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RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review + Coupon– October 2016

This post may contain referral/affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

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RawSpiceBar is a monthly subscription that sends freshly ground, small batch spice blends and recipes that utilize them.

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My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

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The Subscription Box: RawSpiceBar

The Cost: $8 per month

COUPON: Use coupon code SPICEFLAVOR to save 50% off your first box!

The Products: 3 freshly ground spice blends from one country or region, enough to create 3 dishes serving 6-10 people.

Ships to: US (with free shipping) and Canada (for an additional fee).

Check out all of our RawSpiceBar reviews and visit the Food Subscription Box Directory for more food boxes!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

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Each month, RawSpiceBar sends spices from one region or geographical area. This is the “Oktoberfest Spice Box.” (I’m so excited that this month’s box draws inspiration from Oktoberfest! What a fun and perfectly seasonal choice!)

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This month’s recipes are Horseradish & Mustard Cabbage, German Chicken Schnitzel, and Caraway Cheese Soft Pretzels.

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Schnitzel Spices, 0.3 oz.

The first blend included this month is a mix of juniper berries, cayenne peppers, bay leaves, and black peppercorn spices.

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Horseradish & Mustard Seeds, 0.3 oz.

The second is a combination of toasted brown mustard seeds, toasted yellow mustard seeds, and horseradish powder. The recommended recipe for this spice blend is Horseradish & Mustard Cabbage. There aren’t too many foods I just really don’t like, but, unfortunately, cabbage is one of them. I’m happy to eat it from time to time, but I’ll always pick something else when given a choice.

After poking around on the internet for inspiration, I decided to use this spice blend in a salad.

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I combined arugula, sliced apples, and walnuts in a large bowl, and I dressed the salad with a mix of citrus-infused olive oil, white wine vinegar, RawSpiceBar’s Horseradish & Mustard Seeds (I used half of the packet), salt, and pepper.

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I really liked the way this salad turned out! The horseradish was pretty mild, but it did add a nice kick that worked surprisingly well with the sweetness of the apples.

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Caraway, Fennel, & Anise Bread, 0.3 oz.

The third spice in this box is a mix of caraway seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, and coriander, and the suggested recipe is pretzels!

I LOVE making pretzels, so I couldn’t wait to try out this recipe! I read through it before getting started, though, and there were a couple of red flags. First of all, the recipe called for yeast to be sprinkled over some warm water, but it didn’t specify how much water the recipe required. Secondly, baking soda was listed as an ingredient, but it was never mentioned in the instructions. Most shockingly, though, it omitted what is arguably the most important part of making pretzels: boiling them! Boiling pretzels in an alkaline solution (baking soda and water, typically) is essential for creating their traditional chewy texture and even their quintessential “pretzel flavor.” I simply can not believe this recipe didn’t include instructions for boiling the pretzels!

Luckily, I have a favorite recipe that I’ve used many times before that I decided to follow instead. (It’s a great recipe that has always turned out wonderfully for me. Here’s a link, in case anyone wants to try it. The recipe is actually for pretzel rolls, but there’s no reason the same dough can’t be used for twisty pretzels.)

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I halved the recipe, and I added half of the provided spice blend. (So, if you follow the recipe as-is, use the whole packet!)

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I let the dough rise for about an hour and a half, and I then portioned it into 8 rolls.

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After resting for about 15 minutes, I boiled all of the rolls in a combination of water, baking soda, and sugar. As soon as the dough heated up in the water, my kitchen started to smell like pretzels!

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I boiled all of the rolls for 30 seconds on each side (the longer you boil them, the chewier the crust will be) and then transferred them to a baking sheet. I sliced the tops with a sharp knife, sprinkled on some salt, and transferred them to the oven.

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The rolls baked for about 22 minutes. When they were ready, I took them out of the oven to cool.

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These rolls are, without doubt, the best bread I’ve ever made at home. I’ve made the basic pretzel roll recipe many times before (and I LOVE it), but RawSpiceBar’s blend of caraway, fennel, and anise added subtle layers of flavor to these rolls that transformed them something unique and really special.

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They’re delicious on their own, but they’re even better when loaded up with hot roast beef, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and horseradish mustard. Making bread from scratch at home is definitely a chore, but, when I took my first bite of this bad boy, I knew it was totally worth the effort.

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In keeping with the Oktoberfest theme, my husband and I paired our salad and sandwiches with some ice cold beer. Ahhhhhh.

