July 2017 Orangeglad & 10% off Coupon Code!

To kick off my last week before I head back to the old/new grind, I thought I’d focus on something sweet with my July review of Orangeglad, a monthly artisan dessert subscription.

If you’d like to try out one for yourself use my code ST10 for 10% off your order.

Lovely packaging as usual:

CC Made – Berkley, California
About the Company:
“’As a currency trader, brokers took us to the most amazing restaurants.  It opened up a whole new world for me.’  Cassandra Chen recalls. ‘ I realized that, even though my family’s expectation was that I would stay in my successful professional career, it just wasn’t for me.  On a whim, and wearing a skirt and heels, Cassandra walked into Vertigo Restaurant and asked for a job in the kitchen.  She w shored on the spot and told to ‘stage’ (kitchen lingo for ‘trail after the cook and work the line’). She had found her calling.  Manuel was born to Peruvian/American parents.  When he was 22, he worked at the Highlands Bar and Grill, where he learned about gourmet food and fell in love with wine.  With Kermit Lynch’s encourage, he moved out to California and worked for josh Jensen at Calera Wines deepening his love for the art of winemaking.  Later, under the tutelage of master sommelier Larry Stone, Manuel passed his level 1 exam.  In 1997, Cassandra and Manuel’s paths crossed.  They were both working for Traci des Jardis at the newly opened restaurant Jardiniere.  Through moving on from the restaurant, getting married, and having kids, their love for food never waned.  With Cassandra’s experience in the pastry kitchens, they started a line of caramel product and thus CC made was born.
Toasted Sesame Seeds with Nori Sea Salt Brittle

(2 oz Bag: $3.50)
Description: “Roasted organic sesame seeds with bright sea taste of nori and sea salt dusted on top,, this brittle will bring a whole new meaning to reinvented snacks.
Verdict: Nice!
Brittles aren’t really my favorite treats, but this had an appealing flavor that wasn’t overly sweet.  The sesame/nori addition made it feel sophisticated.  I think it would be an interesting addition to a fruit/cheese/nut dessert plate.

Potato Chips with Cracked Salt Pepper Brittle
(2 oz Bag: $3.50)
Description: “Potato chip combined with buttery brittle and topped with cracked black pepper, the perfect harmony of savory and sweet will make your taste buds dance.”
Verdict:
Not for me
The pepper on these treats came through quite clearly and they are much more savory than you’d anticipate in a brittle.  I just didn’t like the chip aspect, which is purely subjective.  I’m sure someone else would probably love these.
Classic Artisanal Popcorn
(3 oz Bag: $5.00)
Description: “Handcrafted to perfection, Cassandra and Manuel wanted to make something that was hard to find on the market – a really flavorful and quality caramel.  What they learned was that to develop a deep rich flavor form the simple ingredients of just sugar and water required an open flame, patience, and perfect timing.  This is the reason why mass manufactured caramels lacked the depth of flavor that they were craving, so they had to create ones that satisfy their standards for gourmet popcorn.
Verdict: Love!
I adore caramel popcorn and this one had a lovely, deep caramel flavor and a really nice texture.  The caramel wasn’t too thick or thin and the popcorn had a nice crunch.  My favorite item in the box!

McTavish Shortbread – Portland, Oregon
About the Company:
“McTavish Shortbread is baked daily in Portland, Oregon using old world techniques and recipes handed down through generations.  They use only all natural ingredients with no added preservatives.  They are a family owned company that takes pride in producing consistent, high quality melt-in-your-mouth, tastes like your Scottish Grandmother baked it-SHORTBREAD!  Their promise is to deliver handmade goodness to cookie lovers everywhere because everyone deserves a really good cookie!
Scottie Dog Shortbread
(Estimated Retail: $1.32)
Ice Cream Sprinkle Shortbread
(Estimated Retail: $1.32)

Description: “Using an age-old Scottish recipe, McTavish Shortbread bakes deliciously rich, traditional shortbread, perfect for summer!”

Verdict:
Hit!
This sub *really* loves to include shortbread cookies.  Typically, I like them but they aren’t my favorite cookie or dessert and not something I actively seek out.  However, these were delicious and probably some of the best shortbread I’ve had.  I couldn’t find these exact cookies on the McTavish site, nor can you buy them individually so I estimated the price based on the cost of a dozen of their seasonal shortbread.

