Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bespoke Post "The Butcher" Review

This is the second "month" (I skipped one!) of my super-awesome Groupon deal for a Bespoke Post subscription.  Ordinarily, a box is a little pricey at $45 US (or $55 for a one-time purchase).  Shipping to Canada is an extra $10 but I have found a few boxes that will not ship here (one I really wanted was "too heavy").  Boxes do ship once a month but you can easily skip a month or swap out the box they've selected for any other available box (there are usually a few new options as well as some old favourites).  If you forget to skip or swap, they will send you your default box for the month, as many of these types of subs do.  Billed as a men's subscription, I prefer to think of Bespoke Post as a lifestyle sub.  True, some boxes seem very geared towards men but a lot of them would appeal to anyone!

As I mentioned, I got in on a fantastic deal with Groupon:  three months of Bespoke Post came to $63.20 US plus shipping (because. . . Canada).  Total.  That means I will be receiving three boxes of my choosing for less than half price :) Although I'd love to keep them all to myself, we will likely be using most of these for Christmas gifts so. . . if you're friends or family and don't want your gifts spoiled, stop reading! You've been warned ;)

This box is entitled The Butcher and focuses on delicious food and a gorgeous butcher block cutting board on which to serve it.  The booklet even offers tips on making the best cheese plate and on knife skills so you can put the board to good use! Here's the first look:

Everything is always well-packaged.  I have never had any breakage with any Bespoke Post offering - and the boxes I order regularly include glassware and glass jars!  One of the jars in this order did have a little leakage, I think (it was a little sticky on the outside), but there is still liquid inside so it was very slight.

And here's everything unboxed:

I love how it all fits the theme pretty well and the recipients of this box are foodies who love to entertain. . . so I think it fits them too!

Edge-Grain Butcher Block, (12" x 14" x 1")
from Brooklyn Butcher Blocks ($48 value? based on this one)

Each Bespoke box has a "hero" item, the one that accounts for most of the volume of the box.  This gorgeous butcher block is it.  It is thick, heavy and beautifully made.  It will be excellent not only for use as a cheese board, but as a regular cutting board as well.  And it's so lovely, I'd leave it on my counter all the time too!

Now, to round out the theme, food stuffs:

Bacon Pickles (Vegetarian), 16oz
from Unbound Pickling ($8.99 value)

This was an optional item in this box.  We could also have elected to receive a 5oz Sopressata from Creminelli Fine Meats (approx. $12.50 value) but we thought this was the more unique item.  Where I live, there are a lot of excellent Italian delis and cheese shops, but I have never seen a bacon pickle! These pickles actually don't contain any bacon but do have a hickory smoke flavour - hence the name.  They look really interesting!

Pickled Mustard Seeds, 2oz
from Ft. Greene Farms (approx. $2.67 value)

This is the jar that had a bit of a leak but there doesn't seem to be any product missing - it just settled a bit.  These mustard seeds are described as "tangy and vinegary, with a caviar-like texture that bursts with flavor." They can be used as you would use a mustard (on a sandwich, in a dip, in potato salad) or to add a little zip to your meat / cheese board.  Fancy!

Charred Sriracha Sauce, 2 oz
from Ft. Greene Farms (approx. $3 value)

While we love sriracha sauce (so spicy, so delicious!), I'm not sure our gift recipients do so we may end up getting to keep this one :) This is a small batch sriracha with roasted chilies (instead of fermented) to provide a "more balanced flavor and richer color." Mmm!

"Camp" Drinking Chocolate, 1.4oz
from Treehouse Chocolate Co. ($3 value)

Tee hee! I've commented in the past how Bespoke sometimes manages to use the most "hipster" products / companies I've ever heard of (that's a good thing, just a little tongue-in-cheek) and this is no exception.  This is the most expensive package of instant coffee / hot chocolate I've ever seen and is from a company that is all about ethical, organic chocolate / coffee. . . from Oregon. . . of course :) To be honest, while I'm sure this is delicious and all, I'm not seeing a strong connection to the theme of the box - it's foodie and fancy but doesn't really seem to connect to the butcher block / cheese board theme.  I'd rather have seen some artisan flatbreads or something perhaps?

Honey Sticks, set of three
from Bee Local ($1.20 value)

Raw, unfiltered honey that can be stirred into tea, eaten as-is or drizzled on soft cheeses, to fit the theme.  Not the most outstanding item but it does fit the theme and serving cheese with honey is not something I've done before.  This box is making me want to throw a party and serve cheeses!

Overall Verdict

This box has an overall value of just under $70 (more if I had selected the meat option instead of the vegetarian one) which is a good price point for a Christmas gift - an excellent one considering the deal I got on it! If I had paid full price plus the $10 shipping fee, I might not be quite as happy about that.  Generally, though, I find that Bespoke Post does an excellent job curating the box - selecting items to make the most of the "hero" item, while following a theme.  I do think that, aside from the drinking chocolate, this was also the case here.  And I really can't deny the quality of these items - the foods are from small companies with a unique point-of-view (ethical, small-batch, raw, etc.) and the butcher block will be used for years to come.  Well done, Bespoke Post!

As always, if this piques your interest in Bespoke Post, I would love it if you would use my referral links to make your purchase :) And if you do it this weekend (today, tomorrow or Monday), you will receive a FREE Black Box with your $45 purchase (it will be automatically added at the checkout)! I don't know what's inside but I know my husband will be finding it under the tree Christmas morning! So excited!

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