unique characteristics based on where they are cultivated. This might explain how every bar by Menakao has a unique taste of its own. With notes of vanilla and butter, this caramel-esque bar exemplifies the acidic and fruity flavors that distinguish Madagascan cocoa.”
Verdict:  Miss
This one had such lovely packaging that I was super excited for it, but sadly it tasted a bit bitter to me. I’m sure someone else would enjoy it, but it just wasn’t to my taste.

Mokkacino
TCHO – Mokaccino + Blue Bottle Coffee Bar

(2 Oz Bar: $5.95)
Description: “Warm, roasted nuttiness and complex, dried fruit notes from freshly roasted Blue Bottle coffee blend seamlessly with the dense caramel and cocoa notes in our SeriousMilk chocolate. Named Best Flavored Milk Chocolate in America by the International Chocolate Awards.”
Verdict:  Hit!
I loved the flavor on this one – just the right mix of coffee and chocolate.

Noire Gingembre
Chocolat Dolfin – Noire Gingembre

(Estimated Retail Bar size 2.47 oz. Bar $5.99)
Verdict:  Like
This may be the fanciest sounding thing I’ve ever eaten.  Chococurb’s store didn’t include this flavor, but they have some other options including a Pear & Almond one that sounds ah-may-zing.  I’m not a huge fan of ginger mixed with chocolate, so this bar wasn’t my favorite but it was still quite lovely.

OVERALL
Chococurb July 2016
Verdict:
  Like
There’s something about getting a box of chocolate that brings a smile to your face.  This is a tiny box of chocolates, but I think the unique, high quality offerings match the $10 pricetag.  The nano box option offers you a way to indulge in a monthly treat without going overboard, and it makes a great little gift for someone you love that’s got a sweet tooth.

I also appreciate that Chococurb offers the option to purchase most of the items from their online store.  So many times you fall in love with a unique confection from a sub box and then just can’t find it anywhere.  The one thing I’d love to see added to this sub is an info card that lists all the chocolates included with a description of the flavors.  The included card gave me info about Chococurb, but I had to do some searching on their site to find out about the chocolates themselves.

Would you ever sign up for a chocolate subscription?
Why or why not?

THE BACKSTORY
Chococurb partners with the best chocolate makers in the world to deliver you a monthly box of high quality chocolates.

There are several subscription options:
Chococurb: Five to seven personally selected, extraordinary chocolate treats.
Cost: 1 Month $35; 6 Month $99; 1 Year $180

Chococurb Mini: Three gourmet chocolate products.
Cost: 1 Month $20; 6 Month $57; 1 Year $108

Chococurb Nano: Five small-to-medium sized items.
Cost:
1 Month $10; 6 Month $54; 1 Year $96

Coupon Codes: Use code THERAPY for 10% off you orders through 09/16/16

You can buy more of your favorites from the Chococurb online shop.

Subscriptions ship on the 14th of each month and auto-renew at the end of their respective period, unless canceled.  Chococurb nano does not include personalization.

April Irish Taste Club & 10% Off Code!

I’ve got a fabulous culinary treat for you all today with my review of the April Irish Taste Club box plus an extra special coupon for 10% off when you sign up (use code therapy10).

The awesome folks from Irish Taste Box, graciously sent me a box to review for you all.  I love international food boxes so I was excited to give this one a shot.

A little about the sub:
Box
Each month, Irish Taste Box will send  7-9 sweet and savory products including handmade chocolate, artisan jams and chutneys, baking mixes, and specialty condiments sourced directly from Ireland’s finest independent producers. Each box will feature an explainer card giving exclusive recipes for our products and the inspirational stories behind their producers. It’s like an Irish farmers’ market direct to your door!”

Irish Taste Box is based in the west of Ireland and one of their core values is to help small Irish producers get a new route to market and a chance to showcase Ireland’s best outside of the island.  For many or the included products/producers the Irish Taste Box will be the first time they have been sold outside of Ireland.

The cost is $44 per month, $120 for 3 months, or $420 for 12 months.

