|Inside the box!|
Disclosure: this box was sent to me for free. All opinions expressed are my own!
A lot of people have different views about whether or not food bloggers like myself should accept products for free in return for a review, whether that review is positive or not. But when I received an email from Flavourly.com asking if I would be interested I actually felt quite excited. Not because I was being asked to try another food related product but because I was being asked to review a service.
There’s a difference you see.
Perhaps I should start by explaining what Flavourly.com is, and what it does.
Flavourly.com is a website which offers you the chance to sign up to what I can only describe as a “gourmet food club”. Each month you pay a fee and in return they post to you a box of some of the best gourmet food products from around the country. The producers are all experts in their field, and many of them have received awards from the likes of the Great Taste Awards.
When you sign up to their service you can pick one of three packages.
Firstly you can choose to pay as you go. With this option, you pay £22 (+ £3 delivery charge) a month and receive a box containing 6-10 gourmet products in return. You can cancel any time. And, to make sure you feel good about spending all that money on fancy pants food (because let’s be honest it may be good value, but it’s still not cheap) they will donate a meal to charity.
The second option is to buy a 3 month package. With this option you pay a one off amount of £59 (that’s a saving of 10%, or £7.) Again you receive a box containing 6-10 gourmet products, 3 meals will be donated to charity, and you will be charged £3 for delivery.
The final option is to buy the 6 month package. This sets you back £105 (a saving of 20% or £27) and you get the above for 6 months instead of for 1 or 3. (Though 6 meals will be donated to charity) Simple right?
So what did I think when I received my box?
First of all, it comes in a post-office friendly box which is branded with their logo. It’s pretty sturdy and protected all of my goodies inside. Good start!
When I opened it up I found a great mix of products.
1. Farmhouse Nettle Cheese from the Northumbland Cheese Co. in Northumberland
2. Bacon Jam from Eat 17 in London
3. Oatcakes from Forest Kitchen in Inverness
4. Roibus and Vanilla Tea from Wee Tea company in Fife
5. Air Cured Beef Biltong from Isle of Wight Biltong in Isle of Wight
6. Whisky Tablet Slab from Forest Kitchen in Inverness
Now I don’t know about you, but I got a bit of a Scottish feel from this box? Perhaps because Burns night was on the 25th? Who knows! This is just speculation…
The Nettle Cheese went really well with the Oatcakes. We had these on Burns night as an after dinner treat! Can cheese really be dessert? I was impressed with the flavours of both as well as the products’ finishes. You could tell they were artisan products from companies who cared about the food they made.
The tea I have yet to try, but I know I love tea, I have boxes and boxes of the stuff and I don’t doubt that the Rooibus will be well received.
The biltong was a lot nicer than I thought. Now I must stress this is really a personal preference point. My Dad LOVES biltong so I’ve had it a fair few times. I’m not a great fan of its texture and have had everything ranging from bland to tasting of something well…dead! The flavour of this biltong was clearly beefy (which for me is a good start) but one was also subtly smoked and the other flavoured with pepper. I was worried the pepper would drown out the beef flavour of the biltong but actually it accompanied it really well and I preferred the peppered bag over the smoked bag which I wasn’t expecting. The only slightly disappointing this about the biltong was that my box was delivered on the 19th and the biltongs best before was the 21st which didn’t give me very long to try it!
The bacon jam was…well…bacon-y. Now call my stupid but I really didn’t expect it to taste as much of bacon as it did! In terms of flavour it was amazing. Who doesn’t like the taste of bacon? However I don’t know if you could entirely call it a jam…perhaps relish?!
Last but not least the whisky tablet went down a treat. I love tablet, the Mr loves whisky. Need I say more!
Now I originally said this wasn’t a review of a product, it was a review of a service, so why have I spent so much time telling you about the products?!
Well, the thing that struck me when I opened the box was that it was good value for money!
£22 a month is a lot to spend, I’m not going to pretend otherwise, so I was a bit worried that it was going to be packed with tiny sample sized products for “tasting” rather than eating, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. If you count the fact that there were two types of biltong I was sent 7 products. That means that they were worth an average of £3.10 and they weren’t tiny at all. This may be roughly what I would expect to pay for such items in a supermarket or delicatessen. BUT, would I have ever CHOSEN to try these products? Probably not! But I loved trying something new!
Take bacon jam for example. I would have steered well clear of this in a shop. It just doesn’t sound right! Yet I loved it! And it was certainly a talking point in my house.
Other products such as the nettle cheese and oatcakes are the kind of products that you could genuinely integrate into you weekly diet and simply add a bit of subtle variety.
So what’s my overall opinion?
I think it is a FAB idea, and when I’m earning enough I will definitely be looking these guys up (not long now Flavourly.com, don’t worry!) In the meantime, the Mr and I have considered sharing a box. With 6 – 10 products a months there are bound to be items you’re not as keen on but if you share the box this doesn’t matter! Just over £10 each and we both get to try something new.
There are two suggestions I think the company could consider though going forward. Some of you will know that the Mr is a vegetarian, and although 4 of the six products were vegetarian, he’s a little worried that if we do go halves, some months he may only have 1 product to try and I’ll probably want to eat half of it to! Perhaps a vegetarian box might be an idea?
I also think a £10 would be really well received.
I would happily spend £10 for a box offering 3-4 products. I appreciate this may not be a viable option once you factor in the cost of posting but I think it would open the service up to more people! Heck, I probably spent £10 a month in deli’s when I was at uni! If even uni students can afford it, you can’t go wrong!
If you think you’d like to give the box a try, the lovely people at Flavourly.com have given me the chance to offer you £10 off of your first box. Simply use the code: GIFT10
Their slogan is “delivering deliciousness” and I definitely agree! So why not give it a try…