OVERALL
Verdict: Great products, not great value
Let’s start with the good stuff.  I thought this box was well curated and the treats all felt like sophisticated spins on classics.  As usual, they were packed really nicely and even though not everything was to my taste, I could tell they were excellent quality.  Now the bad part, the value is just too low for a monthly sub.  I receive this box free in order to review it, but if I’d paid for it, it would have cost $25. After doing the math, I come up with an estimated value of only $14.64 for the included items.  That includes my estimate on the individual cookies and without shipping and packaging.  I appreciate that these treats would be pricey for us to purchase and have shipped individually, but I feel like we need to be closer to the $20 value mark to justify this as a monthly box.  Right now, with this price point and value, I’d say that this is a sub more suited for gift giving.  It’s great for folks you don’t know super well or who don’t need anything else taking up space in their house.  As a gift, paying a little more isn’t quite as daunting as shelling it out every month just for yourself.

What type of value do you expect from a sub box versus what you paid for it?

THE BACKSTORY
Orangeglad is an “artisan dessert box that sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts each month. Eat delicious treats created by local artisan chefs throughout the country, and learn about the amazing people behind each item.”

Single Portion Box: 5 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 1-2 people happy
Cost: $25 per month (shipping included)

Double Portion Box: 10 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 3-4 people happy
Cost: $40 per month (shipping included)

Managing your account is easy. If you want a break, you can cancel or skip at anytime, with absolutely no hassle.

Coupon Codes: Use code ST10 for 10% off your orders

Save

June 2017 Orangeglad & 10% off Coupon Code!

To celebrate Foodie Friday, I’m focusing on sweet treats with my June review of Orangeglad, a monthly artisan dessert subscription.

If you’d like to try out one for yourself use my code ST10 for 10% off your order.
Lovely packaging as usual.

Carolina Girl Cooks – South Carolina
About the Company:
“The first time Jennifer experienced the captivating flavor of lavender, she was having dessert during a night out with a group of girlfriends.  She fell in love with the flavor and immediately began experimenting with recipes of her own.  Oddly enough, the fragrant flower kept finding its way into sweet delicious cookies and from there, Carolina Girl Cooks Tea Cookies were born.  Creating the perfect packaging meant the most because soon Jennifer learned that the meaning of lavender when given as a gift ‘the promise of new adventure’…Jennifer’s sincerest hope is that each artfully crafted  cookie tin will serve a sa reminder that small passions can turn into wild adventures in the most unexpected and thrilling ways, just as lavender has for her.”
Rose Tea Cookies
($9.00 for 8 to 10 cookies)
Description: “Subtle yet elegant, the Rose Tea Cookies are made with the finest dried, edible rose petals and delicate rose water.  One bite is like a stroll through a summer garden.”
Orange Cardamom Cookies
($9.00 for 8 to 10 cookies)
Description: “Orange Cardamom is a light butter cookie balancing the delicate floral flavor of ground cardamom with the brightness of citrus zest.”
Verdict:
Pretty, but not my favorites
These type of crumbly tea cookies just aren’t my favorite.  I did think that the rose cookies in a June box were an inspired choice.  The packaging on these is gorgeous and made me immediately think of wedding favors (particularly the Rose Tea Cookies).  While these wouldn’t be my personal favorites, they were lovely cookies and perfect for June.

Unna Bakery – Harlem, New York
About the Company:
“…Unna’s gourmet cookies are made using her traditional recipes passed down through generations.  To offer uncompromised quality, they use only the best ingredients like organic butter, organic locally milled flour and handmade jam with berries from the Hudson Valley.  Treat yourself their tasty cookies while enjoying the old Swedish tradition of taking a ‘fika’ (a little break).”
Raspberry Cave Shortbread
(3.4 oz: $7.99)
Description: “A buttery, rich , golden cookie with Raspberry Jam from award-winning Maya’s Jam”
Farmer’s Cookie’s
(3.4 oz: $7.99)
Description: “A traditional Swedish, crispy, light and nutty cookie with browned butter and almonds.”
Verdict: Hit!
I love jam cookies so the Raspberry Cave Shortbread cookies were my favorite dessert in the box. The Farmer’s cookies were also lovely.  Apologies for the spastic photos on the Farmer’s cookies – sometimes my camera has a mind of it’s own.

