Posts Tagged ‘Foodzie’

Yay!  The day that my Knoshbox arrives in my mailbox is one of the happiest mail days of them all!  I know that my posts about the Knoshbox arrival are always very excited and happy, but there’s a good reason for that.

???????????????????????????????You see, once upon a time, there was a company called Foodzie.  And I would get a box from them every month, in fact, that was my very first subscription box.  But then Foodzie got bought out by another company, and over the course of the last year or so, it would seem that the company that bought out Foodzie has been slowly phasing out the food offerings in their company and focusing more on fashion and makeup and fitness.

I used to miss Foodzie a lot, but, then I discovered Knoshbox.  And thanks to Knoshbox, I now barely think about Foodzie at all … and that’s because Knoshbox has managed to fill the void that was left by Foodzie’s departure.  I’m seldom disappointed by a box from Knoshbox, and the one time I foresaw that I wouldn’t really be in to a box (a coffee themed box), I was able to write to them and ask them to instead send me another of the box from the previous month.  Now, I’m not saying that they’ll do that every time, I just happened to get lucky.

And a note to Knoshbox, if you’re reading this … please … please do a Tea box.  You did a coffee themed box.  I want a tea time box.  I’ll even help you choose out teas for it if you want.  haha!

scan0001

This Month’s Product Card

The reason Knoshbox has managed to fill that void is because Knoshbox … quite simply … ROCKS!  Yeah, the box is a little higher in price than some other subscriptions, but, I think that it’s well worth it, because I get exposed to some products that I might not otherwise have been introduced to, and these are high quality, gourmet goodies!

Another great thing about Knoshbox is that there’s usually a theme to the box!  This month’s theme is Bourbon and Beer.  And I haven’t tried any of these products (BONUS POINTS FOR KNOSHBOX!)  Here’s what is in this month’s box:  Bourbon Wondermade Marshmallows, a “Brewer’s Bar” from Granola Lab, a bottle of Nobel Maple Syrup, A box of Alehouse Cheddar Crackers from Castleton, and finally, a pouch of “Old Salties” beer nuts from Ovenly.

I can’t wait to start tasting these yummy looking treats!

quinnpopcorn

Photo from Quinn Popcorn.
Click on the pic to go there.

Product Description:

Subtle, sweet, salty, and slightly addictive, our Vermont Maple & Sea Salt is a little like kettle corn excpet with the smooth sweetness of maple.

Like all of our popcorn, we never use GMO crops, coatings or chemicals on the bag, or any other scary stuff! This is truly microwave popcorn reinvented.

Learn more about Quinn Popcorn on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

I generally like iced tea with popcorn, because I like something I can drink easily (not so hot that I need to blow on it to cool the surface!) to help tone down the saltiness as it builds on my palate.  I wanted something crisp and clean, something that wouldn’t interfere with the yummy flavors of the popcorn.  I chose to chill some Dragon Well Tea from Foxfire Teas, and it was just perfect.  The tea was sweet and mild, slightly vegetative, and allowed the flavors of Maple from the popcorn to really shine through.  Yummy!

What I Think:

This review is LONG overdue.  I received this popcorn in my Earth Day Foodzie box (yes, that’s right, back in April), and I did eat one bag of the popcorn back in April.  It was so good, and impressed me so much, but the flavor was so distinctly autumnal, I decided to save the second bag of microwave popcorn for an evening later in the year, when the maple flavor would be something I really savored.

This popcorn reminds me a little bit of the original Orville Redenbacher’s flavored microwave popcorn varieties that were released a few decades ago … back when the cheese powder or the caramel were packaged separately from the popcorn, and you’d first pop the popcorn and then add the caramel or cheese powder.  Not in flavor or quality, mind you, because this is infinitely better than anything I’ve ever tasted from Orville Redenbacher’s, but because the flavoring comes in a separate pouch and you sprinkle it on yourself after the popcorn has been popped.

But that’s where the similarities end.  First of all, unlike the microwave popcorn that you buy in the grocery store, this is not all caked onto the center portion of the bag, because there is no oil or whatever that congealed gunk is in the microwave popcorn bag.  The popcorn in this compostable, chemical-free bag is loose, freely roaming in the popcorn bag, not stuck together in some weird goop.

