Tasting Box – August 2014

Like usual, I got my Tasting Box a couple days after I ordered it. And, of course, it takes me over a week to get this review out!

Here’s the August Tasting Box! This month, they put in a whopping 7 products!

What is it?

Tasting is believing! The TASTING BOX includes 5 scrumptious tastes to enjoy, made by our favourite Canadian small batch food artisans and delivered directly to your door – a different box each month.  The TASTING BOX is the perfect opportunity to discover and sample the culinary talents right in our own backyard! Only 50 TASTING BOXES are available each month, so order yours today!

It’s $14.95 + shipping for a box, so people in Ontario and Quebec get it for around $22 or so after tax.

Tasting Box August 2014

Made with Local’s Peanut Butter Blondie (Dartmouth, NS) – $22 for 8 bars, $2.75 per bar

Omgosh, peanut butter blondies! It’s definitely not a health product or an energy bar of any sort, but I’m actually pretty excited to see a fully packaged bar that’s just for indulgence. Not to mention, it’s made out of oats, peanut butter and chocolate! (I LOVE PEANUT BUTTER.)

I love seeing new products coming out from the Maritimes, especially products made with local ingredients!

Stone Milled Specialty Grains’ Buckshots Snack Pack (Oak Bluff, MB) – $35 for case of 25, $1.60 each

I’m actually not too sure how to eat this since the buckshots are tiny little pellets of grains. It says I can snack on it directly, but it feels really awkward trying to eat a handful of this at a time since they’re so small!

It says that you can put it in your cereal, so I might just use this in a couple bowls of oatmeal in the next couple mornings. It should be interesting to see what Smokey BBQ breakfast oatmeal will taste like!

Wholly Noggin Bars in Walnut Blueberry (West Vancouver, BC) – $41.98 for case of 12 bars, $3.50 each

This bar is made out of all organic and natural ingredients, so it’s actually incredibly dense and kind of crumbly. Just a bite of this bar contains so much energy and chewy goodness, but I still think it’s too hard!

It has a very distinct nutty scent and flavour, along with some notes of banana that I really didn’t like. It’s not that good tasting, in my opinion, but it might be good for vegans or those on the Paleo diet.

Tasting Box August 2014

Ohmbars’ Lemon Cranberry Poppy Energy Bars (Ottawa, ON) – $33.48 for 12 bars, $2.79 per bar

I got a bit hungry right after I took these pictures but I still had dinner to eat, so I quickly grabbed this bar to munch on first.

See, I totally didn’t notice that the Ohmbars are primarily made out of date paste or else I would’ve given this to my best friend since she LOVES dates! I’m not a huge fan, but I actually quite liked this one. It wasn’t crazy dense like a lot of other date bars, but it still got pretty stuck in my teeth after I finished it.

The sweetness was at a good level, and both lemon and cranberry flavours were pretty balanced out with each other!

(PS – Very punny name. Love it!)

inner-J Bars’ Lemon Goji Berry Coconut Bars (Toronto, ON) – $11.99 for 3 bars, $41.99 for 12 bars

I think Tasting Box sent out a couple samples from J-Bars before and it looks like they’ve gone through a major packaging overhaul! It looks a lot better than the clear plastic resealable bags that they were using before.

Tasting Box August 2014

GORP Clean Energy Bar in Cocoa, Hemp & Almond (Niverville, MB) – $49.70 for 16 bars, $3.10 per bar

This bar has a really neat marketing spin since the GORP part of the label is actually a sticker that you can use to reseal the packet!

It’s really delicious with the bitter cocoa balancing out the sweetness from the rice syrup and the chocolate chips, but I think 65g is a bit big for a bar! Although I think the sticker is to help you save some for later.

SIPsoda EAST’s Natural Craft Soda in Lavender Lemon Peel (Vaughn, ON) – $40 for 24 bottles, $1.67 per bottle

I wasn’t too sure what to expect out of a lavender lemon peel drink, but I’m actually quite enjoying it! The bubbles aren’t too aggressive and the sweetness level is just right as a flavoured soda. The lavender notes aren’t too strong, but it definitely has a faint sense of drinking potpourri.