Shotwell Candy
About the Company:
“A corporate lawyer and father of three at the time, Jerrod spend this nights learning the science and art behind cooking caramel, testing several different ingredient combinations and eventually developing what he thought to be the best tasting caramel possible.  With the help and encouragement of his wife and close friends, Jerrod officially launched Shotwell Candy (named after Jerrod’s great grandfather), in December 2012.  Although the attention to detail process and classic caramel making process has not changed one bit, Shotwell Candy has since grown well beyond Jerrod’s home kitchen become one of the South’s great confectioners, even earning a food award form Southern Living Magazine in 2015 for ‘Best Sweet’.”
Craft Beer & Pretzel Caramels
(2.5 oz Bag: $5.95)
Description: “Other than their glorious caramels, beer is one of the Shotwell Candy’s grat passions.  Especially some of the locally made versions available in Memphis.  They combine their buttery soft caramel with a healthy dose of shot River Brewing’s Golden Ale and finish it off with nice sized chunks of hand-crushed salty pretzels.  It makes a perfect malty, caramelly, crunchy and salty bite!
Verdict:
Misfit
I didn’t think this product fit in with this box.  We’d actually received the same exact one in the February box.  It also doesn’t feel appropriate for June or match up with the Rose tea biscuit feel this one had going.  Another fruit related dessert or something with a summery feel would have been a much better fit.  My camera was apparently having a bad day so apologies for another off pic.

OVERALL
Verdict: Some good ideas, but overall a mess
Let’s start with the value.  I receive this box free in order to review it, but if I’d paid for it, it would have cost $25. After doing the math, I come up with an estimated value of only $13.30 for the included items.  Now that value doesn’t include shipping, but that’s just far too low a return on the investment, especially considering there is a repeat item in this box.  I feel like we need a total value closer to $18.  Shipping each item would be expensive, but for $25 you could get more of your favorite item, have it shipped to you, and still probably end up under $25.  The value issue could be solved by upping the quantity of some items.  Carolina Girl Cooks offers tea cookies in lovely tins.  One tin of cookies instead of the two tiny packs, would have added a lot of value and appeal to the box.

I thought the Rose Tea Cookies were a great idea for a June box and the Unna Bakery’s Swedish offerings paired with them to create a sort of summer tea party vibe.  Unfortunately, the beer caramels were like inviting your football watching uncle to a garden party instead of the Sunday game.  If I was curating, I’d have replaced the caramels with a fruity bar of some kind or dainty chocolate truffles.  There was a lot of potential with this box, but the overall value was just too low to justify the misstep with the caramels.

What type of value do you expect from a sub box versus what you paid for it?

THE BACKSTORY
Orangeglad is an “artisan dessert box that sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts each month. Eat delicious treats created by local artisan chefs throughout the country, and learn about the amazing people behind each item.”

Single Portion Box: 5 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 1-2 people happy
Cost: $25 per month (shipping included)

Double Portion Box: 10 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 3-4 people happy
Cost: $40 per month (shipping included)

Managing your account is easy. If you want a break, you can cancel or skip at anytime, with absolutely no hassle.

Coupon Codes: Use code ST10 for 10% off your orders

May 2017 Orangeglad & 10% off Coupon Code!

Okay it’s time to get back to boxes. To push us over the mid-week hump, I’ve got some sweet treats with my May review of Orangeglad, a monthly artisan dessert subscription.

If you’d like to try out one for yourself use my code ST10 for 10% off your order.

Lovely packaging as usual:

Rustic Bakery – Larkspur, CA
About the Company:
“So, the bakers scrambled to find a commercial kitchen space in their hometown of Novato, which they outgrew in the first week, struggling to keep up with more orders while working with a rolling pin and standard convection oven.  It wasn’t an around-the-clock effort.  Josh would mix all of the dough, and Carol would shape and bake the flatbreads.  As luck would have it, there was a wine bar in Larkspur with a fully outfitted, but unused bakery in the back.  Carol and Josh signed a lease, and the crowds converged the same day.  Two days later they purchased the entire space , turning the wine bar into a café serving coffee and croissants alongside the crackers….As far as we know, it’s the only handmade sourdough flatbread anywhere…”

Pecan Shortbread
($2.99 Each)
Description: “Tender and luscious, this delicate cookie is topped with sanding sugar after baking to complete its yumminess!”

Chocolate Chip and Cacao Nib

($2.99 Each)
Description: “This sophisticated cookie has a double chocolate flavor with the Valrhona chocolate and cacao nibs with a tiny bit of salt on the finish.”
Verdict:
Like
These are lovely shortbread cookies that aren’t overly dry.  They didn’t blow me away as super amazing, but they were quite nice and would pair well with a cup of tea or coffee.


McCrea’s

About the Company:
“The company uses local, real-food ingredients and packages its caramel in beautiful compostable containers.  Everything is made in America.  In fact, McCrea’s is a Good Food Award winner, an honor given to outstanding American food producers and farmers who provide their ingredients.  The company was also selected by Martha Stewart as an American Made finalist, by USA Today as a Best Gift for Foodies and by People Magazine for inclusion in the publication’s gala gift bags.”