After the popcorn has been popped, you open the bag, and pour in the package of canola oil.  According to this, the oil used is supposed to be good for you, or at least better for you than aforementioned caked gunk that is in the other microwave popcorn bags, and I’m inclined to believe it.  I don’t know why I believe it, I just do.  congealed goop versus clear, pourable, expeller pressed canola oil.

This canola oil doesn’t really impart a lot of flavor, but it does keep the powdered flavor of maple sugar and grey sea salt on the popped corn kernels.  I like that these flavor pouches come separately, and I can choose how much of each ingredient I want in my popcorn.  I used half the pouch of the oil, and I still very much enjoyed the popcorn.  This did result in some of the maple and salt ending up loose, in the bottom of my bowl rather than stuck to popcorn, but I didn’t really seem to mind as the bowl of popcorn vanished in record time.

The popcorn – underneath the flavored sugar and salt, underneath the canola oil – is the key to what makes this popcorn so much better than any popcorn that had been popped in a microwave.  It is light and fluffy.  Tender yet crispy.  The hulls are thinner and not as hard as some other microwave popcorn.  Even without the flavoring, this is easily the best microwave popcorn I’ve ever had.

But the flavoring!  Oh wow!  Maple sugar and grey sea salt.  Do I need to say more?   This is the best kettle corn ever!  This flavor of popcorn could easily be a vegetarian’s substitute for bacon.  All that’s missing is a little bit of smoke, which could easily be supplied by tea if you choose a Lapsang Souchong like the one I mentioned above.

My Final Thoughts:

I requested an air popper for Christmas, because I do prefer air popped popcorn.  I like the option to serve popcorn without any additives (although occasionally, I’m sure I’m going to melt some butter and have a little sea salt on it), but, for the times when I want flavored popcorn, I’m probably going to order some Quinn’s Popcorn online.  I want to try the other flavors too!   This stuff is outstanding!  My one complaint:  I wish there were fewer unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bowl.  Other than that, this popcorn is without fault!

picture from BigSpoon Jam. Click on the pic to go there!

I received a jar of this jam in my Seattle tasting box from Foodzie, but I’m just getting around to reviewing it now… yes, I’m behind on my reviews.  Sorry!

Product Description:

Local berries star in this perfectly sweet preserve. Super for yogurt, swirl into oatmeal or warm and pour over ice cream. The daring may try muddling or shaking into a mixed drink.

Learn more about BigSpoon Jam on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

Since I typically enjoy jam on toast and when I eat toast, it’s usually breakfast time, it seemed only natural to choose a breakfast-y blend to enjoy with this jam.   This Capital Breakfast blend from Capital Teas is one of the best I’ve tried recently!  It has a very rich flavor with a hint of smokiness that really accentuates the unique flavors within this jam very well.

What I Think:

For the purposes of this review, I sampled this jam on toasted 8 grain bread as well as right off the spoon (it is called “BigSpoon Jam, after all!)

When I first opened this jar, I thought something might be wrong.  This did not look like jam to me.  It looked more like strawberry sauce, like the topping my gramma would make for strawberry shortcake or to ladle on top of morning waffles.

The strawberries are HUGE in this jam, and the rest of the jam is really quite runny, like sauce.  It cannot be spread, like most jams or jellies, because there are the large, whole berries that have been rendered quite soft from the cooking process, and then there is the liquid, which when spooned over the toast, just sort of absorbs into the toast and does not allow itself to be spread.

But that does not mean that it isn’t absolutely delicious – because it is!  The berries are BURSTING with fresh taste, they taste like they are fully-ripened on the vine and full of that delicious strawberry flavor which is accentuated with a touch of vanilla to give it more sweetness and a hint of creaminess too.  The lemon is very slight, just enough to give it an acidic brightness.

Even though this is a very runny jam, it really is delicious and very well balanced.  I would not recommend it for your toast, but instead, do as suggested in the product description (above):  add it to your hot cereal, or perhaps top your ice cream or yogurt with it.

My Final Thoughts:

This is delicious, but it is probably not something I’d buy for myself because it is a bit pricy and as a hot cereal/ice cream/yogurt topper, when used liberally, there would be about four uses in the jar.  That’s a pretty expensive ice cream topper.  Yummy … but there are a lot of other delicious jams out there that are prices a bit more reasonably and this just wouldn’t be worth it to me.   All that said, this addition to the Seattle tasting box certainly did increase the value of the last box I received from Foodzie – and that makes me happy!