I love learning about small makers and trying new foods so I’m excited to dive into this one.
The lovely packaging includes a detailed card, explaining each items and including recipes and hints on how to use the products.
Open BoxOpen Box 2

Chips
O’Donnell’s Mature Cheese and Onion Crisps

(Estimated Retail: $1.80)
Description: “You call them potato chips in the US.  We call them crisps in Ireland.  Either way, no-one can quibble over the taste of these beauties.  They’re the real deal wmade with cheddar from the Little Milk company in Tipperary.  Who can resist finishing the whole bag once they’ve opened them?  Why not go really native and try them in a white bread sandwich with Your Daily Bread kit?  Now you’re talking!”.
Verdict:  Where can I find more!
These were so very delicious.  When we ate them my boyfriend turned to me and asked “Where can we get more of these?”  Unfortunately these seem hard to come by.  I did hunt down what appears to be a match over at foodireland.com, but it is out of stock.  I’d love to see Irish Taste Club start offering an option to buy the foods from boxes on their site.  As an aside, why is it that America is considered such a fatty country with the worst junk food, when the UK puts chips/crisps on white bread and turns it into a sandwich? Although Taco Bell does put Doritos in like everything, so okay.…you win this round.

Marmalade
Follain Whiskey Marmalade

(Suggested Retail: $7.99)
Description: “What is it about proper marmalade with just a jigger of the ‘water of life’ in it that makes you want to eat it by the spoon straight from the jar? Follain jams and preserves are mad with masses of fruit so they taste as close to homemade as you can get.  Try this one in our Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding recipe and you’ll have lots left in the jar for toast at breakfast time.”
Verdict: Hit!
My mornings would probably be a lot better with a touch of whiskey in my breakfast.  The included recipe for Marmalade Bread and Butter pudding sounds intriguing, but I may end up using this instead for a shortbread tart recipe that I make.  Oddly enough I found this product available at Walmart, so if I fall in love with it, it should be easy to replenish.

Coffee
Red Rooster Coffee

(Suggested Retail: $???)
Description: “Ready to taste the best small batch roasted coffee in Ireland? It’s a blend of three different beans from Colombia, Ethiopia and Kenya.  They got a four-page letter from one grateful customer for what they call their ‘all-rounder’ coffee.  You don’t have to go that far, but a comment on our Facebook/Twitter might get you a free bag in your next box.”
Verdict:  Like!
I’m not a huge coffee drinker, so I passed this one along to my Mom. I do think it was a great item to include and that most subscribers would really enjoy it.  It looks like you can order from Red Rooster but you’d have to buy two bags and that would cost you $20 American, but I’m not sure of the size, so I couldn’t really guess at a retail value on this.  The included card also listed “5 rules for a perfect cup” and #1 was never put your coffee in the fridge.  So many people have told me that’s the best place to keep coffee but it seems they were wrong.  My sub boxes teach me something new every day.

Dressing
Harnett’s Blackberry Vinaigrette

(Suggested Retail: $5.77)
Description: “The Harnett family’s oils are justifiably renowned for their great flavors.  They’ve been growing oilseed rape and hemp on their land for 400 years.  There they have combined their award-winning rapeseed vinegar and local Armagh blackberries to make a dressing that’s perfect for winter salads.  We also love it drizzled over grilled fish and roasted vegetables”.
Verdict:  Hit!
Vinaigrette’s are my go to salad dressing and I’m exciting to try some from a farm that’s been growing on their land for 400 years. Time to stalk my Pinterest boards for some summer salad recipes that feature blackberries.

Soda Bread
Our Daily Bread Soda Bread

(Estimated Retail $5.48)
Description: “The Irish tradition of yeast-free breads goes back millennia.  Soda bread is eaten for breakfast topped with sausage, bacon and egg and toasted at any time of the day.  This kit takes out the faff of measuring and weighing.  We think it’s a great idea and we love that you bake it in the container.  It’s home baking with the hassle.”
Verdict:  Love!
I love baking so an Irish Soda bread kit is right up my alley.  The estimated retail is the value of just this one bread, but in order to purchase this from the link provided, you need to buy sets of 3 and shipping outside the UK/Northern Ireland would cost you a bit more, so it’s not entirely accurate for cost.

Salt
Irish Atlantic Chilli and Paprika Sea Salt

(Estimated Retail: $9.99)
Description: “The Wild Atlantic Way is a rich larder.  The sea salt form this company is gathered from the western shores of Ireland and some is sold au naturel.  They also smoke it and add herbs and spices like these.  The Chilli and Paprika variety is great as a seasoning on just about anything but we particularly like it with pasta and on grilled fish, chicken and meat..”
Verdict:  Hit!
I love getting seasonings in boxes.  It’s a great way to get the flavors of another locale and you get so much use out of them.  I think this will pair really well with chicken recipes.  The included card had a recipe for flavored butter using this salt as well.