Cape Cod Sea Salt Caramel
(5.5 oz Tube: $14.95)
Description: “Sweet caramel with savory flakes of coast a New England se salt. A walk in the surf.”
Verdict:
Miss
While I thought the caramel had a wonderful buttery taste, I did not care for the sea salt addition.  It was like eating caramel that accidentally got some sand in it.  I’d have loved to sample one of their offerings without the salt.

Treat Bake Shop
About the Company:
“Sarah started her culinary career as an early-morning bake in college.  After college, she studied with a pastry chef in France and got a master’s in Library and Information Science with an emphasis on Collections and Food Research.  She then started working at food magazines, went to Japan, wrote, and published a highly praised cookbook, A Cook’s Journey to Japan.  All of her experience led up to the moment in November 2011, Sarah made the scary, but more-so exciting, decision to take the plunge and open Treat Bake Shop  – business focused on sourcing the highest-quality ingredients to produce unforgettable baked goods delivered with exceptional customer service.  Treat Bake Shop’s first product, Spiced Pecan, was inspired by her childhood friend, Sarah, and became an instant hit.”

Candied Pecans
(3 oz Bag: $5.95)
Description: “A salty-sweet treat with great crunch. Perfect with a little white wine…a creamy cheese…on salads. And of course, on their own.”
Verdict:
Love!
This is so beautifully packaged and would make a wonderful wedding or party favor.  These nuts were delicious and not overly sweet.  And as mentioned in the description, they are a versatile treat that can be used in as an ingredient in a larger dish or paired with other savory components.  My favorite item in the box!

Torie and Howard
About the Company:
“Coincidentally, along the road somewhere, each of them experienced a health related event that would have a significant impact on their life.  For Howard, Losing over a hundred pounds led to a renewed focus on eating as healthy and nutritionally conscious as possible.  For Torie, it was the onset of severe food allergies that forced her to make serious changes in her life and in her diet.  With a new dedication to nutrition in their lives and the relative lack of healthy, indulgent snacks on the market, it became apparent that the time was right to fulfill their dream of starting their own snack food company.  And so Torie & Howard was born, out of a mutual love of delicious and all natural foods that soothe the soul and nourish the body.

Pomegranate & Nectarine Hard Candy
(2 oz: $3.99)
Description: “Unique, sophisticated sweets brimming with fresh flavors that taste of real luscious fruit-picked straight from the garden.  You’ve certainly never tasted anything like these candies.  Carefully crafted from all natural ingredients, the candies feature sophisticated dual flavors of tart California pomegranate with sweet freestone nectarine.  No additives, no artificial flavors or colors.  Just pure. fresh. delicious satisfaction.”
Verdict:
Like!
These hard candies definitely have a fresh fruit taste, unlike so many that have a chemical or overly processed flavor.  The tin is lovely as well and is nice to keep in your bag or car when you need a little pick me up.

 OVERALL

Verdict: Hit!
Even though I receive this box free in order to review it, I’ve had some issues in the past with the price tag relative to the value you receive.  This month marks a huge improvement in that area.  The cost of a box is $25 and the estimated retail of the items comes out to $19.73, but that’s without shipping.  The flat rate shipping just from the Treat Bake Shop would set you back $9.99.  I don’t think a consumer would be able to get all these items for $25 or less on their own, so we’ll check off the value box as a win.

I thought the treats in this box had a nice variety and were all quite sophisticated.  Orangeglad is a great gift for someone who you may not know super well or someone who you know in a less personal capacity – like a work colleague or business associate.  It has a lovely high end feel and most people would find at least one treat in the box they’d enjoy.

Have you ever given a subscription as a gift?
If so, what was it and how did the recipient like it?

THE BACKSTORY
Orangeglad is an “artisan dessert box that sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts each month. Eat delicious treats created by local artisan chefs throughout the country, and learn about the amazing people behind each item.”

Single Portion Box: 5 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 1-2 people happy
Cost: $25 per month (shipping included)

Double Portion Box: 10 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 3-4 people happy
Cost: $40 per month (shipping included)

Managing your account is easy. If you want a break, you can cancel or skip at anytime, with absolutely no hassle.

Coupon Codes: Use code ST10 for 10% off your orders

April 2017 Orangeglad & 10% off Coupon Code!