Verdict: 4/5 There wasn’t a lot of variety in the box with so many energy bars, but I really enjoyed how most of them tasted! I’ve also been eyeing the SIPsoda for a while, but it costs too much to get them shipped from BC, so I was very happy to get a bottle in my box!

Did you get the August Tasting Box? What did you think about it?

xoxo,

B.elle

Tasting Box – July 2014

It’s been a while since I ordered a Tasting Box by FoodiePages, but here’s July’s!

Tasting Box July 2014

What is it?

Tasting is believing! The TASTING BOX includes 5 scrumptious tastes to enjoy, made by our favourite Canadian small batch food artisans and delivered directly to your door – a different box each month.  The TASTING BOX is the perfect opportunity to discover and sample the culinary talents right in our own backyard! Only 50 TASTING BOXES are available each month, so order yours today!

It’s $14.95 + shipping for a box, so people in Ontario and Quebec get it for around $22 or so after tax.

This month, there were 5 items in the box and they all look really good!

Tasting Box July 2014All Mine Caramel’s Cayenne Caramel Corn (Toronto, ON) – 150g, unknown price

These are small-batch popcorn using organic, non-GMO Ontario popping corn covered in handmade caramel with a hint of cayenne pepper. I’m really loving caramel corn made in smaller scales because they taste just so much better than the conventional carnival-types from a box, so I’m not complaining that I got more this box!

These ones from All Mine Caramel are really nice, but I couldn’t really taste the cayenne until maybe the 5th bite. Aside from that, the caramel is gorgeously seasoned, covers every popcorn evenly and the popcorn is still so fresh and crunchy!

Tasting Box July 2014

Chinook Condiments’ Spicy Chipotle Gourmet Sauce (St. Albert, AB) – $7.99 for 350mL, Full Size

I haven’t opened up this bottle yet because I still have about 3 other jars of BBQ sauce and hot sauce to go through.

They market their sauces for being “safe for gringos,” which means that they’re keeping the heat level lower and jacking up the other flavours to appeal to a wider audience. I’m a person who actually really likes spicy food but really flavourful food at the same time, so I’m looking forward to try this soon!

Tasting Box July 2014

The Sweet Escape Patisserie’s Earl Grey Shortbread (Toronto, ON)

For some reason, this Tasting Box is featuring businesses that don’t have price listings on their website and they’re not featured at all on the FoodiePages marketplace… Weird.

Anyway, this packet comes with 8 Earl Grey shortbread cookies with real butter and organic tea leaves.

Tasting Box July 2014

They’re actually a bit gray from the tea! It’s great to see that they use real ingredients and no additional colouring, but I have to admit that it’s a little off-putting. It’ll be pretty good to eat a couple of these with a nice latte, though.

Tasting Box July 2014

Mary Macleod’s Shortbread’s Chocolate Crunch (Toronto, ON) – $11.25 for 4 ($5.63 for 2)

These were the first things that were gone after I took that picture!

Made with just wheat and rice flour, butter, sugar, milk chocolate and icing sugar, these cookies are so buttery and perfect. The rice flour gives it a nice little gritty bite that breaks up the shortbread cleanly when it’s bitten. It ONLY has 100 calories and 6 grams of fat in each cookie, though!

Luckily, it’s most definitely an occasional thing and they’re located just on Queen Street East! Very easily accessible for me.

Tasting Box July 2014

Ferme Guy Rivest’s Cranberry and Strawberry Jam (Rawdon, QC) – $3.99 for 140mL

It’s always nice to see a repeat brand in a Tasting Box! I did really like the wine jam that they sent out earlier this year, but I ended up only using it about twice a week because the wine flavour was a bit much for me. I wasn’t brought up with wine as a big component in my life, so it’s not a flavour that I’m used to all the time.

I was going to try some this morning, but I actually completely forgot to have breakfast! (It’s so bad of me, I know!) But, if it’s anything like the other jam, I’m going to enjoy it. I may actually use a dab of it in a sauce for some duck!

