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Wednesday 30 January 2013

Sluttery by Post: Deluxebite

If there's one indulgence I cannot ever contemplate giving up, it's good food. The problem is, over the festive period I ate entirely too much of it - chocolates and cheese and puddings and OH NO now all my clothes are so tight they leave marks on me like some terrible form of clothes abuse.

And yet I cannot halt my greed for gourmet, regardless of my so far disastrous January Guilt diet. Then the nice folks at Deluxebite offered to send me their January box - aka The Detox Box - of delicious, natural, artisan foods. Oh, sweet heaven.

So how does Deluxebite work? They send you a fantastic monthly box of 5 gourmet and artisan food samples for you to include in meals or munch as snacks. You can choose your subscription length, but a one-off box is £20. Sounds good, but it gets better: they're also super-kind - for every box bought they donate one meal to a foodbank to help hungry families in the UK.

It's not always just healthy stuff - each month has a different theme, for example their December "Christmas Indulgence" box contained tutti frutti jam and PEANUT BUTTER PIE (I am hyperventilating.)

So what detox treats did I get with my naughty but nice January box?

I started with the Black Label coffee. Smooth, nutty, and an excuse to show off my cafetiere at work and deign to share my treasure with only the most appreciative coffee-drinkers like some ego-maniacal coffee queen. It was fun.

Then came Kiwi and Apple Crisps - thinly-sliced, air-dried pieces of fruit that made for a nice smug snack to nibble on during my lunch while everyone around me had guilt pangs with every handful of their Hula Hoops. Okay, so they're not as nice as Hula Hoops, but they do have a moreish tangy taste and a satisfying crunch.

Third up, I used the sugar-free chutney. The one I got sent was caramelised onion flavour (result!) and was the most delicious ever addition to my boring ham sandwich. I can think of about a squillion tasty uses for this that - most importantly - do away with the need to caramelise onions when I'm feeling lazy, so it will be staying a store-cupboard staple for a while to come.

Butternut Squash Relish sounds as scrumptious as it is: I tried it with some blue cheese and wine as the deluxebite guys suggested and it took my cheese-lust to a whole new level - adding warmth, smooth texture and tons of flavour. I'm also looking forward to adding it to soups and stews, but - as you can probably tell - I've been too lazy to do that this month.

Lastly, and maybe even best, I sampled the venison chorizo. Never have two words made me so salivatingly-delirious. I have only had a teeny bite so far (a truly wonderful moment) but tomorrow I am putting it in a hearty and healthy butterbean, cider and thyme stew.

So, is it worth the £20? That depends. If - like this month - you really enjoy all five ingredients when you wouldn't necessarily have thought to try them before, then I think it's really worthwhile. But delicious though the ingredients were, I'm not sure their actual value is worthy of spending twenty quid a month.

That said, it introduced me to exciting new foods with zero effort required, and that's something I'd find hard to resist - just probably not every month.

My box has certainly helped make January a much tastier month than I'd expected.

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