So I’m going to admit it.  I am exhausted.  My book release, the home renovation, my full time job and my box reviews are keeping me more than busy.  But on the upside I have TONS of cool stuff for you coming in the next few weeks. A super low budget way to update laminate counters, interviews for my book, Kbeauty products, plus unusual new boxes including collectibles and Japanese snacks.  The tough part is finding time to tell you all about it.

For today I felt like I could use a treat, so I’m going with my April review of Orangeglad, a monthly artisan dessert subscription.

If you’d like to try out one for yourself use my code ST10 for 10% off your order.

Lovely packaging as usual:

Salt of the Earth Bakery – Brooklyn, New York
About the Company:
“Salt of the Earth Bakery devotes themselves to elevating the sweet indulgence experience.  Their joy in life is re-imagining classic treats which is why they pair all of their goodies with hand-picked se salts and exotic spices.  Their creations are the result of countless rounds of taste and tests and nothing goes into production unless it is simply the best they have ever eaten.  Their entire product line is all-natural and certified Kosher (OK-D). Made in Brooklyn.”

The Brownie
(The Brownie – 3 boxes, 2/unit @ 1.6 oz each – $15.00)
Description: “For you brownie purists out there, this is nothing but intense chocolate satisfaction. A simply amazing trio of chocolate & more chocolate with a dash of Halen Mon Sea Salt.”
The Kona
(The Kona – 3 boxes, 2/unit @ 1.6 oz each- $15.00)
Description: “Welcome to paradise. An intense eruption of chocolate brownie with aromatic espresso and Kona Sea Salt. Aloha tastebuds!”
(Sorry missing a photo on this one.)
Verdict:
Like
I found these brownies to be a bit drier than I like.  I’m more of a gooey brownie lover.  They were good, but somehow by the description I expected a bit more.  The Kona definitely has a richer flavor because of the coffee. What’s very nice is that these are certified Kosher so they’d make a lovely treat for anyone who requires Kosher food.

Hard Crack
About the Company:
“What’s their story? They love toffee- and just about any other kind of caramelized sugar confection we can name.  Hard Crack’s first creation was the toffee chip cookie.  They make the toffee in small batches and then chop it into chips, which add into their buttery cookie dough.  The result is deliciously complex: great for cookie lovers, great for candy lovers (and the original is even great with cheese!).”

Original Toffee Cookie Snack Pack
(8oz, 28 cookies: $6.00)
Description: “Hard Crack’s caramelized take on a cookie classic.  It’s a combination of rich, complex caramelized flavors with not-too-sweet shortbread crispness to create this addicting treat.  Don’t let its thin size fool you, it’s packed with sweetness.  I dare you to eat just one!”
Verdict:
Hit!
These are super crispy with a satisfying crunch.  They aren’t super sweet and the toffee adds a nice complexity of flavor.  I just wish they’d included more cookies.  These seem relatively inexpensive, so adding a few more would have improved the box value and not have cost Orangeglad too much extra.

Three Kids and A Kitchen
About the Company:
“Inspired by unsuccessful attempts to recreate a treasured family fudge recipe, stay-at-home mom of three, Erin Spalding, began crafting and sharing delicious caramels with friend and family as holiday gifts.  Established in 2011, Three Kids and a Kitchen has grown from a single kettle on her home stove to a commercial custom caramel kitchen that includes a playroom so her kids can continue to be part of the sweet experience.”

Original & Salted Caramel Snack Pack
(???)
Description: “Handcrafted old fashioned and salted caramels paired to create a smooth, rich treat that literally melts in your mouth.”
Verdict:
Hit!
I’m not a huge caramel candy lover, but these were tasty and had a lovely smooth texture. They weren’t too sticky or hard to chew.  I tried to find their site online for links to products and more pricing info, but every link I followed took me nowhere.

Raley’s Confectionary
About the Company:
“Raley’s Confectionary is a family owned and operated artisan Candy Shop that combines centuries old candy making techniques with wholesome ingredients and modern artwork.  They have loads of fun making the candies ot that you can have loads of fun enjoying them.

Variety Fruit Rock Candy
(3 oz: $5.00)
Description: “Raley’s takes the art of hand-crafted hard candy to a whole new level, experience the masterpiece with this blend of everyone’s favorites: banana, pomegranate, watermelon, root beer, blueberry, tutti-fruitti, berry and raspberry.”
Verdict:
Intriguing
These are so lovely to look at and have a Willy Wonka vibe going on.  The flavors aren’t too sweet or cloying, which is a huge accomplishment with hard candy.  The flavors were unique.  Without looking at the card it was for me hard to place some of them.  They were really unlike any hard candy I’ve tried and a lot of fun.

