Hey guys! Happy 2013! 😀 Sorry for the lack of posts. Though everything’s back to normal after Hurricane Sandy, I haven’t been able to get back into the groove of writing blog posts. I’ve got several new polishes that I can’t wait to review and swatch and hopefully I can get on the ball again soon. 🙂 I do have a few reviews that are already written, but just need the accompanying pics.
I also wanted to make a small change to the blog as well. I want to post my reviews on my subscription boxes and occasional non-nail polish related review. Not to worry to nail polish fans as the main focus will still be nail polish. I just didn’t think it’d be necessary to make a completely new blog as these kinds of posts wouldn’t be frequent.
Just got my first Love With Food box in the mail yesterday and I’m excited to see what I got. Go figure I get the tracking code the same day I got my box, but oh well, not a huge deal. 🙂 I’ve heard good things about this company and after finding a coupon code to get my first box for free (just had to pay $2 for shipping), I decided to give it a shot. Regardless if I love this month’s box or not, it’s only $2, so it’s a win-win.
About Love With Food: Every month you’ll receive 8+ gourmet foods samples. Each box has a theme, usually relating to the current season. For each box bought, the company will donate a meal to a hungry child. You can earn points for reviewing products which can be used towards redeeming items in their shop.
Cost: $10/month + $2 shipping
- Exceptions are for the 6 month and yearly subscriptions, which are $1 or free respectively for shipping.
Is there a “skip” option?: No, you can only cancel.
This month’s theme is International Delights.
I noticed that there wasn’t an information card in this month’s box, which would have been nice to have since I ended up having to look up what some of the products were.
Update: They posted the info card on their Facebook page, so I’ve included the information in this post. As an apology for the printing error, everyone who got this month’s box will be getting 500 points added to their account by next week.
International Delights – This new year, resolve to taste daring new flavors from abroad! These global bites aim to inspire, no airfare required. Your 2013 is already off to a great start, since you helped donate a meal to a hungry child!
Here’s what I received in this month’s box:
Truly traditional Italian twice-baked cookies, perfect when dipped in your fave coffee drink.
|Sample received: $0.88||Full price: $5.75 for an 8oz. box [LINK]|
Comments: I had to look this up since I knew it was a biscotti, but had no idea of what flavor or the brand. At least with the shortbread cookies, there was a sticker from the company on it. According to their site, the Almond Anise flavor is apparently their most popular flavor, and the size I listed is sold out on their site, as of this review.
I also have no idea on the value of the sample I got since I have no idea how many biscotti come in an 8oz. box. Other than that, can’t say too much else since I haven’t tried it yet. I was going to try this after I finished the chai drink, but need to wait a little while since I didn’t feel that great after drinking it.
Update — Now that I got a chance to try it… First off, the star of this cookie is definitely the anise as it’s rather potent. If you don’t like anise, you may not like this because the anise flavor is much more prominent than the almond is. It’s to the point where it almost overwhelms it completely. It even leaves an aftertaste as well. I personally didn’t mind it, but keep that in mind. I wished the almond flavor was a little bit stronger, though its flavor is a little more potent towards the almond bits found within the biscotti.
I haven’t eaten that many biscottis since they aren’t cookies I usually come by. To me, this one seems to hit the mark of not being as hard as a rock or being bone dry, which I can’t say is the case for the other ones I’ve had. Like all biscottis, they’re double baked cookies, so they’re on the hard, crunchy side.
If you don’t like crunchy cookies, these might seem too dry for you. Otherwise, if you have no quips about anise or hard, crunchy cookies, I’d give them a try. I liked it enough that I would buy the full version of these if I got the chance. As for the price sample, I based it off the retail price I saw in Love With Food’s shop.
Freshly harvested plantains from Columbia make for a snack that has 30% less fat than potato chips.
|Sample received: $1.05||Full price: $6.32 for a 6 pack [LINK]|
Comments: According to their site, these chips have 30% less fat than their potato counterparts. They also don’t contain any trans fats, cholesterol, preservatives, additives as well as being gluten-free. Personally wasn’t thrilled to get these, but I like trying new things. If these taste anything like banana chips I’ve had, I’m going to hate them. Though, I’ll reserve judgement until after I’ve tried them.
Update — These taste nothing like plantains. Which, in my book, is pretty good since I don’t like actual plantains all that much… Then again, I’ve only had them raw and they tasted weird — like a banana, but not really. It’s basically the savory version of a banana.
I actually expected these to taste terrible and have that weird sweet and odd crunchy taste that banana chips have. However, I was proved wrong and was pleasantly surprised. It has a starchy taste, which reminds me of both potato and corn chips, like a combo of the two… only healthier. They’re thin, lightly salted, and crunchy, just like chips should be.
Since they’re less fatty than regular potato chips, it’s a great healthy option and I eat a lot more of them without feeling guilty afterward (not that ever happens… :P). Besides eating them on their own, they’re also great for dipping. Just like chips in general, because they’re salty, once you eat one… it’s hard to stop eating them.
I’d totally buy these or even make my own if I found a good recipe for them. Either way, definitely a great way to re-introduce a fruit I’ve almost never eaten (let alone really liking).