Chocolate
Cocoa Bean Rose and Pistachio Chocolate

Description: “We’re a nation of explorers and we’re always finding new flavor combinations on our travels. This combination has a Middle Eastern vibe which we love.  It’s like Turkish Delight without the goo, so say the good people who make it in Dingle, Co. Kerry.  Eat this in big chunks straight from the packet, with a cup of coffee.  It won’t last!”
(Estimated Retail: $3.55)
Verdict: Exactly like Turkish Delight, disappointing
Turkish Delight sounds so amazing and wondrous and mysterious.  Like a candy that promises happiness and wish fulfillment.  Sadly, it sounds so much better than it tastes, which is like gelatinous roses.  Unfortunately this bar is just as disappointing. It has too much rose and not enough pistachio, which leaves it without much crunch and tasting like someone spilled perfume on chocolate.  I really wanted to like this, but it just wasn’t for me.  It’s definitely a unique product though and I had fun trying it out.

OVERALL
Irish Taste Club April 2016
Verdict:
  Hit!
This box really gave me a feel for what kind of food folks in Ireland produce and enjoy.  I thought the box had a nice mix of sweet and savory items, and the included recipes and hints on how to use the products really added to the experience.

It’s very hard to get an overall estimated retail value because so many of these items would need to be purchased internationally with higher shipping, or in sets of multiple items.

I received this box for free, but it would have cost me $44.  I think that’s fair price for all the items it included.  You’d be hard-pressed to find artisanal handmade food products in the US, in each of the categories represented, that total $44.

People always assume that I’m Irish (or Scottish) and I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland so I can finally learn what it’s like to blend in.  Until I save up for airfare, this box was a great way to get a little taste of Ireland in my NJ apartment.

Do you enjoy trying new foods from different countries?

SUBSCRIPTION THERAPY NEWS!
We’ve still got a great giveaway for a free Orglamix May box.  Enter between now and June 13th!  Check here for all the details.

THE BACKSTORY
Each month, Irish Taste Box will send  7-9 sweet and savory products including handmade chocolate, artisan jams and chutneys, baking mixes, and specialty condiments sourced directly from Ireland’s finest independent producers. Each box will feature an explainer card giving exclusive recipes for our products and the inspirational stories behind their producers.
It’s like an Irish farmers’ market direct to your door!

Cost: $44 per month, $120 for 3 months, or $420 for 12 months.

Coupon Codes: Use therapy10 for 10% off

Try the World Box & 15% off Coupon Code!

I’ve been recovering from Dental surgery so I’ve got such a backlog of awesome boxes and products for you so prepare yourself for lots of exciting new posts.

The awesome folks from Try the World, graciously sent me a box to review for you all. I love cooking and trying new recipes so I was hella excited. Plus they sent me an exclusive coupon, just for you, my oh so fabulous readers!
Use LISATTW15 for 15% off anything from their site. That’s right anything!

A little about the sub:

Every month, Try the World sends you 7 to 8 gourmet products from a new country, all chosen by expert chefs that sure that your items are authentic and of the highest possible quality. The featured products are made by small, family-owned companies who follow artisanal methods of production. The result is a box of items that are hard to find in the US, but loved by locals. Each box comes with a Culture Guide that includes the story behind each product, recipes to make with the items, and tips to best experience the country’s culinary culture. If you love something from a box or want to try other flavors, you can buy them again in their Shop. Subscribers receive special discounts and offers!  You can opt to receive the box monthly or bi-monthly. The cost per box is $39 with a discount for pre-purchasing a 6 or 12 month sub and shipping is free.

Now enough talk, let’s get to the goods.

This box has the cutest little logo.
Logo
Inside, a gorgeous sturdy mint box (that has already been repurposed to hold my backup makeup stash).
Box
The lovely packaging includes a comprehensive “culture guide” that has a perfect little holder built into the lid and reveals that our country this month is: Portugal!
Open Box Lid with Guide
The guide tells us about the products, Portuguese culture, where the items are from and how to use them. It also features a coupon code (PORTUGAL20) for 20% off all Portuguese item sin their online shop. I was really impressed with the detail and thought that put into the insert. It offers a lot of interesting information and is perfectly designed for a cooking enthusiast.

The guide welcomes us to Portugal and let us know this box is curated by first-generation American born to Portuguese parents, Chef George Mendes. He is a chef-owner of Aldea and Lupolo, both in New York City and the author of the cookbook My Portugal.