 OVERALL

Verdict: Fun box, but value is still a problem.
This was a beautifully packaged box of treats that included a nice variety of sweets, but the retail value doesn’t seem to add up for me. It’s hard for me to come up with an exact amount because I couldn’t find info on the caramels, and some of these products aren’t available in such small quantities, but the retail value doesn’t seem like it would be much more than half of the box cost of $25.  Some cost needs to be associated with the shipping and the packaging/curation, but I think the gap between the subscriber cost and value of items needs to be narrower.  Even just adding the full $6.00 portion of the toffee cookies would have gone much further in making the box feel like it had more value.

I still love the focus on small businesses and artisan products and I think this would make a lovely gift.  Hopefully Orangeglad can work toward adding a little more value in future boxes.

What are you favorite sweet treats?

THE BACKSTORY
Orangeglad is an “artisan dessert box that sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts each month. Eat delicious treats created by local artisan chefs throughout the country, and learn about the amazing people behind each item.”

Single Portion Box: 5 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 1-2 people happy
Cost: $25 per month (shipping included)

Double Portion Box: 10 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 3-4 people happy
Cost: $40 per month (shipping included)

Managing your account is easy. If you want a break, you can cancel or skip at anytime, with absolutely no hassle.

Coupon Codes: Use code ST10 for 10% off your orders

March 2017 Orangeglad & 10% off Coupon Code!

I thought for Thursday we’d focus on treats, so today I’ve got my March Orangeglad review. They are a monthly artisan dessert subscription!  All the treats!

If you’d like to try out one for yourself use my code ST10 for 10% off your order.

As with my last box, we had some lovely packaging.

This time I got a handy dandy reference sheet so I have a bit more info on the companies and products.

Little Belgians – Berkley California
About the Company:
“Little Belgians is an artisanal cookie company in Berkeley, CA, founded in 2014 by Evy Ballegeer. Evy started baking speculoos out of nostalgia for the many previous moments she spent with her family and friends over coffee and a koekkse in her native Belgium.  She now bakes her cookies in a cozy baking atelier in Berkeley and sells them to gourmet stores.  Little Belgians are made with all organic ingredients and no preservatives.”

Original Speculoos cookies
(4 cookie snack packs: $7.99)
Description: “Little Belgians’ buttery speculoos cookies are thin, crunchy, not too sweet and flavored with dark brown sugar and nine spices including cinnamon, cloves, pepper and cardamom.  They are great with coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or all on their own.”

Vanilla Speculoos cookies
(4 cookie snack pack: $7.99)
Description: “Their buttery vanilla speculoos are thin, crunchy, and not too sweet.  They combine the sweet of light brown sugar with delicious hints of vanilla.  Great with tea, dipped in a glass of milk, or just on their own.
Verdict:
Like
These cookies are just as advertised: light, crunchy and not terribly sweet.  The flavors reminded me of the Christmas holidays and I preferred the vanilla just a little more than the original.

Theo Chocolate – Seattle, WA
About the Company:
“Founded in Seattle in 2006, Theo Chocolate is proud to be North America’s first Organic and Fair Trade certified bean-to-bar chocolate maker.  To this day, they strive to be the most progressive chocolate maker in the country.  Their founding principle is that the finest artisan chocolate in the world can (and should) be produced in an entirely ethical , sustainable fashion.  All of their ingredients are carefully screed and 3rd party verified to ensure they meet their standards for social and environmental responsibility.  Theo’s cocoa purchasing practices full transparency along eth entire supply chain and improved quality of life for cocoa farmers, now and I the future.  Simply put: Theo is passionate about chocolate.  And changing the world.”

Hazlenut Crunch Chocolate, 45% Cacao
(1 Bar: $3.00)
Description: “What’s your chocolate fantasy? Does is tart with a smooth organic 45% cacao, pure milk chocolate? Is it blended with hazelnut brittle and just the perfect touch of salt? Does it redefine delicious with every crunchy bite? If so, you’re in luck.”

Bread & Chocolate, 70% Dark Chocolate
(1 Bar: $3.00)
Description: “Theo’s unique twist on traditional pain au chocolat. Indulge in buttery toasted breadcrumbs immersed in rich dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt.”
Verdict:
Love the Hazelnut, Don’t care for the Bread
Chocolate & Saving the world?  What’s not to love here?  The hazelnut crunch bar was delicious.  The hazelnut flavor wasn’t overpowering and the chocolate was nice and creamy.  Unfortunately, the “Bread & Chocolate” bar just wasn’t my taste.  There was something off-putting about the breadcrumbs inside and I would have preferred it to be a touch sweeter.

