January 23, 2006 - Review – Joanne

Chelsea Market Baskets

Order placed: December 26, 2005
Order arrived: January 4, 2006

What I ordered:
Grains of Desire Grinder $5
Crystal Pools Grinder $5
Splash Grinder $5
English Raspberry Jam $8
CMB Lunch $25
Chocolate & Sugar Grinder $5
La Colombe Coffee:
   Nizza 1-lb Whole Beans $15
   Phocea 1-lb Whole Beans $15

Total $83 plus $10 shipping



The Review:

La Colombe CoffeeLa Colombe Coffee: Nizza
La Colombe Coffee: Phocea
I’m liking both the Nizza and the Phocea. Nizza has distinctive notes of almond paste and a hint of chocolate. It’s very smooth and likeable. I’m not loving it though. I would choose it again but not seek it out. Phocea is really definitely almond extract-y. Good. Smooth. Rich. Good - it doesn't have lots of character. It's subtle. Perhaps that's the draw - understated and smooth with the slight almond notes.

GrindersGrains of Desire Grinder
Crystal Pools Grinder
Splash Grinder
Chocolate & Sugar Grinder

Wow – I’m using these almost daily – sometimes twice daily. Grains of Desire is replacing Grains of Paradise, which I normally use.  It contains: black peppercorns, red rose petals, grains of paradise, ginseng, orange rind, nutmeg, cloves – a lot of fun on eggs and well everything it seems. There is a lot of pepper in the mix though so I have to back off a bit for Trent and Jack.

You twist the top and the ground spices fill the plastic lid which then you remove and dump or sprinkle – or you can just remove it first and use it like a regular grinder. I just like these grinders which are made in South Africa by Cape Herb and Spices will be ordering more – the grinders themselves are really sturdy the bottle is recycled glass and the top is plastic – I haven’t checked to see if they are refillable (and so maybe there will be an environmental warning) but I love the design and the product.

I gave Trent the chocolate and sugar grinder to use – it’s hard for him to turn but he loves the idea that he can dump the ground contents by removing the cap – so do I.

Kitchen Garden Preserves: English Raspberry Jam
I really disliked this jam. It takes like raw sugar with raspberry flavor – a bit of molasses from the sugar on the finish. I really really didn’t like it. Very little actual raspberry flavor. It’s languishing in the refrigerator - it did make for a good sugar cookie filling so maybe that's where it's future lies.

CMB Lunch
This was great value – regularly $35 the insulated backpack is perfect for a quick picnic lunch or filling on the run. The bag is tied with a purple ribbon. It comes filled with CMB goodies including:
Jack & Ollies Crisps (thai spice & sea salt) – we tried these a couple of years ago and I’m sure now that the date of consumption had passed or they had achieved some level of rancidity on travel so I dismissed them. These 2 packs however were perfect and very quickly consumed which is a great sign here. I would definitely try them again – and try the other flavors. I liked the Thai Spice as it wasn’t too “hot” and had a really wonderful flavor balance.
Shah Ginger Biscuits – Gingery. Nothing to seek out.
Island Bakery’s Lemon Melts and Oat Crumbles - Good. Whole Foods carry them. They came in individual packs of 2 cookies each. The Oat Crumbles are worth seeking out!
Gasp Mints – mint with lime and a chili pepper finish. Interesting. I would like to try another flavor. Alas they don’t sell these separately. Love the little plastic pack it comes in.
James White’s Organic Apple and Crushed Ginger Juice
A huge surprise that Trent liked it. I didn’t get to taste it. He drank half and then went and got the other half the next morning. I think that probably tells me something. I would reorder it – but CMB doesn’t sell it individually.
Shortbread House of Edingburgh
Two packs: Regualr and Orange Chocolate. Ok. Nothing to be sought out but good.
plus some sugar-free candies from Germany and a tiny round carton of Halen Mon Sea Salt.

Some Concluding Thoughts: Chelsea Market Baskets seem to seek out interesting and delicious new products – they are a wholesale company and many of the products they have in their gift baskets they don’t sell direct to consumers off their website – but they do sell them wholesale. Their gift baskets look really exciting and if I need to send a gift to a foodie, I know I will be considering them first. From my first experience it also looks that their baskets are also good value as well as being nicely presented and filled with interesting items. I would (and will) definitely order again.

Inside the Box

Chocolate and Sugar Grinder

Jack & Ollies

Island Bakery

James White Apple Ginger Juice




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