Now let’s dive into our expertly chosen Portuguese foods!
Codfish
Codfish in Olive Oil
from Briosa Gourmet
(Retail: $7.90)
Description: “Codfish (called bacalhau in its typical, salted form), is one of Portugal’s most iconic foods. Briosa Gourmet wraps their canned codfish in beautiful packaging reminiscent of hydraulic tiles, an art form in which pigments are pressed onto cement”.
Verdict: Intriguing
As a first generation American from Italian immigrants, codfish often made an appearance (although we call it baccalà). As a kid I was pretty anti-fish, but I definitely would like to revisit it and see if I can appreciate it now that I’m all grown up. The included guide offered recipes for codfish fritters and I think that will be how I try this out.

Hot Sauce
Piri Piri Hot Sauce
from Paladin
(Retail: $8.00)
Description: “A quintessentially Portuguese condiment, piri piri hot sauce was first introduced to Europe in the 15th century when Christopher Columbus came back home with piri piri peppers. Since then, the sauce has been used throughout the country. This one is extra hot for extra heat.”
Verdict: Hit!
I’ve got a cabinet and fridge full of different hot sauces so I’m excited to try out a new one. I’m thinking this might work well mixed into a dipping sauce for those codfish fritters.

Lemon Cookies
Lemon Cookies
by Casa Lucena
(Retail: $6.50)
Description: “Committed to preserving the culinary traditions of Portugal, Casa Lucena’s cookies are made according to old, Portuguese recipes. These ones have a delicious lemon flavor that makes it hard to resist finishing the whole box in one sitting!”
Verdict: Love!
These cute little cookies were light, crispy and delicious. They went well with tea and would be fabulous for a ladies lunch or a bridal shower.

Pumpkin Jam
Pumpkin and Hazelnut Jam RARE by Quinta de Jugais

(Retail: $8.90)
Description: “RARE by Quinta de Jugais crafts premium spreads in Serra da Estrela using traditional Portuguese recipes. One of the most popular fruit preserves in the country, pumpkin jam is delicious over toast or alongside a selection of hard and pungent cheeses.”.
Verdict: Love!
I adore jams and this one sounds different than any I’ve tried. Next time I entertain I think I’ll serve it as part of a cheese plate and alongside some fresh bread.

Onions
Caramelized Onions with Balsamic Reduction and Port Wine

by Casa da Prisca
(Retail $7.50)
Description: “Casa da Prisca specializes in producing the same culinary specialties that the company’s founders grew up to know and love over four generations ago. This spread is made with port, one of Portugal’s most iconic spirits, and is best enjoyed with cheese.”
Verdict: Hit!
I feel like I could get creative with this and use it in a lot of different ways, like on a bruschetta or  different kinds of appetizers. I’ll have to spend some time experimenting.

Olive Oil
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Clasico
by Olivais Do Sul
Description: “This versatile olive oil is a perfect addition to a variety of dishes. The olives used to make it are grown in central Portugal and are cold pressed to preserve their complex aroma and distinct flavor.”
(Retail 25 oz: $24.90; Estimated Retail 4.2 oz: $4.18)
Verdict: Love!
Olive oil is a staple in my kitchen, but I’ve never tried one made from Portuguese olives so I’m excited to taste this one.

Black Tea
Apple and Cinnamon Black Tea by IT.
Description: “This infusion is made by blending black tea with leaves, flowers, and fruit grown in the mountains of Serra da Estrela in eastern Portugal. Apple and cinnamon aroma makes this tea a wonderful cold weather pick-me-up.”
(Retail: ???)
Verdict: Love!
Unfortunately I couldn’t find this in the Try the World shop so I don’t have a retail price, but it was absolutely lovely. I served it with the lemon cookies and had a fancy little tea time in my living room. I think I’ll try this out next as an iced tea.

Sea Salt
Sea Salt and Lemon
by Hands on Earth
Description: “Committed to sustainability and healthful living, Hands on Earth specializes in producing organic herbs and seasonings. This finishing salt is made free of pesticides and chemicals, and lemon adds a zesty finish to any dish.”
(Retail: $9.50)
Verdict: Hit!
Sea Salt is a staple in my kitchen and this lemon version will be great for summer dishes. I make a shrimp and orzo salad that I think would pair perfectly with this.

OVERALL
Try the World Box Portugal
Verdict:
Love!
This was one of the best food boxes I’ve tried. I love international cuisine and I felt like I learned a lot about Portuguese food from the items included and the inserts. They also feature small businesses and artisanal goods that you might never be able to find otherwise. The items inspired me to come up with new recipes. The online shop gives you the option to keep buying the items you love and it makes it easy to search by different countries.