Verdict: 3.75/5 I do love my caramel popcorn and all the cookies in the box, but it almost feels like a repeat box because of all the similar products in it. Of course, they outline who and what’s in each month’s box, so I can always pass it over if I don’t want it. Overall, I’m very pleased with the high quality of the products, but I’m going to be looking at their list more carefully from now on!

Did you pick up a July Tasting Box? What did you think of it?

xoxo,

B.elle

Tasting Box – April 2014

This post is so late! Gah!

Here’s most of the April Tasting Box!

Tasting Box April 2014

Yeah, I kinda already had the pasta sauce and, no, I’m not sorry I finished it already.

What is it?

Tasting is believing! The TASTING BOX includes 5 scrumptious tastes to enjoy, made by our favourite Canadian small batch food artisans and delivered directly to your door – a different box each month.  The TASTING BOX is the perfect opportunity to discover and sample the culinary talents right in our own backyard! Only 50 TASTING BOXES are available each month, so order yours today!

It’s $14.95 + shipping for a box, so people in Ontario and Quebec get it for around $22 or so after tax. This month, they sent a HUGE box because of the pasta sauce!

This time, there was only 4 items in the box, but that jar was HUMONGOUS!

Louise Prete Fine Foods’ Sugo Pomodoro all’Amatriciana – Toronto, ON (Full Size 737g – $9.99)

As you can tell by the absence of a product, we finished it ALL! It was really delicious with a good balance between sweet and savoury flavours between the Italian tomatoes, fresh herbs, double smoked bacon and that little touch of chili flakes.

It was a little more watery than I like in a tomato sauce (I seem to like my foods and sauces on the thicker side), but it goes super well with mushroom pasta!

Manning Canning's Spicy Tomato Jam

Manning Canning’s Spicy Tomato Jam – (45mL – $1.44)

It has a really good spreadable consistency, which would be great with crackers at a party!

Even though it’s a tomato jam, it’s actually pretty sweet! It reminds me of a really fancy ketchup with a pretty strong molasses-y scent that probably comes from the cloves and cinnamon they put into it.

I found it to be a little spicy at first but it faded away pretty quickly with the sweetness taking over and then made way for the more subtle flavours like the tomato, ginger and lime juice.

I may have to try and pair this with a cheese of some sort.

Kimberley's Own Nibscottis

Kimberly’s Own’s Biscotti Three-Pack Sampler – Toronto, ON (25g – unknown price)

I’m not too sure what the pricing is on this since it’s not listed anywhere!

They’re handmade biscottis with raw cacao, organic walnuts and chia. It may not be completely gluten free because oats generally carry very trace amounts of it, so be careful if you’re sensitive! However, they’re not made with wheat and it’s sweetened with maple syrup, brown rice syrup and honey instead of sugar!

Compared to traditional biscottis, these ones are much lighter and airier in texture but they still have a great crunch and mouthfeel to them. They’ve got a great mild sweetness and high fibre with a little cocoa hit that makes them a great mid-afternoon snack when the 3:00 slump hits!

Batch Sweet Kitchen's Salted Caramel Popcorn

Batch Sweet Kitchen’s Salted Caramel Popcorn – Vancouver, BC (50g – $3.33)

I really love salted caramel anything, so when I saw this, I almost squealed.

Be warned: it contains walnuts! I didn’t know that it had anything else besides popcorn and salted caramel, so it was a little shock when I took a piece out and a walnut was right in front of me!

The caramel is really crispy and evenly covers the popcorn so you get a bit of salted caramel goodness in every bite without having to smash the popcorn apart. The combination of that thin layer of crispy caramel, fluffy popcorn and delicious saltiness makes me keep going back for more!

I will note that the salt was a touch too heavy in the caramel, so it really brought out the slightly burnt taste that comes out during caramelization.

Verdict: I really enjoyed everything in the box, especially the salted caramel popcorn and the pomodoro sauce! But, I think I would’ve wanted to see a bit more variety. April’s box contained two tomato-based products and two treat-like things. I’m looking forward to see what May brings!

