Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

gingerbreadspice

Photo from Knoshy.
Click on the pic to go there.

Product Information:

This organic, fair trade chocolate is crafted by Theo Chocolate in Seattle, Washington. Gingerbread spices are mixed with creamy milk chocolate that’s sweet, spicy and warming! Makes a perfect fireside treat to enjoy with a mug of hot cocoa. Limited seasonal release.

I received this chocolate bar in my December box from Knoshy!

Tea Suggestion:

Because I’m loving the notes of spice in this chocolate bar, especially the nutmeg, I decided to brew a cup of this Nutmeg Cream Tea from Butiki Teas!  I love the way the creamy notes of the tea marry with the creamy taste of the chocolate on my palate, and the the spice notes of the tea were in perfect harmony with the zesty spices of the confection.  Delicious!

What I Think:

Chocolate!

This is the first of two chocolate bars that I received in December’s box from Knoshy.  And I’m loving it.

There is a good amount of spice to this candy bar.  It’s a really delightful balance between rich, creamy milk chocolate and warm spices, and I like that they aren’t competing with one another.

When I shop for chocolate, I generally select a darker chocolate, but, I really like milk chocolate too, and I think that milk chocolate is the right choice for these particular flavors because it makes it taste almost like a chocolate “chai” but without the tea.  (Don’t worry, that can be easily remedied by simply enjoying the chocolate bar alongside a cup of hot tea!)

In fact, the spices here are very chai-like.  It’s got ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg, as well as vanilla.  Most of these (and often all of these) are found in a masala chai.

My Final Thoughts:

I love this chocolate bar.  I am so glad that Knoshy included it in this month’s box.  It is rich, spicy, and chocolate-y … and absolutely delicious.

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!

Product Description:

Classic rich caramel with a bit of French Sea Salt to open the taste buds.

Learn more about Jonboy on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

I actually enjoyed these caramels on two separate occasions.  The first time, I had a glass of iced tea at my side, and I really loved this RadioactiTEA Iced Tea from 52Teas with these.  One of the best “pure” iced teas I’ve had in a very long time, and the sweet flavors of the Assam complimented the flavor of the caramel quite well.  Based upon that experience, I decided to try another Assam with this tea – this time, I served it hot.  This 2nd Flush Assam from Tea Horse went along with the caramel tones very nicely too.  These caramels make a really decadent tea-time treat!

What I Think:

When I saw that Fleur de Sel Caramels were going to be included with the Seattle Box (my last box from Foodzie!), it was probably the main selling point for the box and what led me to ultimately decide to choose the Seattle Box over the other selections.  I mean, why go healthy with the raw food when I can have salted caramels, right?  I mean, if I’m in a sample line at Costco (just using Costco as an example, since that is typically where I find many sample tables!) and I have to choose between a sweet, creamy salted caramel and a raw granola health food concoction, I’m going to choose the salted caramel every single time.  Sure, I enjoy a good granola bar, and I’ve reviewed a few here on this blog… but, when it comes to my taste buds preference, well, I’d say they’re more sweet toothed than health foodie.

I know I’ve mentioned before my adoration for salted caramels … and while I didn’t know which company was going to be supplying the Fleur de Sel Caramels.  There was part of me that was sort of wishing for Fran’s Chocolates, because, well, they hold a special place in my heart as I’ve mentioned before.  But even if it wasn’t Fran’s Chocolates – and it wasn’t! – I was still excited over the opportunity to try a new candy company, and, well, caramel generally just makes me happy.

And these salted caramels are making me very happy!  They are soft and chewy and absolutely yummy.  These aren’t the hard-to-chew kind of caramels that seem to require a good amount of effort on the part of the jaw to break down … these are so soft that the teeth sink right into them.  I can feel the Fleur de Sel in these, it isn’t a hard crunch but there is a slight texture from them.  The salt is mostly noticeable in the taste though, and there’s no mistaking it.  I love the sharp contrast between the creamy, sweet caramel flavor and the salt.  The salt cuts right through it, eliminating that cloying sensation that I’d probably experience with unsalted caramels.