Hooray … it’s another month, and that means a new month for Knoshbox!   To think … a couple of months I was so sad about Foodzie merging with Joyus and now I’m overJoyus to have found both Knoshbox AND Petit Amuse.  (Don’t you love the punny double meaning there?)

Anyway… this month’s Knoshbox theme is “Wine Trail Box” and while this isn’t really a theme that excites me a whole lot… the contents of the box DO excite me and I can simply replace the “Wine” with “Tea” and just as easily call this a Tea Trail Box… because these will make wonderfully tasty tea time treats!

Tucked inside this month’s box was a package of Castleton Crackers, Rosemary and Olive Oil Chips from Deep River Snacks, A Chorizo Rioja sausage from Olympic Provisions, a cinnamon-clove Simple Square bar, and a chocolate bar from Madecasse Chocolate.  (Um… why yes, I did say CHOCOLATE!)

Also included with the box was a theme card that told a little bit about each of the snacks as well as offered a wine suggestion for each snack.  And while this is a very intriguing group of snacks that would go nicely with wine… as a tea drinker, I look forward to finding just the right tea pairing with each of these.

Also on the back of the theme card was another hand written note.  I’ve got to tell you, it’s little touches like these that makes me miss Foodzie less and less … and I look forward to what the coming months might bring with Knoshbox!

This is the long overdue review of the Chile de Arbol spice that was featured in the “Some Like it Hot” tasting box from Foodzie (sigh, how I miss the old Foodzie … before all the changes when it was more like Etsy for food artisans).  This isn’t my first time trying the spice, but it’s the first time I’ve taken the time to sit down and compose my thoughts on this rather heated product!  Err… well, what I mean is, this spice has got some HEAT! 

Product Description:

Closely related to the cayenne chilies, it has a tonic, smoky, and grass flavor with acidic heat. The heat level is 7 and the Scoville Heat Unit is 15,000-30,000. This chili powder can be used in soups, stews, and sauces.

Learn more about Whole Spice on their website.

Photo from Whole Spice. Click on the pic to go there.

Taster’s Review:

For the purposes of this review, I sprinkled the Chile de Arbol powder over a couple of fried eggs.  Not a heavy sprinkling, because as I’ve learned from previous tastings of this spice that this does not require a heavy hand to taste it!

The amount of heat that this gives off reminds me of cayenne pepper.  But it also has a smokiness to it that almost reminds me of chipotle.  There’s even a hint of earthiness to this.  If one were to somehow “marry” the flavor of the chipotle and the heat of the cayenne, they’d have something a bit like this ground Chile de Arbol.  And I’m liking that!

I love the dimension of flavor that comes with this Chile de Arbol.  Sure, it’s got some heat, but as long as I don’t go overboard when I sprinkle it on something, it adds just the right amount of kick to my fried eggs, and I’m thinking that I may just have to try adding this to my taco meat the next time I make tacos, and to my chili the next time I make that.  This may even add a compelling dimension to a cup of hot cocoa the next time I’m in the mood for something creamy, rich and with a little bit of bite to it.

My Final Thoughts:

This has a nice amount of heat as long as it’s used with a careful hand, and it adds more than just heat to the dish.  It has a pleasant earthiness to it, and an enjoyable smoky tone that is somewhat reminiscent of the chipotle (just hotter!)  This is something I can see myself keeping in my spice pantry for when I make chili (I’ll be making lots of it in the cooler months ahead) – in fact, I think that this may be replacing the cayenne pepper that I normally keep for when I make chili.  This has about the same heat but will add some other desirable flavor to my pot of chili!

Picture from Chukar Cherries. Click on the pic to go there.

Product Description:

Sweet Bing and Rainier cherries alongside Montmorency Tarts. Ideal if you want to try all three varieties of our Northwest cherries and don’t know which one to choose.

Learn more about Chukar Cherries on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

These cherries make a wonderful alternative to the typical tea-time treat!   I like these with iced tea too, but, I think I like them best with some hot tea – and I found these cherries to be especially delicious with this Laoshan Apothecary Green Tea from Verdant Tea.  The tea is so pleasantly balanced  with a gentle warmth of the spices in this blend, as well as the exhilarating taste of the mint really brought out the flavor of the cherries in a very interesting way.  Even the creamy, buttery elements of the tea enhanced the flavor of the cherries.  The cherries became sweeter, while the tart elements also emerged.  I could even note some savory elements to the cherries that I had not previously tasted.