Did you get the April Tasting Box? What did you think about it?

xoxo,

B.elle

Tasting Box – March 2014

It’s the time of the month where I’m getting a ton of goodies in the mail! Yay! Christmas all over again! (The weather here agrees with me. Seriously, when is it going to get warm?!)

Anyway, The March Tasting Box!

Tasting Box March 2014

What is it?

Tasting is believing! The TASTING BOX includes 5 scrumptious tastes to enjoy, made by our favourite Canadian small batch food artisans and delivered directly to your door – a different box each month.  The TASTING BOX is the perfect opportunity to discover and sample the culinary talents right in our own backyard!  Only 50 TASTING BOXES are available each month, so order yours today!

They’ve recently changed their shipping policies for the Tasting Box so it’s now $14.95+shipping instead of including the shipping in the price. I live in Toronto and they ship from Ottawa, so I don’t have a problem with that since it’s a bit cheaper for me than it was before!

Let’s take a closer look at what’s inside.

Tasting Box March 2014

Ferme Guy Rivest’s Strawberry Wine Jelly – Rawdon, QC (Full Size 140mL – $3)

This is a really nice jelly! You can absolutely tell that it’s made out of strawberry WINE, so if that’s not your thing, you might not like it too much.

It only has 3 ingredients: strawberry wine, sugar and natural pectin. It’s super hard to find a good jelly that has so few understandable ingredients although I’m sure the strawberry wine has something else in it since it takes a bit more to ferment it.

But for some reason, I think it’s a little too much on the liquidy side. Maybe it’s because it had to go through some pretty polarizing temperatures as it went through Canada Post?

Carolina’s Box of Goodness’ Artisan Dulce de Leche Brownie – Ottawa, ON (1 square, approx. $2.15)

I don’t know if you know this, but I love brownies yet I’m not a huge fan of chocolate brownies! I might’ve only had fudge up to now, but I don’t know why I prefer blondies instead! (Note: I like blond and brown hair on my men, I don’t discriminate! 😉 )

It’s so soft that it literally melts in your mouth and absolutely delectable! My square had a little bit of sugar crystallization in it so it didn’t have a completely even texture, but it shows that it’s handmade. Personally, I would’ve preferred it to be a little more firm, but I’m not going to argue with French dessert traditions!

Tasting Box March 2014

JBars All Natural Protein Snack – Toronto, ON (2 full sized bars in Lemon and Cocoa, $12 for a pack of 3)

These were supposed to be samples, but Anne-Marie was a darling and gave me the full sized bars! What a sweetie!

I love how JBars packaged them into clear, resealable plastic baggies. I get so frustrated at the traditional sleeve packaging even though I know that it’s a lot cheaper! The resealable function is great for keeping the freshness and they do mention to keep it in the fridge if you need to!

I tried the cocoa one and the cocoa flavour is pretty balanced even though I found it slightly bland. (But that could be because I ate the brownie first. Oops!) But, even though I had the brownie first, I could really taste the toasted quinoa! I found that the texture soft, but almost too crumbly for a protein bar.

Tasting Box March 2014

Dad’s Westcoast Awesome Sauces’ Wildfire Awesome Sauce – Mill Bay, BC (40mL – $1.44)

This hot sauce is indeed an Awesome Sauce! It’s super spicy, packed full of flavours like jalapeno, bell peppers, cumin, garlic, bird’s eye chili, sugar and jarred with the cutest two kittens ever on the front.

I anticipate this tiny jar to be finished very soon after a few dinners.

Kricklewood Farm’s Cold Pressed Sunflower Oil – Frankville, ON (100mL- $2.80)

I haven’t opened this yet to try it out, but I’ve never used sunflower oil before and this seems like the perfect time to try it out! I’ll have to make up a new recipe for this… 😉

Verdict: It wasn’t as great as the February Tasting Box, but March had some good offerings! I definitely enjoyed the Brownie and the Wildfire Awesome Sauce, but the weather must have wreaked a little havoc on the Strawberry Wine Jelly! I’m looking forward to see what April’s offerings are!

Did you get a Tasting Box? What did you think about these products?