My Final Thoughts:

Completely and utterly yummy.  I really loved these caramels.  Maybe not quite as fancy as Fran’s Chocolate salted caramels, but for simple, pure salted caramel enjoyment, it doesn’t get any better than this.  My only complaint is that I wanted more.  The package in the box was not one of those boxes in the photo at the top… it was a smaller package – not quite a sampler with only two or three caramels, but, not quite a box either.  I don’t know exactly how many were in the package because I tore into it and started eating before it occurred to me that I should count them.

Product Description:

Golden with a delicious baked cheese flavor, these crackers make for the ideal treat with our signature Flagship cheese melted right in!

Learn more about Beecher’s on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

Crackers are a favorite tea time snack of mine, preferably with cheese … and these have the cheese baked right in.  I enjoyed these with a cup of Good Afternoon Tea from Grey’s Tea.  The smokiness of the tea lent itself very well to the delicious cheesiness of these crackers (and I do love a good smoky cheese!)  A very yummy pairing!

What I Think:

These crackers kind of threw me off at first… the texture kind of threw me off.  I thought that maybe they were stale because they didn’t have that light and crisp kind of texture that you get from other (commercial-type) cheese crackers.  These are denser and crunchy … but it took eating a couple of crackers to realize that they aren’t actually stale, they’re just not your typical cheese cracker.

And it’s not just the texture that’s different… it’s the cheese too.  I can really taste the cheese!   And it doesn’t taste like some artificial cheese.  This tastes like cheese that you might taste at the cheese bar in Whole Foods.  I can taste the quality in this cheese.  It tastes rich and sharp and delicious.  The cracker is lightly salty, and has a pleasing tangy cheese note.  Easily, the best cheese cracker I’ve ever tasted.

My Final Thoughts:

Overall the crackers are really outstanding … even if they do throw you for a loop at first!  They are deliciously crunchy and satisfying, with a distinct cheesy taste and a hint of saltiness.  They are wonderfully savory, something that I definitely will be buying again at my local Whole Foods (I was so excited to find them there the last time I was shopping, but I didn’t buy them because I knew I was getting some in this box).

Product Description:

Partially popped. And fully delicious. Savor the crunchy heart of air-popped kernels. Revel in flavor that’s positively packed in – not lost in the fluff of ordinary popcorn.

Learn more about Halfpops on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

With these buttery, salty snacks I recommend iced tea!  These would be great with hot tea as well, but they have that snack-y kind of appeal that just screams iced tea to me.  Today I’m sipping on some cold-brewed tea from 52Teas newest brand:  Southern Boy Teas, and I’m drinking the RadioactiviTea “flavor” – which isn’t really a flavor at all, but pure, CTC Assam teas.  The natural fruity notes provide a lovely sweetness which is a very enjoyable contrast to the salty, buttery goodness of these Halfpops.

What I Think:

The half popped kernels have always been a “secret” pleasure of mine, I would always dig for them at the bottom of the bowl… but I didn’t realize that other people loved them as much as I did … enough to create a whole new snack around them!

These kind of taste a bit like Corn Nuts, only they’re better, because they don’t taste overly processed.  The Corn Nuts, while enjoyable because they’re crunchy and have a tasty corn flavor, have always tasted just a bit artificial to me … very junk food/corn chip like to me.  But these taste more like popcorn.  Oh sure, I’m sure they still qualify as “junk food” with all the salt and buttery flavoring, but they don’t taste overly processed.  They have that natural crunch and sweet corn taste of real popcorn, because that’s what it is.  These aren’t uniformly shaped and processed.  They look like what’s at the bottom of the popcorn bowl, only… there’s more of them!

I was kind of hoping for the cheese flavored Halfpops to be in the box, mostly because I figured it’d be something different from what IS at the bottom of my popcorn bowl, but, it only took one taste of these buttery, yummy, salted Halfpops to not feel like I’m missing out on the cheese flavor.  These are really awesome.   Lots of buttery goodness and just enough salt… just the way I like my popcorn.  (Although recently, I’ve taken to adding a sprinkling of Bourbon Smoked Paprika on top of my popcorn!)

Hey, Halfpops, if you’re reading this, you should team up with Bourbon Barrel Foods and make a Bourbon Smoked Paprika flavored Halfpops.  Or… a Bacon flavored Halfpops would be good too.

