Looking for a special something for your food-oriented family members this time of year? Avoid the crush at Sur La Table, quell the urge to stick a restaurant gift certificate in an envelope -- a whole slew of companies have popped up with food-related gift box subscriptions. It's a gift that'll keep on giving long after the holiday has passed.
We subscribed to two of them to see how they measure up. Knoshbox, which ships a box of artisan food products monthly, is for foodies who want to try different, well-curated, small-production snacks. Each monthly shipment costs anywhere from $30-$38, once shipping is factored in. A Kitchen Box is geared toward the home cook, with a recipe, a few ingredients, a music download and a kitchen tool. Their boxes can be purchased monthly for $35 or in "seasonal" subscriptions -- three months of shipments for $89.
What does your hard-earned money buy? First of all, both boxes are beautifully put-together, meticulously packaged and aesthetically awesome. Unless you're some Pinterest-posting freak of a homemaker, there's no way anything you package up yourself will look nearly as nice as these two presentations.
In November's shipment, Knoshbox had a "Bourbon and Beer" theme: Every bit of food inside either paired well or was crafted with booze. There was a little packet of Ovenly Old Salties -- peanuts roasted in bacon fat and coated in Old Bay seasoning. There were bourbon marshmallows from Wondermade, bourbon maple syrup from Noble, Castleton Alehouse cheddar crackers, and a "Brewers Bar" from Granola Lab, a fruit and seed bar made with barley malt. Every item in the box is also available for purchase on its own on the Knoshbox site, should you develop a new addiction to bourbon fluff.
A Kitchen Box's autumn "Soup Box" was an absolute adventure to open. Inside were an assortment of goodies all tied to the enclosed creamy carrot soup recipe: a Messermeister Julienne Peeler (a sort of carrot peeler that makes uniform julienned strips), a flour sack towel, a curry powder blend and Sprouties pepitas (pumpkin seeds). They included a free music download from Portland artist Matthew Lindley, and an already-stamped, ready-to-use postcard with a charming carrot photo on the front.
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So -- which to buy? It all comes down to the recipient. If this person likes to play in the kitchen, A Kitchen Box is full of inspiration and truly charming to sort through. With the inclusion of a kitchen utensil, it also feels like a good financial deal -- and a neat way to try a tool you may have never picked up before. But for strictly foodies -- or constant travelers -- Knoshbox is an equally great bet, with well-sized products, fun themes, and exposure to a product before everyone has one.
And either way, they both beat a fruitcake.
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