For almost two years, specials parcel have been landing on my doorstep each and every month. Clothed in humble brown cardboard, each brimming with the sights, smells and tastes of far away lands, each has been a delight to open. They tend to magically arrive on days that the world seems to be horrid, and make it a much nicer place. I’ve ripped them open in the train station, on my lap in our lounge and at my work desk aside an eager cup of tea waiting for the foodie tidbits inside.
Each box or package though limited in budget – intentionally to make fair on everyone – hearkens from far away lands, some as close as Milton Keynes, many across continental Europe and two very special boxes from across the Atlantic. One box resulted in connecting with the gorgeous +Azlin Bloor and two years of literary discussions, another found myself eating pastrami in an immortalised diner on the mean streets of New York. Life is a funny thing, isn’t it?
This month’s parcel came from a town a touch closer – the beautiful city of York, somewhere I’ve discovered has close family ties – you know the Shambles right? My distant family have a shop there and have done since medieval times. Not bad for a wee Kiwi bird thousands of miles from her land.
It may not be such a surprise then, that the psychic link that seems to pass from one Foodie Penpal to another (it’s rather well documented in fact) tee-ed my May parcel to contain a morsel that caused me to close my eyes and feel lost in the chatter of childhood. Strawberry Meringues. To me, strawberry meringues are synonymous with my adopted (adopted as in we attached ourselves) Nana’s sunlight porch, with tiny dogs yapping excitedly as they wove through our short legs. We then return inside the crocheted heaven to re-thumb the Gnome book. I’ve read that book more often than most people have read Harry Potter. I knew more about Dutch Gnome architecture, education, courtship, medicine, industry, and relationships with other mythical creatures, than I did human at that point in time.
Luckily I’ve learned a lot since then.
My sumptuous May parcel felt like it was neverending with a lovely card, traditionally made clotted cream toffee, ginger fudge, oat cakes and a Madras curry kit. Cat, my penpal this month is seriously similar to me. Sweet, with a feisty edge.
Then, then I lifted out the piece de resistance – a hazelnut Florentine from the infamous Betty’s tea shop. Nutty richness encased in chewy caramel toffee, enrobed in dark chocolate. You seriously can’t go wrong. Thank you Cat, it was simply amazing. Sadly I didn’t get to photograph it all as I was too busy *ahem, eating* to get proper snaps of the everything. Bad blogger. I’m glad to say that my penpal recipient reported back having enjoyed hers, a variety of unusual snacks from my favourite shop.