Let this rich Venezuelan chocolate melt on your tongue to experience the sensation of smoky chipotle mingling with popping candy.
|Sample received: $0.99||Full price: $23.95 for a 24 pack [LINK]|
|$6.00 for a 2.8oz. bar [LINK]|
Comments: It’s the only preview I saw on Love With Food’s Facebook page and is the item I wanted to try out the most, mainly because of the pop rocks. 😛 I love pop rocks! It’s also a bonus that it’s dark chocolate too, as I love that as well. According to their site, their chocolates are gluten-free, all natural, and don’t contain any of the following: hydrogenated fats, artificial preservatives, artificial colors & flavors, or artificial sweeteners.
Update — Saved the best for last! Well… the item I wanted to try the most. I admit I could have tried this first, but I wanted to be patient (not an easy thing to do :P). Regardless, it was definitely worth it. Love this! The chipotle gives the chocolate a slight kick, but it’s nothing too spicy.
Mixed with the chipotle is the popping candy popping in your mouth. The chipotle leaves a spicy aftertaste, which you’ll tongue will feel for a little while. The burning sensation is quite mild, even to someone who has a low spice tolerance such as myself. 🙂 I didn’t really taste the salt, which I actually forgot there was salt in it until I looked at the wrapper. XD Then again, salt in general is a flavor enhancer.
I’m not surprised that on Love With Food’s shop, it’s already sold out. Doesn’t bother me since I can always get it off the company’s site or in a specialty store. I definitely want to buy more of this, whether it’s the full size bar or the chocopods. I also wanna try some of the company’s other flavors too, like the potato chip and maple bacon ones. 😀
East meets West in this Indian-inspired blend of black tea and warm spices.
|Sample received: $1.25||Full price: $8.95 for 14oz. canister [LINK]|
|$36.00 for 4lb. bag [LINK]|
|$14.95 for 12 single packets [LINK]|
Comments: I admit that I hate chai flavored anything, but I’m generally willing to try most things again. According to their website, this flavor is their signature and award winning flavor. It contains a mixture of black tea and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and clove. A percentage of the profits from all sales of this product are donated to the International Fund for Animal Welfare. It’s also gluten-free, which doesn’t affect me at all, but it’s good for those who don’t/can’t eat gluten products.
I decided to mix it with whole milk, which I thought would have fuller flavor than just hot water. Not sure if the chai flavor would be stronger with water, but at least with whole milk, some of that chai flavor is mellowed out. I found that it dissolves quickly (even more so when it’s stirred throughly), given the water/milk is hot enough.
Make sure you mix it well since if you don’t, you may be overwhelmed by the chai flavor as you get towards the bottom. Though, I’ve found in any powdered mixes generally meant for hot drinks, there’s usually a little bit of semi-dissolved powder on the bottom.
While I don’t hate it, it’s definitely not something I’d want to buy the full size version as I know I’d get sick of it rather quickly. Quite honestly, I think I hit my chai limit for a while since a little after finishing it, I had a slight headache, which is probably the result of both chai and sugar. I also don’t think it’s the kind of drink you’d want to quickly drink since you can get overwhelmed by the flavor.
Crafted in the Belgian tradition, this blend of Fair-Trade cacao features bits of spiced cookies.
|Sample received: $0.29||Full price: $0.29 [LINK]|
|$6.75 for a 2.82oz. bar [LINK]|
Comments: According to the company’s site, this chocolate 66% cacao and contains flax seeds and biscuit bits. It’s also organic and Fair-Trade I was surprised that the sample was so tiny, but apparently they sell this exact sample on their site. It’s the second of the two dark chocolate samples that were included in this box and can’t wait to try them both.
Update — The flax seeds and cookie bits add a nice crunch factor to the chocolate. This one isn’t as creamy as the milk chocolate NewTree one, which is to be expected given the fact that there’s less milk in this chocolate. It also seems to melt slower in the mouth as a result.
As for taste, I liked it. The flax seeds in particular are something I’ve personally never seen in chocolate. Like the other NewTree sample, the added flavors are subtle and don’t overpower the chocolate itself. Although, the flavors in this one were a bit harder to notice, despite the added crunch. I’d totally consider buying this in the future. I like it enough that if I were to get it again, I’d get the full size bar.
Organic cacao from the Dominican Republic and Peru is kissed with a hint of cinnamon and lime blossom.
|Sample received: $0.29||Full price: $0.29 [LINK]|
|$6.75 for a 2.82oz. bar [LINK]|
Comments: Don’t like milk chocolate as much as dark, but despite the bias, as long as the chocolate isn’t overly sweet, I can tolerate it. As for this sample, like the dark chocolate sample, it’s tiny and it’s sold on the company’s site. According to the site, this chocolate contains 50% cacao, cinnamon flavor, and lime blossom extract. Sounds like an interesting combo.
