Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hatchery Tasting Box Review, October 2015 + $10 Discount Code!

"Hatchery" would be a great name for a subscription service that sends an unidentified fertilized egg each month. The surprise would be seeing what kind of chick popped out of the egg.  You could get a finch, you could get a hawk, you could get an ostrich!  I wouldn't recommend signing up for the annual plan unless you live on a farm......

As it turns out, the Hatchery Tasting Box sends a monthly delivery of small batch ingredients and condiments sourced from independent makers across the country. The cost is $20 a month with free shipping.  Gilt City recently ran a deal where you could get a three month subscription for $25.20.  Although this isn't the type of box that would normally interest me, I had read some good reviews.  At just $8.40 per month, I figured this was an opportunity not to be missed.

My first box arrived about two weeks after placing the order.  It is a nice looking medium sized red box with Hatchery branding.

Almost every review I've read or watched has mentioned the extraordinary packaging inside a Hatchery Tasting Box.  Every item was wrapped in a special kind of quilted or corrugated brown kraft paper and sealed with a Hatchery logo sticker. 

The Tasting Guide gives a lot of information about each product and its purveyor.  In addition, there is a "goes well with" section that tells what types of foods work with each item.  There is a recipe on the back that makes use of one of the ingredients. This month, that's a Shredded Vegan Caesar Salad.  Unfortunately, the print is so tiny in the guide that I'm struggling to decipher it.  

There is a coupon for Jones of Boerum Hill which makes expensive aprons for serious chefs.  If interested, use code HATCHERY20 for $20 off any order of $50 or more. Another card provides a 20% discount for purchases of $35 or more in the Hatchery Marketplace which stocks a wide variety of individual condiments and ingredients. Use the code TASTINGBOX to take advantage of this offer.

After removing all the packaging, I was surprised at how little was actually in this box and disappointed that one of the items had leaked. It's not completely clear, but I believe the guilty party is this packet of Tessemae's All Natural Caesar Dressing.  I'm not sure if this is a single serve package but even if it isn't, it's only 1.5 oz. so it's not going to go far.

Next is a small container of Beekman 1802 Ommegang Abbey Ale Beer Jelly. Again, the print on the jar was so tiny that I had to use a loupe to read it.  (Yes, I am near sighted but I have a lot of visual assistance and this is ridiculous.)  Even after reading the description, I'm not clear on this one.  It's a jelly that has a "layered sweetness with a hint of licorice and chocolate".  Huh?  The card says it goes well with sandwiches, hard and soft cheeses and burgers. I can't stand licorice in any form, so this will probably be gifted.

Next is a kraft paper packet containing Crunch Dynasty, an "exotic hot topping" with elements of Chinese cooking such as chili peppers, soy sauce, fried shallots and sesame seeds. This goes with rice, sandwiches, sushi or eggs.  The fire level marked on the packet is "Hot", so this is not a seasoning to underestimate.

From "Born With Seoul" we have Original Sesame Korean Gochujang.  This is a traditional blend that contains chile powder and sesame seeds.  I can't read the label at all so am relying on the Tasting Guide which says this goes well with vegetables, beef, tofu and rice. 

The last item is a packet of Sweet & Salty Surrender from Sweet is the Spice.  This is a sweet blend of organic brown sugar, maple sugar and organic cinnamon plus Vermont maple sea salt.  It can be used on ice cream, cookies, squash or waffles. This mix probably has the most chance of actually getting used in my kitchen.

I am underwhelmed by this box.  Admittedly, I am probably not their target customer but this box doesn't provide much that's useful or even interesting to me.  I am very glad that I did not pay $20 for the box.  Sadly, the best thing about it was the packaging. Even that seemed wasteful considering how little was inside most of the carefully wrapped little packages. Except for the serious chef and/or gourmand, I suspect this box will fly right over the heads of the less adventurous among us. I really hope that the next couple of boxes will bring less foreign (and less hot) ingredients that I'm likely to actually try.

If you're a more progressive chef than I am and would like to try the Hatchery Tasting Box, the code SAVE10 will get $10 off your first box, making it only $10.  I would say that's a fair price for what's in this box but you'll have to make your own decision about whether to proceed at $20 a month after that. (I'm sure these products are difficult to source so they might be of considerably more value to the kitchen elite.)  I believe this subscription does appear fairly often on the deal sites, so keep an eye on them if you're interested in a longer term discount.

Thanks for reading,


Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was purchased by Lone Star Shopper. Post does not contain referral or affiliate links.  

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