Tag Archives: food parcels

Foodie Penpals August 2015


This month, my parcel came from Margaud in France. I didn’t ask for anything specific, as usual, instead letting her know the few things I don’t like, and asking for things that are ready to eat, rather than ingredients. Margaud sent me a beautiful box – let’s take a look:

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I think the letter might be my favourite item in this parcel! I know it sounds strange, but it was written with such care, and in such cheerful colours. I really loved it, and read it over with care before I got opening. Once I was ready, I proceeded to check out everything in the box – and there was a lot packed in there.

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Pasta from Alsace. Of course, I always think of pasta as Italian, but it turns out that I’m missing out on this specific kind of pasta, made with seven eggs per kilo of durham wheat semolina. I look forward to trying it with a simple sauce, to see if I can tell the difference between this and the pasta I’m used to.

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Galettes Bretonnes – a sweet but light biscuit from Brittany. These are crisp and thin, a lovely snack for tea time – I bet they’d be excellent with Nutella on them. Mind you, so are many things…

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These little parcels hold delicate, sweet cakes – one of them was smashed to smithereens by the post, so of course I had to immediately eat that one… They’re made with wine and aniseed, and again are a perfect tea-time treat. Not too much, but not too little.

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Speaking of tea, I got some new teabags! This is spot on, I’ve been meaning to replenish my stock of tea bags, so the timing couldn’t be better. Ginger and lime green tea sounds like a good pick-me-up after lunch (does anyone else eel the need to sleep for a week after lunch?). Can’t wait to try them.

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Even the name of this fruity snack is gorgeous – BuddyFruits! Margaud says this is a favourite snack of her’s for that dreaded mid-afternoon slump, though I can see me having it as a breakfast treat one day.

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I’ve never tried rillettes, but I already know I’m going to love it. Anything in the pate family is a friend of mine. This will be a lovely lunch for me one day, with some crackers or oatcakes, or maybe a fresh slice or two of bread, and maybe a dorp of fresh salad. I’m looking forward to it already.

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This packet will make a lovely and, crucially, easy butter sauce for cod. All I have to do is parcel it all up and pop it in the oven. Add some mashed spuds, or a baked potato, and a drop of veg, and I have a winning meal. I need more of these easy meal solutions in my life, I spend far too much time trying to make things from scratch but finding I don’t have time and eating cereal for dinner.

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The jewel in the crown of my parcel: Porto Cruz pink port. Another new item for me, and one I’m going to keep chilled and ready for an emergency. You’d be surprised how often there are booze emergencies in my house. Apparently I can serv this over ice, or in a cocktail. I think I need to do some more research before I decide.

Margaud, merci beaucoup pour le merveilleux cadeau. J’aime tout dans la boîte! I’m really looking forward to tasting everything, and I love that so much of it is in small portions so I don’t really need to share…

If you’d like to know more about Foodie Penpals in the UK and Europe, you can check out the drop down menu at the top, or click here. If you are in the US or Canada, find out more on The Lean Green Bean.

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Foodie Penpals May 2015


My parcel this month came from Ingrida in the Netherlands. I asked her to send me snacks that were ready to eat – and she didn’t disappoint!

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She also included a massive wedge of gouda, which is still keeping me going. Generally I don’t know that it’s a great idea to put cheese in the post – though this one did make it unscathed, as did the packet I got last month. What do other people think? Anyway, this one is strong and smoky, it was the first thing I opened – I couldn’t even wait to take a picture before I tried it.

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The next things were stroppwaffles – I’ve had these before, they are SO good. I have one left, I’m saving it (though I’m sure it won’t last much longer. Fact: the happy man on this packet makes them taste even better.

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There were some speculoos biscuits, too – these were just about right for tea time, the biscuits stand up admirably to being dipped in a hot beverage. And that happy man is there again, too!

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The rest of my parcel was full of boiled sweets, none I’d ever tried before. I tried to figure out the flavours even though I don’t speak Dutch. I figured out the two in tins – they’re coffee and butter flavoured. The butter ones are kind of like Werther’s Originals, sweet and buttery hard caramel. Plus there is a lady on the tin who looks like knows what’s what.

The coffee sweets were excellent – I couldn’t imagine how they’d taste, but they were kind of like mild coffee creams, but longer-lasting. I took all the sweets in to work and there were a lot of pleasantly surprised ‘mmm!’ noises going around the office as people tried these.

There were another two bags of sweets, too – Ingrida really spoiled me! We’re not absolutely positive what these flavours are, but we think these ones are cherry flavoured:

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These were kind of like the rock you get at the seaside, but softer. Not as soft as Edinburgh rock – it has a bit of crunch to it, especially round the edges. I’ve just translated all the writing on the package – they are cherry wands, and the bottom of the label says ‘sweets from the old times’. There’s something very charming about roughly translated phrases, isn’t there?

