I mentioned a couple of days ago that I’d tell you about the Winter Tasting Box I got from Relay Foods, and believe it or not, I’m following through that! (Hooray for scheduled posts.)
The tasting box highlights items from small producers in the region, the contents change monthly, and you don’t know what you’re going to get when you order. I ordered the Late Winter Tasting Box, in part because I’m in a winter rut in the kitchen. Without the weekly influx of produce and random things I find at the farmer’s market, I’ve gotten bored. (Yes, I will admit that my “bored in the kitchen” still involves cooking things that many of you might think are not exactly boring.) This was a fun thing to do to get me thinking. My box, which I got in mid-February, contained:
- Two Blue Ridge Pizza Wood-Fired Pizza Crusts
- The Happy Tomato Pizza Sauce
- Spring Mill Farm Garlic & Chive Chevre . . .
- . . . and Bare Naked Chevre
- Shiny Spoons Buckwheat Pudding in Dark, Dark Chocolate
- Gator Ron’s Original Angel Wing Sauce
As you can imagine, I made pizzas with the crusts, sauce and plain chevre. I also threw on some parmesan, fresh basil and mozzarella that I had hanging around. This worked out well – I like making pizza but I’ve not had much luck with making my own dough, so these par-baked types of crusts are the way to go for me. I would buy these again, though they’re expensive enough that they wouldn’t be for a regular weeknight dinner. They are absolutely the kind of splurge-y thing I do when I have dinner in on a long weekend, or near my birthday, or because it’s been a couple of months since the last time I did something like that.
The sauce was tasty, but with two small pizzas I did not use it all up. I thought about throwing it in the freezer, but instead I turned the leftovers were turned into a semi-arrabiata pasta sauce, which worked out very well. I don’t normally do red sauce on pizza when I make it at home, so I’m unlikely to buy this again, but it was yummy. (As a side note, I was delighted to receive something that was so clearly small batch – it came in the same type of canning jars I use at home, rather than the industrial types. The labels came off easily and I added the jar to my stash.)
Now the cheese…oh was that ever good. The garlic and chive was super flavorful and I really just wanted to smear it all over a bagel. The plain is creamy and tangy (there is still a bit of that left I think). Both are a very spreadable, light consistency. I would definitely get this again for a cheeseboard. It’s too nice to cook with, though!
I was a little skeptical of the buckwheat pudding, but it was really good. It was firmer in texture than a traditional dairy pudding, but still pretty smooth. The flavor was great – nice and chocolatey, but not too sweet. Perfect size for a snack, and I liked the little plastic container it came in. Unfortunately, they are just expensive enough that I probably can’t justify the cost – however, if you are in search of gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free and/or vegan snacks and you like pudding…this is something to check out.
I have not yet tried the Gator Ron’s sauce. I don’t often make wings, so at first I wasn’t sure quite what to do with this. But then I had a brainwave and there are plans afoot to use it to slow cook some chicken to serve over a big cobb type salad. (I’ll report on that once I’ve gotten around to it, probably in a couple of weeks.)
I would definitely try their tasting box again. I paid $40, and the value of everything in the box purchased separately is $49.36, so it was worth the money. Plus I got to try a bunch of new things, and it was fun to open the box and find out what I’d gotten. For those of you who are also deep into the winter doldrums and missing going to the farmer’s market every week, this might help.
The alert among you may wonder if this is what I wound up doing instead of the Hatchery Tasting Box I asked about on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. The answer is I did them both. My first Hatchery box came a couple of days ago, and I’ll do a similar post once I’ve tried more of it.