Wooden Table Baking Co.
About the Company:
“Andreas Ozzuna is the ownder and baker at Wooden Table Baking Co. She grew up in Buenos Aires in a large family with a grandmother who cooked every day for her and her family.  When she moved to the Bay Area 15 years ago, there was not a lot of Argentinean food – so she had to make the food she craved! When her nostalgia kicked in, she surrounded herself with homemade Argentinean empanadas, alfajores, tangos y mate! Her grandmother taught her these recipes—it is from her that she inherited her love cooking. Andreas recalls being next to her at a wooden table making raviolis, gnocci, tarts every weekend!  A whole spoonful of Dulce del leche in her mouth as a reward when grandma wasn’t looking…She really loved being next to her grandma, looking up when she showed her how to make alfajores. Today, that’s how Andreas feels every time she makes alfajores. She feels the love and happiness of those days.  She feels at home and she loves bringing this joy to the Wooden Table Baking Co’s supporters.”

Traditional Alfajores
(16 cookies: $24.00)
Description: “Alfajores (pronounced Al-fa-ho-res) are a traditional Argentine pastry made of two shortbread-like cookies joined with “dulce de leche”: al made with non-gmo ingredients! Handcrafted vanilla cookie filled with dulce de leche eand rolled in grated coconut.”
Verdict:
Could eat a pound of these
These were so so delicious.  The cookie part was just soft and crumbly enough.  The caramel and coconut with the perfect sweet counterpoint.  These were absolutely lovely. I could imagine these as amazing wedding favors packaged in that same cute little box with a little bow on top.

OVERALL

Verdict:
Lovely box, but not enough of a value
This was a beautifully packaged box of treats, but unfortunately the retail value only came out to $13.  I understand that shipping costs should be added to that, but this box costs $25.  I feel like the value needs to be closer to that $20 mark. The goodies inside were lovely, but it felt like it was missing one more treat. This is a fairly new subscription though, so they still need some time to find the right balance of items and value.

That being said, I love the focus on small companies and finding out about them and how they make their products.  The packaging is beautiful, so I could see splurging on this as a gift and that extra money going toward the packaging and curation.  If your Mom has a sweet tooth, this would be a great Mother’s day gift idea.

Have you ever given a box subscription as a Mother’s Day gift?
If so, what was it and how was it received?

THE BACKSTORY
Orangeglad is an “artisan dessert box that sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts each month. Eat delicious treats created by local artisan chefs throughout the country, and learn about the amazing people behind each item.”

Single Portion Box: 5 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 1-2 people happy
Cost: $25 per month (shipping included)

Double Portion Box: 10 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 3-4 people happy
Cost: $40 per month (shipping included)

Managing your account is easy. If you want a break, you can cancel or skip at anytime, with absolutely no hassle.

Coupon Codes: Use code ST10 for 10% off your orders

February 2017 Orangeglad & 10% off Coupon Code!

If you’re like me, you just need a little something extra to face Monday.
Today I’ve got just the thing – an artisan dessert subscription!  All the treats!

The lovely folks at Orangeglad sent me a box to review.  Each month, Orangeglad sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts. The treats are created by local artisan chefs throughout the country.  A single portion box comes with 5 treats and costs $25, while a double portion of 10 costs $40.  (Shipping is included in the costs).

If you’d like to try out one for yourself use my code ST10 for 10% off your order.

This was a new sub, so I didn’t know what to expect.
I got a wrapped package and inside was a lovely box.

It was nicely packaged and perfect for gift giving.

There’s supposed to be a little book inside with info on the foods and vendors, but unfortunately mine was missing. I’ve used my best google skills to try to research the items and their cost, so bear with me.


Sweet Lydia’s S’mores

(6 Bar Box: $23.00)
Description: “Gourmet Vanilla Marshmallow is sandwiched between two graham crackers, covered in milk chocolate. You might think you know what to expect from a S’more but hold onto your hat as this treat will blow you away. Each s’more is individually wrapped, perfect for sharing or keeping all to yourself.”
Verdict:  You had me at hello, (sniff), you had me at hello
I adore s’mores and pretty much all marshmallow goodness (except for Peeps – they are for looking at, not for eating).  This was so very tasty.  The ingredients were fresh and the chocolate was creamy—so much better than what you find at your local drugstore.  I’ve never met this Lydia lady, but after tasting this and checking out her website, I think I love her.  I mean she has raspberry s’mores! And peanut butter!  So much marshmallow happiness! Unfortunately, you can’t buy these individually and a box of $6 will cost you $23.00.


