“Boxes” are all the rage these days: pay a few dollars a month and people will send you boxes of all sorts of things. Jess is a fan of Birch Box, a monthly grab-bag of sample-size fancy toiletries, but although my friend Joel DiPippa swears by the men’s version, I lack the skill, knowledge, or confidence to know what the heck to do with a box of fancy stuff to wear.
Not to fear, though — there are boxes out there for folks like me who wear Mountain Dew t-shirts and like to eat in bed, and today I got my first one from The Jungle Stand, a site that promises a “tasting bar” in every month’s box (for only $9.92). This month’s theme was “Taste of Italy,” the taste in question being several varieties of Italian-style biscuits of both the sweet and savory nature. Jess and I dug right in and found the selection to be quite good for the most part. Here’s a run-down of what we tried:
*Sfogliatine: This was an airy, crispy pastry puff that was lightly sugared and had a fine texture due to its many layers. This was one of our favorite bites from the box, so delicate as to almost melt on the tongue with each bite. Delicious.
*Krumiri: These were a dry biscuit made for dipping into a beverage. Prepared without water, the texture was similar to Scottish shortbread, although not nearly as buttery. This version was made with hazelnuts and vanilla, and had a nice, subtle flavor perfect for pairing with a cup of tea or medium-brewed coffee.
*Amaretti: These little anonymous-looking cookies were the stand-out taste in the box. Beneath that tame exterior was a powerful punch of almond and amaretto flavor that was almost shocking at first bite. Sweet, slightly bitter, and delightfully crunchy, these treats were among some of the best little cookies we’ve ever had.
*Cantuccini: What I would call a biscotti. These were infused with raisins and gave a nice, sweet bite that was quite crunchy. Not so great by themselves, but these would be perfect with a strong cuppa for breakfast. (UPDATE: The aforementioned Mr. DiPippa, who is my go-to source for things Italian says that “biscotti” is baked twice, hence the difference.)
*Biscuit with Mediterranean Herbs: The first savory biscuit, and the first one with no actual Italian name. These were some pretty lame little crackers with a strong taste of tomato bouillon and oregano. Seemed more like filler for the box than anything actually Italian.
*Srack Griss: I Googled “srack griss” and came up with nothing. These are little breadsticks with a strong flavor of tomato and basil. More assertively flavored than the other savory biscuit, these little bites were superior yet still not comparable to the sweet treats. Still, the light, crisp breadsticks would make a fine bar snack, and so I give them a pass. (UPDATE II: Joel says “griss” is colloquial term for “bread,” so these are srack breadsticks.)
In the end, our 6-flavor “tasting bar” was a solid 4/6 for success. I admire The Jungle Stand for attempting to include so many different flavors, from the light sweetness of the sfogliantine to the deeper, bittersweet flavor of the amaretti, to the less successful savory options. For our first box, we were well-pleased, and look forward to sharing what we get in next month’s shipment.