I received this box for free, but I’d gladly pay $39 for what I received and if I wasn’t in saving mode I’d be signing myself up for this immediately. (Although I may just break down and do it anyway). Without even factoring in the tea, the retail value of this box was $52.48 and it had a nice mix of savory and sweet as well as cooking and snack items. All around I thought this was an amazing box.

This sub is really packaged perfectly for gift giving. If your Mom loves trying out new foods, I think this would make an awesome Mother’s Day gift (especially with the 15% off code).

Do you enjoy trying new foods? If so, what’s your favorite new culinary discovery?

THE BACKSTORY
Every month, Try the World sends you 7 to 8 gourmet products from a new country, all chosen by expert chefs that sure that your items are authentic and of the highest possible quality. The featured products are made by small, family-owned companies who follow artisanal methods of production. The result is a box of items that are hard to find in the US, but loved by locals.

Each box comes with a Culture Guide that includes the story behind each product, recipes to make with the items, and tips to best experience the country’s culinary culture.

If you love something from a box or want to try other flavors, you can buy them again in their Shop. Subscribers receive special discounts and offers!

Subscription Options: Monthly or Bi-monthly

Cost: $39 per box
6 Month sub: $33 per box
12 Month sub: $29 per box
Free Shipping
Coupon Codes: Use LISATTW15 for 15% off anything from their site.

Pause or Cancel Anytime. First box ships in 2 weeks.

Cannonball Collective: Wonderland

So today I’ve got something that’s been awhile in the making. The folks at Cannonball Collective were awesome enough to send me their second box, entitled Wonderland way back in Autumn

Cannonball Collective bills themselves as “an experience in a box” and are a quarterly subscription, priced at $95.  Kits center around different themes and each includes a copy of the Cannonball Collective magazine which offers info on the box contents and ideas on how to use them.

The first box had a theme of “Torn & Frayed” and “Revival” and was put together by their “Cannonball Ace” Luke from Darn and Dusted based in East London. This second box had a Wonderland theme and was put together by “Cannonball Ace”, The People’s Pop team from Brooklyn NY. Cannonball Collective offers up this description: “Using frozen ice as a medium, the Wonderland Kit gives you the tools and inspiration you need for a trip down flavor lane to experience some wonder of your own delicious making. Explore and experiment to create your own flavor magic!”

Not sure Wonderland = Experimenting with Ice, but I’m always up for something new.

We open the box to discover the lovely packing and Cannonball Collective’s Issue #2 right on top. It lists a retail value of $12, which seems a bit high to me. It has lovely recipes but doesn’t have a ton of content after you take out the portions that discuss what’s in the kit. I’d value it at more around $3.
Box Open Box 1st
Open Box 1 Open Box
What’s In the Kit:
“People’s Pops offer inspiration with their mastery of frozen treats. Royal Rose augments with insane organic syrups. Add the tools you need to experiment for yourself, and we’ve nailed a fun, tasty (and boozy) way to create your own Wonderland!”

Oh I get it now, you’re supposed to use booze. Now I totes get the Wonderland thing.
PopsiclesSticks
Ice Pop Molds w/ 24 sticks

(Estimated Retail: $25.00)
Description: “We don’t screw around. This sucker is a Grade A ice pop mold that delivers quality, consistent pops every time. Trust us, we tried them all. Once you’ve jammed your first batch just pop’em out of the mold toss them in a freezer bag (or chomp them down right away) and crank out another ten. Of course we also include enough sticks for 2+ batches and a handy dandy storage bag to get this party started Cool-io!”.
Verdict: Like
I actually already have a set of Popsicle molds but there are quite nice. The retail price doesn’t include the personalized bags and packaging we received. I actually do appreciate Cannonball Collective creating a bag to tuck all the pieces into. It makes it much easier to store.

Notebook
ScoutBooks Notepad
& Pencil
(Estimated Retail: $4.95)
Description: “We chose this Scout Books notepad as the pocket friendly place for you to record all of your amazing flavor inspirations, ingredient lists for the fruit stand, happy doodles, funny thoughts and more. We’ve also included our magical Cannonball Collective formulation stylus to be sure you never miss a chance to capture those flavor ideas. It can even write upside down and includes a handy “delete” feature. Hooray!”
Verdict: Unnecessary
This is just a mini pad and a pencil. The pad is cute and all but I don’t really feel like we need it. Most people have a way to “write down their inspirations” or recipes. I feel like this could have been replaced with something more useful. I estimated the retail based on the other notepads on the ScoutBooks site.

