Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mantry March 2014 Review!

It's no secret that I get a lot of subscription boxes. I'm sure my neighbors think I'm a online shopping addict at this point, but more importantly: J sometimes feels totally left out of the fun! 
He received Loot Crate for awhile, but he stopped enjoying them as much, so I went on the prowl for a new subscription that he would love. I signed him up for Birchbox Man, and I was also lucky enough to receive a complimentary crate from Mantry!

What is Mantry? 
Mantry is "The modern man's pantry." It's a food-of-the-month subscription that helps you discover hard-to-find artisan foods that are all made in America. It all comes packaged up in an awesome wooden crate (also made in the USA!) as well as an informative booklet that contains recipes, brand back stories and things of that nature.
 Each Mantry crate costs $75 per month. While the price tag is a bit on the high side for a subscription, it's definitely worth it if you have a very particular foodie in your life! The theme and curation of each crate make it feel incredibly special to receive, and completely unique from every other food subscription. 
Let's take a look  at the March crate, which was themed, "Health Nut."
Mantry says:
It's a tough world out there- from pre-dawn wake ups and venti coffee cups, to late-night cocktails turned 6am e-mails, people are stretching themselves more thin than ever. Are we recommending a sea kelp smoothie? No, but Mantry has rounded up six products to inch you one step closer to being superhuman(er)...
Mantry includes a booklet that tells you all about the items in the crate, with to-the-point, yet wonderful details about the companies, the products, and where everything comes from!
1. TruBee Honey: Tennessee Snow Honey ($10)
Trubee Snow Honey is something quite interesting! It's made by beekeepers in Tennessee, and they keep the honey raw and unprocessed to preserve all of the good vitamins and minerals! This honey is refered to as "snow honey" and it's actually honey that is whipped until it's creamy and spreadable. J is obsessed with honey in his tea as well as on toast and he said this stuff is delicious! Best part? Mantry gave the little tip that honey is also a great cure for a hangover. Nice!

2. Jonty Jacobs Biltong ($10)
This meat is preserved in a way that keeps it fresh without refrigeration. The process originated in South African tribes and getting this type of dried meat in the US was pretty difficult until recently, when it began being prepared in New York. J is always going on about Jerky and is a very meat-and-potatoes kind of guy, literally and figuratively. We both tried this, and it tastes kind of like a fancy SlimJim! Not my favorite kind of snack, but as long as J enjoys it, that's what matters! Mantry suggests to either eat it right out the bag (like we did) or sprinkle it on a salad with fresh mozzarella. Yum!

3. Natural Delights Medjool Dates ($7)
 Dates are kind of a weird thing. I feel like they look like giant raisins, kind of taste like giant raisins, but something about them is just kind of icky to me. I honestly can't figure it out. They are definitely sweet, and would probably taste good in some kind of baked dessert or bread. I am going to hold onto these and look up a fun recipe (since I love baking!) and see what I can come up with!

4. Peguero Farms Roasted Sea Salted Pistachio Butter ($15)
 OK, so at first glance I was a bit confused by this stuff. I love pistachios and I love peanut butter, but the appearance of this stuff just doesn't look appetizing. Even so, as soon as I popped open the jar, I was in love! It tastes like peanut butter with a light pistachio flavor. It's absolutely delicious! I think it would taste great on a piece of whole grain toast in the morning. Cannot wait for breakfast!

5. Vosges Chocolate: Coconut Ash and Banana Super Dark Chocolate Bar ($7.50)
 I was already on board with eating the crap out of this chocolate bar, but Mantry went into a bit of detail on the benefits of dark chocolate: antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, stress reduction, heart health, improved brain function etc. After reading that, I took it as a sign and immediately busted this beauty open! Something about the term "coconut ash" doesn't sound appealing, but let me tell you, this chocolate bar was genuinely one of the best dark chocolates I've ever tasted. It's a VERY dark chocolate, but still has a light sweetness to it rather than being overly bitter. I can't taste the coconut or the banana very much at all, but when I catch a glimpse of them, it's incredibly subtle. It's just a very high-quality, rich dark chocolate. I'll be honest and say this chocolate bar was gone within the hour! Definitely interested in buying more from this brand. I love that it's vegan, too!

6. Quinn Popcorn: Lemon & Sea Salt Popcorn ($5)
 I was happy to see that Quinn Popcorn is from Woburn MA, which is just a short drive away from my hometown! This box contains 2 bags of microwave popcorn as well as 2 ingredient pouches that contain the lemon and sea salt, and 2 pouches of sunflower oil to help the salt and lemon coat the popcorn. This corn contains no bad stuff and is GMO free. J and I both tried and enjoyed this popcorn a lot more than we anticipated! The lemon flavor kind of threw me off a bit when I first saw the box, but it's very subtle on most of the pieces. There are pieces here and there that have a very strong lemon flavor, though, so beware if you're not into that! Even so, this popcorn tasted light and fresh, and we'll definitely enjoy the second bag soon!

Overall Thoughts
The total value of the items in the March Mantry crate is just under $55. When you add the time and care it takes to curate these crates, the cost of the wooden crates themselves, as well as shipping such a heavy box, I think that $75 a month is reasonable for this subscription. Is it out of my price range? Absolutely. I think I might be more inclined to purchase it at $40 a month. J and I both really enjoyed the overall experience of the March Mantry crate, though. I feel like we tried a lot of new things and had fun reading about each item and taste-testing everything!
If you're looking for a food subscription that is more bang-for-your-buck, I don't think Mantry would be right for you. You don't get items that are worth more than the value of the box, like a lot of other subscriptions. However, I think that Mantry is worth the price if you're looking to really treat someone special in your life with a thoughtful,amazing gift.  Dads, husbands, brothers, or any other special guy in your life would probably love to receive Mantry if they are into new and interesting foods!

If you're interested in purchasing a Mantry crate, subscription, or just want to take a peek at some of their past boxes, visit their site Here!

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