Want a Tasting Box of your own? Keep an eye on FoodiePages.ca on the 1st of each month at noon to get one of the 50 that they make!

xoxo,

B.elle

Note: I am not paid by Foodie Pages or any of the companies mentioned in this post for this review. All opinions and views are mine.

February 2014 Tasting Box by Foodie Pages

I got my Tasting Box today! What I love about the Tasting Box is that it features Canadian small business artisans that I normally wouldn’t know about! All of the products are available on the Foodie Pages e-marketplace for easy shopping.

Tasting Box February 2014

Here’s what’s inside!

Cocolico’s Salted Butter Caramels – Vancouver, BC (sample of 4 – approx. $3.60)

Cost: $9 for 100g/3.5oz

I’m not sure how many are in a full size, but the picture they used on Foodie Pages looks like there’s 10 in a 100g box, so I took a calculated guess from there.

I used to work for a salted caramel company for a summer and I have to admit that I missed them a lot! Unlike the ones I worked with, Cocolico mixed the salt into the caramel so you get that delicious sweet/savoury taste through the whole candy. It’s so decadently soft that I may have to hide these for a treat before someone else steals them…

Bonus: All natural ingredients AND the cream’s from local BC farmers!

Tasting Box February 2014

Bix Bakery’s Lemon Pizzelle Cookies – Toronto, ON (Full size)

Cost: $17.95 for 3 full sized cookies

It’s allergen free! Woo! I’m not allergic to anything food-wise, but it’s great to see more products that try to accommodate those with food allergies or sensitivities.

But $17.95 for 3 cookies seems a bit steep for me, especially since said cookies have to come to me by mail in various sized pieces, like they did now. Thank god Bix Bakery’s in Toronto so I can make a visit there!

For the cookie itself, it’s really light, fluffy and airy with a great lemony taste to it. It’s just a tiny bit grainy to the chew from the rice flour, but I don’t mind it.

Dave’s Roasted Garlic Hot Pepper Jelly – Invermere, BC (45mL – approx. $1.65)

Cost: $7 for 190mL / $42 for 6-pack

This stuff smells great! It actually reminds me of a really good salsa with a ton of garlic and jalapeno. Too bad I don’t have any tortilla chips in the pantry…

Even though it’s a sweet jelly, the savoury notes from the roasted garlic comes in right after the sweetness and the spicy peppers just jump on your tastebuds right after that! The card says that it makes a great glaze for barbecued ribs, so that’s a great excuse for me to roast off some ribs soon.

Tasting Box February 2014

Full of Beans’ Deluxe Kitchen Sink Soup Mix – Bornholm, ON (250g – $2.50)

Cost: $5 for 500g

This generous sample alone makes makes 7 servings of 8oz., so I can only imagine how much soup the regular size makes! I’ll be making some baked bean stew tomorrow to see how this turns out.

Tasting Box February 2014

Urge Chocolates’ Oranji Dark Chocolate Bar – Burnaby, BC (60g – Full Size)

Cost: $5 for 60g

I usually don’t like flavoured chocolate. For me, if I’m craving chocolate, I want it to be dark, simple and preferably in fudge form.

But this chocolate? Oh. My. God.

The orange flavour is so fresh and inviting, like that first scrape of orange zest in the summer, and it pairs up so beautifully with the goji berries embedded right in the dark chocolate, which is already sooooo silky and just bitter enough for all the flavours to have a party. I will definitely be buying more of this once I finish this pocket bar!

PS – I love the packaging!

Verdict: I love, love, LOVE this box! My favourite has to be Urge Chocolate’s Oranji Dark Chocolate Bar, but everything that I could taste so far is so delicious that it’s well worth the cost. I paid $25 and got $30 worth of products, so that’s always a bonus!

Did you get one? What did you think of the box?

Want to subscribe? Only 50 boxes are available each month on the 1st, starting at noon, right here (with my referral) on Foodie Pages! Act fast or you’ll miss a box of the best of Canadian artisan cuisine!

xoxo,

B.elle

Note: I am not paid by Foodie Pages or any of the companies mentioned in this post for this review. All opinions and views are mine.