One of the biggest perks of receiving all these lovely things to review for my blog is discovering some absolutely cracking brands that would have totally passed by under my radar if they hadn't suddenly popped through my postbox. Flavourly have taken this idea and developed it so that it can help everyone, not just bloggers, discover some of the smaller, less well known brands out there. They offer a monthly subscription service to send you, through the post by Royal Mail, a lovely selection of foodie items from UK artisan producers.
We received January's box through the post last week and excitedly unpacked it to see what we'd find inside. It comes in a sturdy carboard box with fully recyclable packaging and everything was in good condition. There's no insulation or chill packs in there though so I'm not sure how the cheese would survive in the warmer months !
We discovered :
Farmhouse Nettle Cheese from Northumberland Cheese Co - Northumberland Cheese Co are a small dairy on the Blagdon Estate in South Nortumberland who hand produce 16 different cheeses. I must admit, the addition of nettles initially put me off - I wouldn't have been brave enough to pick this up in the shops - but it's actually a pleasant taste with the fresh herby flavour of the nettles nicely complementing the creamy cows' milk cheese. And no, it doesn't sting your mouth when you eat it !
Forest Kitchen Traditional Handmade Scottish Oatcakes - You could pass these off as home made. They're the perfect crisp, crumbly texture with a lovely fresh oaty taste and they went perfectly with the Nettle Cheese, but also the Bacon Jam. (More about that in a moment.) The Forest Kitchen won a Great Taste Gold Award for these in 2011 and I can see why.
2 packs of Greeff's Beef Biltong - Handmade on the Isle of Wight, which surprised me because I thought it came from South Africa, but it turns out that Nick, from Isle of Wight Biltong, is third generation Zimbabwean and learnt to make it on his father's cattle farm. Well I never ! Again, this is a product I wouldn't have picked up by myself, expecting it to be dry, hard and overly chewy, but it was actually much nicer than I expected and I probably would buy it again (dependent on price).
Eat 17 London Bacon Jam - I did a double take when I first heard about Eat 17 Bacon Jam online a while a go and have remained sceptical so it's something I'd never have bought in a million years because it just sounds so wrong. It is, however, so right ! It's not jam, it's more relish, with a lovely smoky bacon flavour. It's brilliant for jazzing up cheese on toast, quiche, omelettes, baked potatoes and burgers but I'm sure there are a million other things it could be used for too - just give me some more time !
Wee Tea Company Rooibus and Vanilla Tea - I'm not a tea fan so I passed this on to a friend. She said it was nice but was only subtly flavoured.
Forest Kitchen Traditional Handmade Scottish Whisky Fudge Slab - Having tasted the Oatcakes made by The Forest Kitchen, I was expecting great things, even if I'm not a whisky fan. It's lovely soft creamy fudge, slightly too sweet for my liking, but the whisky flavour is only subtle so that didn't put me off.
Contents aside (because they will change every month), I think it's a great idea. Each package costs £22 which, while certainly not cheap, does work out pretty good value when you look at the number and above all quality of the items inside. Two things that definitely could be improved on are the very short use-by dates on several of the products and the fact that you don't get any choice at all in your order - while I like the element of surprise and the fact that you're led into unchartered foodie territories, trying products you probably never would have bought by yourself, it would be good to have vegetarian and maybe gluten-free options available (maybe at a lower price for fewer items, if this is a logistical problem).
It would make a great gift (I'd love one of these for Valentine's Day or Mother's Day - hint hint !!) for any foodie with a sense of adventure. Another bonus is that they donate a meal to a food bank for every Flavourly box sold.
If I've piqued your interest, you can get a £10 discount off your first box with the code GIFT10
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £22 for a 1-month subscription
for more information : http://www.flavourly.com/
Disclosure : I received a Flavourly box in order to write an honest review of the service.
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