These were also a kind of caramel toffee sweet, which was unexpected – we were thinking maybe pineapple, by the colour.

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They translate as ‘butter wafers’, though I think ‘butter waffles’ might be more accurate. I love the shape of them! I must try making my own boiled sweets some time.

I loved everything in my parcel – and so did my colleagues – so a big thank you from all of us, Ingrida!

If you’d like to get involved in Foodie Penpals, here’s the lowdown:

We have a Facebook page, where you can see photos of other parcels, read blog posts about them and get to know people who take part.

We use the #foodiepenpals hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

In Europe, you can sign up through the drop down menu at the top of the page, or by clicking here. We’re taking a break this month, but we’ll be starting up again in July.

In the US and Canada, you can sign up through The Lean Green Bean.


Foodie Penpals April 2015


My first reveal post in a long time, and it’s a beauty. My parcel came from Egle in Lithuania, and she sent me so many things!

 

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For the most part, the contents of my parcel were new to me. Egle also included a note to let me know what she’d chosen:

 

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Cute paper! I don’t know if you can read it, but towards the bottom of the page it says ‘special sweets from blood’. I did a double-take, and then a triple-take, but it’s true – hematogen is kind of a health bar, which contains albumin from bull’s blood, and is rich in iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin A.

 

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It tastes like an energy bar – the kind that’s made of dried fruit and is really chewy – but with a hint of, well, iron about it. I didn’t eat it all in one go, I must admit, but who knows? Maybe it still did me some good? This is probably the strangest thing I’ve had in a parcel, it was really exciting to try it! In the picture above, it’s next to a little bar of chocolate, with Egle’s home city on the front. This I did finish in one go – one bite, practically…

 

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Another Lithuanian treat was a little boule of black rye bread. It doesn’t seem to have gone stale, despite the time it took to get across the sea, plus the extra time it’s been sitting in my kitchen (it’s been a busy week) – I think I’ll cut it into croutons for a salad this week. I could also toss in some of this cheese, which seems to have a picture of a viking on the front:

 

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Normally I would advise against sending cheese by post but this stuff was vacuum sealed, and seemed none the worse for its journey. It’s tangy, mature and just a little bit fruity, plus it’s cut into little chunks already so you can snack on it. Do other people snack on plain cheese, or is it just me?

 

Something I haven’t tried from the box is this tomato and mushroom tapenade – I think that’s a reasonable word to describe it, though maybe ‘spread’ or ‘pate’ would be more apt. Regardless, I can see it being delicious on crackers, with some cheese, but maybe I could use it like a pesto? Or spread on bruschetta – oooh, or added to garlic bread! I’ll keep it sealed until I can decide. I like that garlic bread idea…

 

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Speaking of garlic, there was also a bag of ‘garlic crisps’ in my parcel. I opened them on Monday after a looooong morning and afternoon of travelling, and they are very much the kind of snack you shouldn’t open if you don’t want to eat the whole bag. I managed to stop half way through, but it was a struggle. They’re kind of like Kettle Chips, thick and crunchy, but not as thick as I expected from the packaging. They looked like little crouton slices – imagine my delight when they were even more snackable than I thought they’d be.

 

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They’re super garlicky, which is right up my street – I’m always putting too much garlic in things. Especially hummus, I am a fiend for garlicky hummus. They’re also called ‘bon chance’ which is fun, because it’s one of the few French phrases I know and when I’m pretending I can speak French this will eventually trot out of my mouth along with ‘il neige’ and ‘je joue au foot’.

 

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Another item I haven’t tried is this potato pancake mix. I’m saving it for a brunch, possibly with bacon and maple syrup, though the box suggests a healthier ‘fruit and yogurt’ combo. Or is that lingonberries and sour cream? I love it when I have to scour the packaging for English words, I think it’s loads of fun, and makes me feel like I’m really trying something different, and special.

 

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Linseed biscuits – these are dangerous. They are sweet, and buttery, but instead of chocolate chips they’re full of crackly little seeds. I love the texture of them, and found myself eating a few at a time, instead of just trying one as I’d meant to. I think they might also have oats in them? Safe to say, I’m enjoying them a lot.

 

The last thing, and something I can save for a day when I need an instant sugar rush, is this popping candy lollipop. Look how cute it is with its little bow!

 

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Thank you, Egle, for a wonderful parcel. It was so full of things that were out of the ordinary for me – though you may think they are completely normal – and I appreciate how thoughtful you were in finding me all these different snacks to try.

 

If you want to see more of the parcels from this month, head over to our Facebook page where you can see photos and maybe get to know some of us participants. Then, if you want to join in, here are the links:

To join European Foodie Penpals, click the link or go to the dropdown menu at the top of the page.

To join US and Canada Foodie Penpals, click the link.

 

You have until Monday 4th to sign up for May – it costs nothing to sign up except what you spend on your parcel. Go on, give it a whirl.

 


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