Simple Syrup
Royal Rose Organic Syrups – Trio

(Estimated Retail: $38)
Description: “OK, so these all natural organic, small batch simple syrups are A-AMAZING! Husband and wife team, Forrest and Emily, craft these fantastic flavors (and more) to supercharge cocktails, frozen treats, desserts…you name it! We’ve included three dee-li-cious flavors for you to wet your whistle – Orange-Vanilla, Lavender-Lemon and Ginger-Lime Soooo tasty!”
Verdict: Love!
I love this inclusion because you can use these simple syrups in a wide variety of ways, plus they are organic and small batch, so not the kind of thing you can just run down to the store to buy. I couldn’t find this exact trio online, but I found another set of three flavors so I’ll estimate that this one is similar in price.

Now, as I mentioned earlier this review was awhile in the making because I try to come up with interesting things to do with my Cannonball boxes. So for New Year’s I decided to try my hand at some champagne popsicles. I decided to take the “experimentation” seriously and ignore the recipes in the book and just try to wing it. (I think you can guess where this will go).

I grabbed by Popsicle set and opted to make two kinds.
The first used Rosé Champagne, A bit of Chambord, simple syrup and sliced strawberries.
Rose Prosecco
The second was an inexpensive Prosecco someone gave me mixed with the orange vanilla simple syrup.

I guessed at quantities, poured into the mold and hoped for the best.
Filled
When, removed sadly it was an ice mold disaster. The Rosé pops were half formed at least, whereas the Prosecco ones did not hold up at all.
Strawberry Popsicle 3 Champagne Popsicle Strawberry 1 Disaster
My boyfriend ended up waiting for them to melt a bit and made gigantic slushie out of it because no booze can go to waste in this household.
Clearly my ratio of non alcoholic mixers to alcohol was way off, but hey I had fun with it and it ended with a giant booze slushie.

OVERALL
Cannonball Collective Wonderland
Verdict:
Like the Concept but a miss the price
I really love the fun spirit of this box and the Hipster/Maker vibe makes me smile. My problem with this box is the value versus the cost you pay. Including the magazine at $12, I only get an estimated retail value of $9.95 (and that’s including the high retail price of the magazines). Even adding a few dollars for the nicer storage bags and packaging just don’t bring up the value enough for my taste. The cost of this is mostly in the curation, but I think the value needs to be a bit higher for the future boxes. I also think this box should have had more edible items. Instead of the notebook, I’d have rather seen something like jarred wild hibiscus flowers or some other bottled mixers that we could use in the popsicles.

Despite my reservations with this box, I’m still excited to see what fun thing they come up with next.

Would you be interested in this type of sub? What experiences would you want to see in it?

THE BACKSTORY
Cannonball Collective sends out quarterly kits centered around particular experiences.

“Each quarter, we serve up a curated collection of goods and inspiration delivered straight to your doorstep. Your ongoing subscription to our Cannonball Kits is a back-stage pass to fresh ideas and remarkable goods!”


Cost:
$95 for each quarter (Shipping is free)

Treats Box October 2015 Review & 15% off Coupon Code!

It’s snack time and today I’ve got a real treat for you, and I mean that literally. Today I’m reviewing the Treats subscription box plus I’ve got a great coupon code for 15% off your first box (use SUBTHERAPY).

Every month Treats sends an assortment of snacks from a different country. Their mantra is “Experience the world through its snacks! Discover flavors you never knew existed! Enjoy a one-of-a-kind snacking experience!”

People, that is some hard core snacking guarantee.

They offer two box options, The Standard (for $12.95) with 4 to 5 snacks and the Premium (for $24.95) with 8 to 10 snacks.

The box that arrived was pretty big, so I was guessing I received the Premium. It was wrapped very neatly in brown paper.
Wrapped BoxUnwrapped Box
Now I love trying out new foods from other countries, but (there’s always a but), I have my limits. I’m going to be honest and say that I was just praying “please don’t be from Japan, please don’t be from Japan…” as I was opening my box. Now I love plenty of Japanese stuff, but from what I’ve seen they really like to have fish and seaweed flavor in their snacks. I’ll try a lot of things but stuff that tastes like I shoved my head into the dried fish bin in Chinatown is probably not for me.

