Transatlantic Foodie Penpals – Special Edition

The highlight of the end of the month for me is opening a carefully picked foodie package from a fellow Foodie somewhere in Europe (this month the East Midlands of England), so imagine my delight in addition this month, upon opening this baby, all the way from the United States of America (is it just me saying that in my head in an American drawl – no? Good).

I tried to resist even opening it until after Dinner the day it arrived, hoping to negate the damage we’d do to our waistlines whilst sampling the box. I managed to leave it alone for at least the duration of Dinner, with only a quick peek. Thankfully Dinner was quick – Everything-in-the-fridge soup takes no time to eat!

Julie(who used to blog at What Julie Eats), thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. Thank you for the time, the thought and the effort you took to send this little piece of America trans-Atlantic to my little patch of Old Blighty! It is fantastic.

Right, where do I begin? (sorry the post it sounds a little hyper, Julie like me leans toward a sweet tooth – yes!)

These 3 held the most fascination in the box for me I think. Us Brits read a lot of American blogs, and everywhere Trader Joes is mentioned, and it always seems to be in connection with really interesting items – don’t these Butterscotches (which I love) look delicious? Look, I’ve got my own Trader Joes stuff now (I’m such a nerdizzle). Julie also send me Taco. Skillet. Sauce. A little bit of a Yank-flavoured swoon – it’s proper Mexican sauce, by Rick Bayless, a celebrity chef who specialises in Mexican food. My hubby even licked his lips in anticipation. I’m also renaming my saucepan a skillet. It just rolls off the tongue. And then, a cinnamon & sugar grinder – how clever! I’ve been enjoying using this to season my morning porridge.

How much did I end up enjoying the butterscotch you ask? That much. Mmmm, perfect, especially warmed slightly.

These Cherries are deliciously tart and the cashew brittle – oh the brittle. Both are really lovely – the Cherries I’ve been eating at work as a snack and the brittle I’ve been rationing out to myself. As Julie points out, it’s very American (this particular kind made by the Amish(!) it’s also very moreish. The chocolate chips – well, we do have these over here too, you can settle the bet with your Gentleman, but I totally agree that one can never have too many chocolate chips, and in the great American tradition, these are earmarked for Chocolate Chip Cookies. How could I not?

Lavender is such a strong childhood smell for me, it’s my Mum’s favourite scent and we always had Lavender plants whilst growing up. The nonpareils we are set to enjoy, and the fruit slice Candies (hehehe, so American to be called Candies, funny that) are fascinating, and probably destined for cupcake decorations. So cute.

I LOVE mango – it must be the Foodie Penpal psychic vibe hitting off again, I’ve just run out of the ones in my desk stash, and these will hopefully last a little longer. The Jelly Beans have some cool flavours – pomegranate – and come with Julie’s personal recommendation. It’s really fun the idiosyncrasies that we appear to have in common – as kids we adored fruit strips (though we called them by another name) and I still buy these today…

I’m sad to report one small casualty during the journey (or possibly my excited tearing open of the box) plus a candy bracelet (not pictured). I loved candy bracelets as a kid.

Aren’t these Candies cute, AND patriotic? The peanut chews are a particularly Philadelphia candy, and are delicious.

I can feel my waistline expanding as I type.

Last but not by any means least, two Theo bars of chocolate. As you can see, one of them didn’t make it very far out of the box. I can confirm we enjoyed it’s minty deliciousness. I love fresh mint, and the bar had the same pungent earthy-ness as fresh mint, a nice contrast to the Dark Chocolate. Isn’t the wrapper of the second cute?

So far in my explorations of the box, my favourite items are the Chocolate, the Cherries, the Cashew Brittle & the awesome off-piste New York highlights map Julie kindly drafted for me.  Julie, you are an absolute legend. I actually don’t know what karmic waft has lucked me in so well.

I think I’ve discovered a new sweet partner-in-crime, and a new obsession, nut brittle. My Dentist will be thrilled!

Fly Royal Mail, fly! [Edit: the parcel has now arrived on US shores & Julie is itching to crack it open, whew!]

We went a bit off-piste – thank you Twitter – and arranged our swap privately.