Mantry Subscription Box Review – July 2015
Mantry is a subscription box that describes itself as “the modern man’s pantry.”
Each month they ship gourmet food items in their signature wooden crate.
Mantry sent us this box for review purposes. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: Mantry
The Cost: $75
The Products: Artisan foods for the modern man’s pantry.
Ships to: US only.
This month’s theme is “Grillfest.” I love the punny band names!
Each box comes with a fold out card detailing the producers behind the food included and where in the country they’re based.
This box also included a note from Mantry’s curator.
Edison Organic Quinoa Mac & Cheese (6 oz.)– $5.88
Edison Q Mac is “organic gluten-free quinoa pasta and premium organic medium-aged white cheddar cheese.” The packaging is great, and I love that this is kind of like a high-end version of Kraft macaroni and cheese.
Quinn Hickory Smoked Cheddar Popcorn (2 bags)-$4.99
I’ve tried Quinn popcorn before, and I’m a fan. Unlike most microwave popcorn, the popcorn and flavorings are packaged separately. So, you pop the “naked” popcorn first and then pour over the oil and seasoning. I like that this allows you to control how much goes onto the popcorn, and I think their flavors are great. I like the Hickory Smoked Cheddar, but I think my favorite flavor has to be their Vermont Maple & Sea Salt.
Elvio’s Chimichurri (8 oz.)- $17.50
Chimichurri is a classic Argentine green sauce usually served with grilled meat. Traditionally, it’s made from parsley, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and oregano. Elvio’s Chimichurri is made by hand from fresh ingredients. Impressively, it was a 2014 finalist for the Martha Steward American Made awards.
Rick’s Picks Smokra (15 oz.)- $9.99
I love pickles, and I ESPECIALLY love pickled okra. Rick’s Picks Smokra is made with Spanish smoked paprika, and it has a deep, zesty flavor. I’ll likely eat most of this straight out of the jar, but Mantry suggests using the Smokra (and the brine) to make a Red Snapper cocktail.
Southern Soul Dust (8 oz.)-$6.42
Southern Soul Dust is a dry rub made on St. Simon’s Island in Georgia. It’s a blend of garlic, peppers, salt, turbinado sugar, and spices.
Imperial Chorizo (6 oz.)- $14.95
I can’t find this chorizo for sale online, so I’ve estimated the value. Imperial Chorizo is made at the foot of the Adirondacks and utilizes classic Spanish techniques. This is another product that made it to the finals of the 2014 Martha Stewart American Made contest!
Gin & Tonic Carry On Cocktail Kit– $24 (BONUS item for Mantry Black subscribers.)
This kit provides everything (except the alcohol) you need to make a gourmet G&T at 30,000 feet. It includes: tonic syrup, a ½ oz. jigger, a bar spoon, and a linen coaster.
Mantry reached out to let me know that this kit is a special bonus item for subscribers who have reached Mantry Black status. (Mantry Black status is achieved automatically after 6-months of subscribing.) Mantry Black subscribers can expect a special bonus item approximately once per quarter.
Each month, Mantry posts recipes on their website that incorporate some of the ingredients they include in the box. This month, I decided to make Chorizo Mac & Cheese and a Red Snapper w/ Shrimp & Smokra.
Recipe #1- Red Snapper w/ Shrimp & Smokra
A Red Snapper is a gin-based alternative to a Bloody Mary, and I love that this version incorporates some of the Smokra Pickle Brine. (I’m a sucker for a briny cocktail!) Also, I think the addition of grilled shrimp and Southern Soul Dust keep this drink perfectly in line with the grilling theme.
I’m a fan of this smoky, spicy cocktail, and I like the grilled shrimp garnish. I think this is a great cocktail to sip on while grilling outside. It’s kind of like a cocktail and an appetizer in one!
Recipe #2- Chorizo Mac & Cheese
Mac and cheese is one of my favorite indulgences, so I couldn’t wait to try this slightly jazzed-up version made with the Q Mac. I’ll be honest- I’m always a little hesitant when it comes to gluten free pasta because I’ve had some truly mediocre versions in the past. Mantry rarely lets me down with their food picks, though, so I set my skepticism aside, and I got on with preparing the dish. (Red Snapper in hand, of course!)
The instructions for the Q Mac are pretty similar to Kraft. You boil the pasta until al dente and stir in a sauce made from milk, butter, and a packet of powdered cheese.
While the pasta was cooking, I chopped some chorizo and sautéed it until it was crispy. (I snuck a taste, of course. SO good!) When the pasta was done, I made and stirred in the cheese sauce and added the crispy chorizo.
To finish the dish, I stirred it together, transferred the macaroni and cheese to a bowl, and topped it with chopped parsley and a drizzle of the chorizo cooking oil.
First of all, I’m really impressed with the gluten free pasta, itself. The texture is great, and it has that same familiar, chewy bite I expect from regular pasta. I’m also impressed by the flavor of the Q Mac cheese sauce. Unlike the familiar blue box stuff, this creamy sauce has the subtle taste of real cheese. It would have been delicious on its own, but the simple addition of chorizo and chopped parsley turned this into something special. It was rich, delicious, and deceptively simple.
Verdict: Mantry does a great job curating boxes around a theme. I’m always excited to see what theme they’ll pick and which items they’ll feature. I also like that they come up with relatively easy recipes that utilize their products in fun and creative ways. I love the recipes I’ve made so far from this box, and I’m looking forward to trying Elvio’s Chimichurri on some grilled skirt steak (another Mantry recipe featured on their website this month). When it comes to value, this month’s items total about $55 (not including the bonus item for Mantry Black subscribers). Mantry doesn’t normally break even with its cost, and this is within the range I’ve come to expect from them. This isn’t a high-value box, but, for me, the thoughtful product selection and excellent curation help make up for that. It’s one of the boxes I look forward to most each month!
What do you think of Mantry’s Grillfest Box?