Okay so I open it to reveal, colorful packages that are from…Japan.
Open Box Open Box 2
Of course I jinxed it, as I always do. My friends can attest to the fact that stuff usually doesn’t go my way, but it’s nearly always in a comedic fashion so at least it brings entertainment value.

To start, this sub has a lovely card with pictures assigned to the names (thank god). I do wish there were descriptions of some of the more obscure items, but they have more info on their website. Since my boyfriend is the CSO of our household (Chief Snacking Officer), he’ll be trying out some of the items as well, so you get two for the price of one.
Card

Gummies
Fruit Gummy Assortment from Kasugai

(Amazon Retail: $4.98)
Description: “Kasugai is a premier gummy maker in Japan. Their gummies are easily recognizable for many who grew up in Asia. Kasugai gummies are known to taste like real fruit (and it is no surprise, for these gummies are made with real fruit juice), and also come individually seal wrapped, making them convenient to store and enjoy over time.”
Verdict: Hit!
I love gummies and these come individually wrapped and absolutely do taste like fruit. They also have more exotic fruit flavors, like lychee, that you don’t typically find in US gummies. These haven’t usurped the Albanese gummies as “world’s best” but they are tasty and being individually wrapped makes them perfectly suited to sitting out in a candy dish.

Potato Crisps
Soy Sauce Potato Crisps by Jagabee

(Amazon Retail: $3.60)
Description: “These are soy-sauced flavored potato crisps that look like french fries. Baked, not fried, they contain less oil then your average fried potato chips. Jagabee crisps are crunchier then french fries and being flavored in soy sauce, they tastes different than other potato chips we’ve tried!”
Verdict: Hit!
My boyfriend and I both liked these. They tasted very similar to Pringles and it’s nice that they were baked instead of fried.

Caplico
Giant Caplico Strawberry by Glico

(Amazon Retail: $9.10)
Description: “The Giant Caplico is a giant version of the Caplico Stick. It looks like a giant ice cream cone but instead of containing ice cream, it contains a thick and fluffy layer of strawberry filling. If you like Strawberry, you’re in luck. If you like Chocolate, even better! For beneath outer strawberry is an inner layer chocolate filling. The Giant Caplico may not be an actual ice cream cone, but its just as awesome.”
Verdict: Like!
I never realized the Japanese loved fake strawberry flavor as much as I do. This snack was a lot of fun. The flavor of the filling is hard to describe, and I wasn’t crazy about the consistency but the cone itself is like a wafer cookie and yummy.

Shrimp Chips
Baked Shrimp Chips by Calbee

(Amazon Retail: $5.38)
Description: “Virtually unheard of in America, Shrimp Chips and are one of the most popular snacks in Asia. You might be thinking “Shrimp flavor? I don’t know about that.” I assure you, for shrimp lovers or haters alike, these chips are incredible, it will probably win you over. These chips are baked, and this gives them crispy texture. As the name implies, there is a light, yet satisfying shrimp flavor to these chips. If you like seafood, you will love shrimp chips.”
Verdict: No Thank you
We all knew there’d be something flavored with shrimp. It was inevitable. I couldn’t bring myself to taste these, but despite my boyfriend hating fishy tasting things he went for it. I guess the lure of baked snacks overcame logic. He stated there were super fishy tasting, which made me secure in my decision not to go there.

Uha
Cola Puccho by Uha

(Amazon Retail: $4.99)
Description: “Pucchos are chewy candies made by Japanese confection company UHA. Pucchos are available in some very interesting flavors, such as blue cream soda, melon soda, cola, (as well as traditional flavors like pineapple and grape,) and are unique for having chewy gummy-like “balls” in its center that release flavor and fizz and carbonate when chewed on. It’s fizzy texture (in the form of the gummy-balls in it’s center) and interesting flavors combine to provide a very unique and memorable snacking experience.”
Verdict: Levels of Whatfuckery nothing should ever reach
At first glance I had no idea what these were. I thought they’d be something like a Starburst. I should have been warned by the weird little marshmallow man on the wrapper with the foaming head and expression of terror. His face is exactly what this tastes like: horror. I don’t even have a frame of reference for what this tasted like. It was like chewy perfume with an undercurrent of something rotten. I don’t know if there were multiple flavors in here, because I tossed the box right after the first horrific taste.

