Tuesday, January 5, 2016

MARY's secret ingredients Winter Box (Review and #Giveaway) @msifoodiesbox

Yay!  Another surprise box from MARY's secret ingredients!  I received this box at no cost to me--and when you get to the end of this post, you'll have a chance to win one of your own!

I've written about the summer and fall boxes from MSI.  (Click through the links in the previous sentence to read the reviews.)  For now, here is the description of MARY's secret ingredients:
MARY's secret ingredients is a limited edition culinary surprise subscription box containing unique, gourmet products you've probably never heard of, along with a small kitchen tool, delivered right to your door. Every season, a limited number of curated boxes are filled with lovely surprises to inspire your cooking. Mary creates custom recipes using each product and emails them to you. We are in partnership with Feed The Children to end global hunger.
This is the Winter Box that I received ...

... and these are my own unboxing/sampling pics:

Inside the box

Cover of the booklet with product information

According to The Little Book of Ingredients, this Winter Herb Blend is a delicious mix of white peppercorns, thyme, oregano, savory, tarragon, sage, and a few other spices.  It can be used on chicken or veggies.  It's from RawSpiceBar, a subscription service which I've reviewed in the past.  I haven't tried this blend yet.

From Just Cook Foods comes this Herbed Coffee Rub.  The cute little tin (it's 3.2 ounces, not really that small) holds a blend of brown sugar, coffee, kosher salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, chipotle, thyme, sage, and molasses.  The mixture is light brown, and the aroma that stands out to me is cumin.  The label says it's good on pork, beef, and lamb.  I'm thinking I'll try it first on pork!

Laiki is a rice cracker with only three ingredients:  rice, oil, and salt.  They're naturally gluten-free, vegan, and allergen friendly.  Each package contains about 16 pieces (about one square inch each) and 100 calories.  My initial sensory response started at light-textured, then went to salty, crunchy, and finally oily.  I wasn't a fan when I first tasted them, but when I tried them again, I liked them more.  I can see these crackers being good for someone who's watching calories but looking for a snack that's crispy and slightly salty (80 mg per serving).  What I don't love is that the oil is (sustainably farmed) palm oil, which gives each serving 4.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of which is saturated.

This Pistachio Rawbar from Nutraw Snacks was gone so quickly that I didn't even get to take notes on what my family thought of it!  I do remember that it was quite sweet (presumably from the dates), and that I liked it more than my husband and son did.  According to the booklet, it's the first and only 100% raw pistachio bar, and it's made with just five organic raw ingredients:  pistachios, dates, almonds, coconut oil, and cardamom.  Similar to the rice crackers, it contains an oil that adds 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of which is saturated.


Okay, serious fun and yumminess here.  Michel et Augustin (two kooky cookies) at the Banana Farm make these Cookie Squares--"actually, rectangles ;)" as the package says.  The dark chocolate variety is a good crisp shortbread cookie filled with a fudgy dark chocolate center.  We liked the texture, though we found no noticeable salt grains from the "pinch of sea salt."  My husband thought that the chocolate flavor overpowered the cookie, while my son preferred this one and said he would purchase it.

The cookie with milk chocolate was also crisp, more of a graham cookie than a shortbread.  The filling is fudgy with a mild caramel flavor blended in.  In this one I could taste the little bit of sea salt.  This cookie was not what I'd expected, but I really like it!


Finally we come to the Rose of the Dolomites candies from Loacker.  These rose-shaped chocolates are filled with a light creamy hazelnut-studded filling.  We very much liked the filling, especially in combination with the thin, light, crisp wafer on the bottom.  Both white and dark chocolates are high quality.  The only drawback was that the dark chocolate kind of overpowered the subtler flavor of the filling.  We liked both flavors, but the combination was out of balance.

So no kitchen gadgets in the Winter Box, but six fun and delicious new food items!  Opening this surprise box is always a blast, and I get no complaints from my family when I ask them to try new foods and give their input!

So you remember I said that you'll have a chance to win a MARY's secret ingredients surprise box of your own, right?  It won't be the same box I received, because then it wouldn't be a surprise.  Instead, one reader will get the Spring Box, which begins shipping on March 26.
About MARY's secret ingredients:
This spring, MARY's secret ingredients is offering a great surprise collection of unique gourmet food products and kitchen tools you've never heard of that will inspire you to cook delicious meals. Need help with the recipes? Mary's special recipes using each product from the box are emailed to you after delivery.
Entering is super-easy.  Click through this link and fill out a very short form for MARY's secret ingredients.  They're taking entries through Friday January 15.  After that I'll draw a winner and MARY's will contact that lucky person to get shipping details.  Can it get easier than that?

Have fun and good luck!


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