Shotwell Candy Company – Craft Beer & Pretzel Caramels

(2.5 oz resealable pouch: $5.95)
Description: “We combine our buttery soft caramel with a healthy dose of Ghost River Brewing’s Golden Ale and finish it off with nice sized chunks of hand-crushed salty pretzels.  Makes a perfect malty, caramelly, crunchy and salty bite!  Beer and pretzels? Sure.  Beer, pretzels and caramel?  Back the truck up!”
Verdict: Hit!
I’m not a beer drinker, but I thought this was such a fun, unique spin on the caramel I had to give it a thumbs up.  I haven’t had a chance to try this one yet because I want to share it with friends, but even if it’s not my taste, I appreciate the creativity.


Shotwell Candy Company – Hand-Crushed Espresso Caramels

(2.5 oz resealable pouch: $5.95)
Description: “Like that perfect cup of coffee on a cold morning, these espresso caramels are something special.  Our small batch, hand-made caramel is infused with crushed Costa Rican Tarrazu coffee beans, a shot of pure, fresh pulled espresso, 100% natural vanilla and almond extract and then finished with a sprinkling of hand-crushed espresso beans and sea salt.”
Verdict:
Too repetitive
This box includes 5 treats so I was a bit disappointed that two of them were caramels.  If you happen to not like caramels, you’d dislike almost half the box.  I’d have split this one from the pretzel one and used them in different boxes.


QUIN Fruit Lollipops – 3 pieces

(6 Pieces: $6.00)
Verdict:  Like
These were definitely nicer than Dum Dum lollipops. The packaging and design of the candy also made it feel chic.  Like you should be eating these while you write your article for Vogue.  I only ate one but it had a nice flavor without being too cloying.


Fatty Sunday’s Chocolate Covered Pretzels – Toffee

(3 rod box: $3.49)
Description: “It’s no secret that toffee and chocolate make the perfect pair. How sweet (and salty) it really is. These gourmet pretzel rods are made with sweet and buttery toffee bits, creamy milk chocolate and of course, a salty pretzel. Sink your teeth into the sinful combination of crunchy toffee and milk chocolate – you will not be sorry you did. Your secret’s safe with us.”
Verdict:
  Hit!
I love chocolate covered pretzels and toffee so this was wonderful for me.  This is the only brand in the box that I was familiar with as I’m pretty sure it’s popped up in other sub boxes.  It’s quite tasty and the only item that you could buy in the same size included in the box.

OVERALL

Verdict:
Mixed
The positives – This is a beautifully packaged box with dessert treats that feel chic and adult.  It’s perfect for gift giving – particularly for those hard to shop for folks.  It would be great for those office gifts when you don’t want to give something too personal, but where a gift card might not be the best route.  The treats felt high end and nearly all of them were new to me.  Everything I tasted was excellent and I’d happily buy the s’mores if my budget allowed.

The negatives are two parts.  First, I think for 5 small treats you need a tight curation and having two packages of caramels and two treats that featured pretzels aren’t quite appropriate.  While I love pretzels and like caramels, if you disliked either (or both!) you would be quite stuck.  The lollipops are great, but I would have liked to have seen the pretzels and espresso caramels saved for another box and one replaced with fruit treat and the other perhaps with a peanut butter based one.

The bigger issue though is the value.  This box would cost you $25.  When I added up the cost of the items it came out to $15.57, not including the shipping or packaging.  Now, it’s important to remember that only one of these items can be purchased in the quantity included in the box.  You can’t just order 1 s’more, so while that may be what they are worth, you can’t buy them for that amount.  Still, it’s almost $10 between the value and what you pay and to me that’s way too much.   It feels like maybe there should be 6 items in the box, or some should have been in larger quantities.

This seems to be a newer sub box, so there’s always a lot of tweaking that goes on before they find their sweet spot (pun intended).  It has a lovely vibe to it and the treats are delicious, so I’m hoping they can up the value and variety in their future boxes.

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

THE BACKSTORY
Orangeglad is an “artisan dessert box that sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts each month. Eat delicious treats created by local artisan chefs throughout the country, and learn about the amazing people behind each item.”

Single Portion Box: 5 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 1-2 people happy
Cost: $25 per month (shipping included)

Double Portion Box: 10 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 3-4 people happy
Cost: $40 per month (shipping included)

Managing your account is easy. If you want a break, you can cancel or skip at anytime, with absolutely no hassle.

Coupon Codes: Use code ST10 for 10% off your orders

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.