Cotton Candy
Watapachi Cotton Candy by Meiji

(Amazon Retail: $3.87)
Description: “The name of the Watapachi Melon Soda hints at its form, for Watapachi means Cotton Candy in Japanese, and Melon Soda is the flavor of an immensely popular drink invented in Japan (great example of the inventiveness in Japanese Snacks). This treat is a Melon Soda flavored Cotton Candy. Did I mention it also contains pop rocks? Embedded within its Melon Soda flavored cotton candy are pop rocks and fizzy candy. When the cotton candy is in your mouth, the pop rocks and fizzy candy activate, and explosion of taste in your mouth follows.”
Verdict: Like
I actually haven’t had a chance to try this one, but cotton candy with pop rocks is worth a smile. I’m not sure about this “melon soda” business but this will be fun to try.

Pocky
Pocky Tsubu Tsubu by Glico

(Amazon Retail: $6.64)
Description: “Pockys, although originally from Japan, are one of Asia’s most recognizable snacks. Pockys are wheat sticks coated with a creamy topping designed to melt in your mouth. The Pocky Midi is the newest variation of the Pocky, being shorter and stubbier then its predecessors, and contains an an extra thick layer of cream coating..”
Verdict: Love!
More fake strawberry flavor! Plus chocolate! That is always the way to my heart. These were super tasty and I ate them all myself.

Rice Crackers
Himemaru by Amanoya

(Amazon Retail: $7.42)
Description: “Amanoya is one of Japan’s premier rice cracker companies, and the Himemaru is one of their main products. Himemarus are golden-hued, deep-fried rice crackers in the shape of a shell. Crunchy with a light soy sauce flavor, this treat achieves the perfect balance between sweet and salty while retaining a incredibly crispy and fresh texture.”
Verdict: CSO Approved
I found these to be surprisingly bland (considering they are deep fried), but my boyfriend got addicted and ate them all.

Caramel
Milk Caramel by Morinaga

(Amazon Retail: 5 for $23.25)
Description: “Milk Caramels by Morinaga were first introduced 1914 and immediately became a hit in Japan. Milky, chewy and with a rich caramel taste, these treats are an absolute favorite for many snackers and a MUST if you enjoy caramel. Another interesting fact about these treats, they contain tea extract! These treats also come individually wrapped and stays fresh over time. These are well made, highly delicious caramel candies.”
Verdict: Hit!
These caramels were delicious with a smooth buttery flavor.

Himemaru
Kaki no Tane by Uegaki

(Retail:???)
Description: “Kaki no Tanes are crescent shaped, soy-flavored rice crackers from Japan. Although commonly enjoyed as a bar snack, these treats are ubiquitous across Japan. With a crispy and crunchy texture, they come in different flavors including original, wasabi, extra hot and more. In part because the Kaki no Tane is known as bar snacks, many people like to enjoy their Kaki no Tanes with a glass of beer.”
Verdict: Uneventful
These are pretty bland to me, but I think they’d make a hell of an interesting rice crispy treat. I could see this snack appealing to toddlers because of the fun shape and crunch. I couldn’t find this one on Amazon so I didn’t list a price.

  OVERALL
Treats Japan Box
Verdict:
Hit!

So what have I learned about Japan?
They love to make things out of rice and have a surprising affinity for artificial strawberry flavoring.
I really enjoyed trying out these snacks and I thought the box was well balanced with sweet versus savory and more unusual versus mainstream items. I received this box for free to review, but the cost would be $24.95. In pricing out these snacks, the shipping is quite high when buying these individually so my best estimate (excluding the Rice snack I couldn’t find) came out to $50.63 (and that’s with a discount on the caramels that come from buying a package of 5). You could get a lot of these cheaper by buying a large pack, but you’d obviously have to know you love that particular snack. You are definitely getting your money’s worth from this box.

I really love the idea of trying imported snacks from other places. It’s a lot of fun to see what the equivalent of things like Twinkies and Gummy bears are in other countries. I think this sub would also make a fun gift for the adventurous eater in your life.

Have you tried snack foods from other countries? What did you think?

THE BACKSTORY
COUPON CODE: Use SUBTHERAPY to get 15% off on your first box

Treats Box sends you a box of snacks from a different country every month!
You can expect to receive snacks from candy to crackers to chips to cookies to chocolate and more. We include all types of snacks in our box with the exception of drinks.Try a new country every month. Receive your first box within a week of your order

Plans automatically renew, cancel any time

Box Options:
Standard Pack:
4-5 international snacks included
Cost: $12.95/Month

Premium Pack:
8-10 international snacks included
Cost: $24.95/Month (Free Shipping)*

Shipping: Shipping is free for addresses in the United States. Shipping fees will apply for addresses outside of the United States.