My Final Thoughts:

I really like these.  I was kind of underwhelmed with the idea of them being in the box at first, but, I’m glad that Foodzie included them.  They are sure to satisfy that crunchy snack craving when you get them:  they are a little sweet from the corn and the butter, salty, and irresistibly good.   My only real complaint is that there are a lot of “empty” shells in the package – the hulls that have shed off of the Halfpops.  A minor irritation, really, not a big deal, but something I think is worth mentioning.  I see that these are available at my local Whole Foods, I think I’ll have to look for them the next time I’m shopping!

 

The arrival of this month’s Foodzie Box was bittersweet for me.  Of course, I was excited to try all the goodies inside, but, I am also sad that this is to be the last Foodzie tasting box.  From what I’ve been lead to understand, the boxes will still be available as a one-off option on Joyus.  However, Foodzie as I’ve come to know it – delivering me unique, delicious goodies once a month – is gone.  No more subscriptions.  

And I don’t really think this is a change for the better, at least, not as far as the customers are concerned.  I do hope that Emily and Rob (they brought us Foodzie) did make out well with the acquisition, because at least someone got something good out of it.  But from this customers perspective – no, it’s not a good change.  Higher prices on the possibility of a one-0ff option.  No go for me.  The additional $10 price hike at the end of last year was as far as I was willing to push the proverbial envelope.  I am not willing to pay $39 for a box.  Just not going to do it.

This month, we were sent the email that allows us to choose our box, and our choices were:  Grilled Pizza Box, Raw Food Box and Seattle Box (which was their signature box).  To be honest, I wasn’t all that thrilled with any of these selections.

I mean, really, I don’t grill pizza … I mean, it sounds interesting and something I might want to learn more about, but, I didn’t feel comfortable enough with my grilling abilities to go ahead and get the box, you know?  The Raw Food box interested me somewhat, but, I didn’t know if I was interested enough in it to receive a whole box.  And the Seattle Box… ok, so I live here in the Pacific Northwest and Seattle is on the other end of the state from me, but, even this box I found a little disappointing because how could Foodzie do a Seattle box and not include something from Skillet (the company that brought us Bacon Jam).  And… how could they talk about Pike’s Place and not include something from MarketSpice?  (Preferably their MarketSpice Signature Tea!)  OK, so maybe that’s just the tea lover in me talking.  But, if they’re going to do a Seattle Box, you’d think that if they’re not going to include a tea then at least a coffee!  This is the Pacific Northwest!  We’re known for our hot beverages here.

And if they had included the coffee, it would have made my choice a lot easier, I must say, because I would have chosen the Raw Food box.  (I drink tea not coffee)  My point is that it almost feels like this box was “phoned in.”  You know?  None of these boxes seem as inspired as some of the boxes of the past.  Perhaps that will make it easier for me to say goodbye.

Anyway… that’s my rant about the box.  Let’s talk about goodies that were included.  In this box, there was a jar of Strawberry, Vanilla Bean and Lemon Jam from BigSpoonJam, a pouch of dried cherries (the Cherry Medley) from Chukar Cherries, a small package of Fluer de Sel Caramels from Jonboy, a bag of Flagship Cheese Crackers from Beecher’s, and a 2 oz. package of Butter & Sea Salt Halfpops.  Everything sounds yummy, sure.  Maybe I’m just feeling a little sad that this is my last box and it seemed very anti-climatic.

Also included in the box was the theme card, which explained Emily & Rob’s inspiration behind this box:

Seattle has a significant place in our hearts.  An easy flight from San Francisco, we love going up there for the dramatic skies, incredibly fresh seafood and of course strolling through the iconic Pike Place Market, one of the great food meccas of the world.  Plus it was Seattle that we first discovered one of Foodzie’s longtime bestsellers, Skillet Street Food’s bacon jam.  Along with Pike Place, markets like Ballard and Melrose are bubbling up all kinds of new foodmakers, and we’ve culled a few new faves, like buttery-salty caramels, cheesy crackers, and strawberry preserves that taste like a spoonful of summer.  If you can’t make a trip to the Pacific Northwest, this box brings a taste of Seatown to you.  ~Emily & Rob

I DO look forward to trying these, and there is more to look forward to, as well.  As some of you may have read, I discovered Petit Amuse (or should I say they discovered me?) and I do look forward to trying the goodies they deliver every month!  They will definitely help me get over the loss of Foodzie.

Ah… Foodzie, I will miss you.