Update — I wasn’t sure if cinnamon and lime combo would work, since it’s not exactly a combo I’ve ever thought of. The cinnamon and lime flavor are subtle and aren’t overpowering. It’s actually decent and not overly sweet like other milk chocolates I’ve had (and is pretty much why I prefer dark chocolate). I find that the cinnamon flavor is a little bit stronger than the lime blossom, but is still present. It’s decent chocolate as it tastes creamy in my mouth as it melts. I liked it, though not sure if I like it enough to purchase.
Straight from France, this convenient fruit pouch will be sure to delight your taste buds no matter the time or place!
|Sample received: $0.70||Full price: $2.83 for a 4 pack|
|$?? for a 12 pack|
Comments: I’ve tried the plain applesauce version at Costco, which tasted fine, but wasn’t anything special. It tastes like most applesauce I’ve tasted, except this one’s in a portable package for convenience. According to their site, this applesauce contains apples, strawberries, bananas, apple juice concentrate, and black currents. It’s also vegan, all natural, gluten-free, and Kosher.
Unlike some of the other flavors, this particular flavor is only available in packs of 4 or 12 on their site. If you get it elsewhere, you may be able to get larger packs. This flavor isn’t available on their website as of this review, but you should be able to find it in your local supermarket or on sites like Amazon. I based the 4 pack price on the 4 packs that they currently have in their online store.
Update — I’m not sure how I feel about this one. I didn’t love it or hate it. This left an odd aftertaste in my mouth afterwards, which I think is from the banana or the apple juice concentrate. I didn’t really taste strawberry. I think the combo of strawberries and currents makes it taste more like grapes. I wouldn’t buy this flavor if I were to buy these as the flavor combo wasn’t all that appealing. Sad, since I love strawberries. 😦
It has a smooth texture and I found it to be a little thinner than other store bought applesauces (can’t compare to homemade versions since I haven’t made it in years). Makes sense when you consider the packaging it comes in. The packaging concept isn’t new, since I’ve seen jelly juices and such before. However, it’s a great idea for little kids, no questions about it, but I don’t really see myself buying it. Maybe if I have kids, I might change my mind.
Stamped into Japanese flower shapes, enjoy Genmai Toasted Brown Rice, Matcha Green Tea, and Black Sesame cookies
|Sample received: $2.50-$3.80*
(see “Total Value”)
|Full price: $38 for 30 heart-shaped cookies [LINK]|
|$38 for 24 large cookies [LINK]|
|$50 for 60 mini cookies [LINK]|
- Genmai Toasted Brown Rice: Bits of brown rice can be seen throughout the cookie. Its flavor isn’t overpowering, but you can taste the rice flavor, especially when you bite into a grain. It seems to have a slight roasted, nutty flavor from the toasted rice. Of the three, this one has the strongest flavor.
- Black Sesame: This one has a slightly nut-like, mild flavor. The black sesame seeds give the cookie its gray-ish color. As I’ve eaten sesame products before, the taste was familiar to me, but to those who haven’t, you may not know that it’s sesame.
- Matcha Green Tea: Made with imported green tea from Osaka, Japan. Has hints of green tea, which also give the cookie its green hue. The flavor is subtle, but you can taste it.
Comments: These are gluten-free, as they’re made out of Cup4Cup flour, which is a gluten-free flour. I didn’t realize these were gluten-free when I first tried them, as I only found out when I looked them up. It’s great that they taste good since it can be difficult to find gluten-free foods that don’t taste like crap. I’ve noticed that with all three cookies, if you gobble them down quickly (which I was very tempted to do), you might not taste the different flavors of each cookie as the flavors aren’t strong.
I loved these overall, and I personally don’t mind that the flavors aren’t overly strong since if they were, I’m not sure if I’d like them as much. As these are shortbread cookies, they also have a buttery taste as well. These are pretty expensive cookies, but yummy. Despite that, I’m not sure if I’m willing to shell out the cash for it. It’s very likely I’d only buy this for a special occasional and not as a frequent purchase. If they had smaller packages available online, I’d be more likely to buy it, otherwise I have to make the trek to NYC to get them in person, which I can live with.
With the pricing of the sample received, I wasn’t exactly sure how to price it since I didn’t notice an exact larger version of this on the company’s site. If I went by the larger box, the overall cost/cookie would be less, so I went with the size in the middle.
- Box Score: 4/5
- Total Value: $8.60 (*I got two different prices for the shortbread cookies, so I took the average of the two total box values I got. Figured that be a fairer assessment.)
Final Thoughts: Out of all the items in this box, the plantain chips and Chuao Chocolatier chocolate were my favorites. Considering the box was free and I only had to pay the $2 for shipping, it was a great deal and was worth getting. Then again, it’s hard to go wrong when you pay almost nothing for it. Now, if I had paid full price, it wouldn’t be worth $10-$12 respectively (depending on their subscription), and I would have felt gypped.
I can understand why some people who paid full price would be upset since they’re not getting their money’s worth. The items themselves were good and I enjoyed trying them, but looking at reviews from some of the previous boxes on different blogs, this one seemed a little lacking. I think that’s partly because two of the items were tiny! :O
It’s definitely on the chopping block since I will be paying full price next month and don’t want to have too many subs at any one time. I might keep it for one more month, to see how it goes, but I still have a few weeks to think about it before I get billed for February’s box.