Mantry Subscription Box Review – February 2016
Mantry is a subscription box that describes itself as “the modern man’s pantry.”
They ship gourmet food items in their signature wooden crate.
Mantry sent us this box at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: Mantry
The Cost: $49 bimonthly (Previously $75 per month. See below for details.)
The Products: Artisan foods for the modern man’s pantry.
Ships to: US only.
This month’s theme is “Cabin Fever.”
Each box comes with a fold out card detailing the producers behind the food included and where in the US they’re based.
This box also contained a note from Mantry’s curator.
Primo Berry Pasilla Preserves (10 oz.)- $9
Pasilla peppers are one of the “holy trinity” of dried chiles used in Mexican mole, and their flavor can be described as having “berry-raisin-cocoa overtones.” I love the idea of adding chiles to fruity jam, and the I’m pleased to report that the combination is delicious. Primo recommends pairing the jam with brie, Telaggio, and aged sheep’s milk cheeses.
Honey Chipotle Peanut Butter by Eliot’s Adult Nut Butters (12 oz.)- $8.99
Chipotle and peanut butter? Honestly, I had some reservations about this flavor combination, but I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I might. The chipotle peppers add a smoky tingle that turns this peanut butter into something totally unexpected. I don’t know that I’d like to eat this on a PB&J, but I think it would be great with veggies.
Ranchline All Natural Ch’arki (2 oz.)- $6
Jerky pops up pretty regularly in Mantry boxes. (Vegetarians should note that there’s usually at least one meaty product in every box.) I like jerky, and I tore into this packet before fully investigating the label. I immediately discovered that this isn’t ordinary jerky. Ch’arki is made with lamb, so the flavor is much richer and gamier than the beef jerky I usually buy. I think this is my first time trying lamb jerky, and I like it.
I love foods that blend sweet and salty flavors, and this toffee perfectly balances the two. It’s chocolaty and buttery and made with real black licorice, star anise, Pernod liqueur, and black Hawaiian lava salt. This product won a 2015 gold sofi award in the category of “Outstanding Chocolate.” I’m not surprised; this candy is packed full of fantastic flavor!
Cocoa Sante Hot Cocoa Assortment (4 packets)- $8
When I think of cabin cuisine, hot chocolate is the first thing that comes to mind. After a long day of skiing, there’s nothing like curling up in front of the fireplace with a mug of cocoa! This assortment includes the following flavors: Azteca (cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, and a dash of chipotle pepper), Nor-Easter (mellow cocoa and malt), Kashmir Spice (cocoa with cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger), and Parisian (dark chocolate flakes, vanilla, and cocoa).
Ethiopian Sidamo Whole Bean Coffee by Dave’s (12 oz.)- $11.95
Whether it’s a hot cup first thing in the morning or a spiked mug after dinner, coffee is another cabin must-have! Dave’s Ethiopian Sidamo is medium roasted and is citrusy, crisp, and chocolaty.
Update: Mantry recently announced that they will be making a few changes to their subscription. Boxes will now ship every two months (instead of monthly) and will cost $49 (vs. $75). The first shipment any subscriber receives will come packaged in Mantry’s signature wooden crate, and subsequent boxes will ship in a mailer. More details about these changes can be found here.
Verdict: Mantry always sends an incredible selection of artisanal products from small domestic producers, and I like the items they picked to fit this month’s “Cabin Fever” theme. I think the coffee and cocoa are especially fitting. (Who doesn’t enjoy an Irish coffee or a hot mug of cocoa after a long day skiing?) While I’m almost always impressed by the items Mantry sources for their subscription, I have struggled with the cost to value ratio of their boxes. This box, for example, included $50 worth of products. For $75 per month, that’s not great value, so I’m pleased to see they’re substantially lowering the cost. If they can maintain their current average value and strong curation, I think the changes they’re making will be a great improvement.
Have you tried any of the products in this month’s Mantry? What do you think about the recently announced changes?