What I Think:

These cherries are remarkable.  The first thing I noticed about them is the size of them.  I’ve had dried cherries before (I try to keep dried fruits in the pantry, as I like to add a handful of them to my hot cereals when I make them, and they make an excellent snack that is a bit healthier than my usual sweet go-to snacks, and they taste great!), but these seem so much larger and plumper than the ones I usually get from the supermarket.  I also like that they don’t feel as sticky as the other cherries I’ve had before.  There is a slight stickiness to them (I think this is normal with dry fruit, although I don’t consider myself an expert), but, they don’t feel super sticky or oily.

Another thing that I’ve noticed as I pour these out into my hand is that they aren’t all clumped together – they aren’t stuck together.  I have a slight aversion to stuck together dried fruit … and there’s a reason behind it, and it’s one I don’t like to discuss because it grosses me out.  It is the reason that I pretty much refuse to buy raisins anymore, and whenever I encounter a recipe that calls for raisins, I substitute dried cranberries.  And really, this is a very disturbing subject for me, especially when I’m eating, so I’m going to stop talking about that, and move on to these cherries!

I’m really enjoying these … they make a fabulous snack.  I like that there are a couple of sweet varieties along with one tart variety of cherry, so that you get a nice “medley” of flavors as you eat.  They’re bursting with flavor!  They have a very satisfying, chewy texture, and a handful or two is enough to satiate the hunger pangs that hit in between meals.  Sweet, with a delicious “juiciness” that makes my mouth water, and just enough tartness to keep it interesting.

My Final Thoughts:

I really like these.  I love that it is a medley of cherries, and not focusing on just one – I think that this provides a more satisfactory taste because it appeals to both the sweet and the tart.  For an even more satisfying snack, I like them served alongside something a little bit salty, like peanuts or cashews.  I also LOVE that this is a local company (well, somewhat local … Seattle.  The other side of the state, but, still, within the state!)  This is a brand that I will keep an eye out for when I visit Whole Foods or New Seasons next time, because I’ll be wanting more of this when it’s gone!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really missing the tasting box from Foodzie.  Now, I’ve found one replacement – Petit Amuse – and I’ve really been enjoying that box.  But I’ve also recently stumbled upon another new tasting box alternative for those who, like me, are mourning the loss of the Foodzie tasting box (although, I must admit that the Coconut Box on Joyus does have me intrigued!  Don’t be surprised if you see me gushing about it soon … I might end up breaking down and getting one of them!) 

And the name of this new, exciting tasting box?  Knoshbox!

On the outside, this looks a lot like the Foodzie box:  about the same size and shape (I think that this one might be a bit larger than the “regular” size of the Foodzie box, but, smaller than the large Foodzie box) but instead of Foodzie, this one says – appropriately enough – Knoshbox.  On the inside, it looks quite the same too:  five products tucked inside a brightly colored tissue paper, along with a product card and just for fun, a strip of tickets like you might get during a visit to the fair.

Tickets?  Why, you might ask?  Well, because this month’s theme is “Country Summer Fair” … yep, these boxes even have themes, just like the Foodzie boxes!  These tickets are just for decoration purposes, but they add a bit of fun and whimsy to the box, and I applaud the makers of Knoshbox for this little detail.

Another detail not to be overlooked here is that on the back of this month’s product card was a personal, hand-written note, thanking me!  I love it when a company takes the time to add something personal like this – it makes me feel like I’m getting a gift from a friend rather than something that was put together on an assembly line.

In this “Country Summer Fair” box, I received a bag of Maple Kettle Korn from Bureau’s Sugarhouse (My daughter and I have already eaten this – yummy!), a pouch of Organic Cotton Candy from Bernod’s Spun City (I’ve already sampled and reviewed this product, you can read it here, but I am really looking forward to enjoying it again), A package of Belgian Pearl Sugar Waffles from Unique Belgique, Organic Cherry Preserves from Middleton Organics (which I’m happy to say is from Eltopia right here in Washington state!) and a package of Goat Milk Caramels from Big Picture Farm.   All of these products are available (for a limited time, I believe) on the Knoshbox website in their market.

As I’ve mentioned before, I really couldn’t wait to start diving in to this box… my daughter and I have already finished the Kettle Korn!  Yum!  Watch for the review of it which will publish tomorrow.  The other products I will review later, except the cotton candy, which I’ve already reviewed.

I am so happy with this month’s Knoshbox!