Verdict: I think “Oktoberfest” is a great theme for this month’s RawSpiceBar box, and I had a lot of fun playing around with the spices. I love the meal I made, and I’m particularly pleased with how the caraway, fennel, & anise blend worked in the pretzel rolls. It’s disappointing, of course, that RawSpiceBar’s pretzel recipe was off, but this isn’t exactly a new problem. Looking on the bright side, I’m pleased that I was able to spot the mistakes before I got started, so I could swap in a familiar recipe instead. Without fail, RawSpiceBar always sends blends that are fresh and creative, but it is a little sad that I’ve come to expect their recipes to contain typos and flaws. If you like cooking with new spices and exploring different cuisines, RawSpiceBar might be the subscription for you.  Just be aware that the recipes they send can be trouble.

What do you think about RawSpiceBar’s Oktoberfest Spice Box?

Written by Lindsey Morse

Lindsey Morse

Lindsey is a professional baker by day and a subscription box junkie by night. She first subscribed to Birchbox in 2013 and her addiction grew when she signed up for Graze, PopSugar, and Knoshy. Her favorite part about being a subscription box addict is discovering new products- especially gourmet goodies, beauty products, and kitchen tools!
All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.

13 Comments

  1. It should also be mentioned that there is a pervasive problem with customers not receiving their RawSpiceBar shipments. In 8 months, I received only three, and I had to pull teeth with customer service to even get those ones. After looking around online, LOTS of others have this problem. Customer service showed me no concern to make it right. I tried to leave a review/comment on their website, but their reviews are censored (note they are all 4 and 5 star reviews, though it only takes a quick peek on the internet to find MANY complaints) and mine was never published. I LOVE the concept of this subscription and I could even deal with the screwy recipes well enough, but never receiving shipments and poor customer service are deal breakers. It’s too bad.

  2. Lindsey, a nice review and another great save on your part with the ongoing battle of the screwed up recipes with this subscription. I am curious if you have ever reached out to this company–I think they have an obligation to know why people like me are too concerned with their inattention to details, not wanting to subscribe? I think if it was a once in a while mistake it wouldn’t be a big deal but it happens every month. Anyway, thanks again for the suggestions and the awesome pictures.

  3. Can I just say this was a great review? The photos, the salad idea and pretzel dough recipe – all good stuff! Great job!!!

  4. This is one of my favorite subs – almost a year now. No biggie to me when there is an error on the recipe cards. I just love getting these spice combos. Great deal at $6 or $8 (I am locked in at 6.00).

  5. This sub always seemed to borderline on a scam for me. I cancelled after the 1st month, but it took 2 months of back and forth emails to get my first and only order of 3 packets of somewhat offbeat spices delivered. The willingness to help track an order (which, by the way, wasn’t tracked at all for mine) and the basic writing skills of the customer service agents was lacking. I did like the idea, but I’m better off at my local spice shop for small, trial packets.

  6. Seriously, if they got their act together enough to fix their publications, I’d probably re-subscribe and it would be a favorite to gift to my foodie friends. I check these reviews every month…hoping…

    I ended my subscription because their lack of attention to detail regarding the “face” of their company makes me question their operation as a whole. I’m not super thrilled about food items coming from a company that isn’t fastidious about every step of their process.

  7. Your pretzel rolls are so pretty and that sandwich looks amazing! I have been wanting to make pretzels & beer cheese lately (guess I missed Oktoberfest), so I am going to try out your recipe.

  8. Thanks for the link for the dough recipe! Can’t wait to try it out. I love to cook, hate to bake (strange, I know) but I am trying to step up my baking game! I don’t currently subscribe to this box but am seriously regretting not getting this month’s so I am subscribing now.

  9. I’ve been waiting to read another review on this sub because for the life of me I couldn’t remember what it was called!
    I’ll be renewing (or not) a bunch of subscriptions in December and this one is going on my list pronto!

    Thank You for the info on the recipes possibly being off, and Lordie, those pretzel buns are calling my name.

    I buy spice mixes all the time for chicken or beef, but I rarely see them for regular dishes. I’m not very good at putting together spice flavors on my own- so this sub will be perfect.

    Great review- Thanks!

  10. The bad recipes are why I cancelled my Raw Spice Bar subscription a while ago. 🙁 I clicked this review to see if they’ve gotten better, so it’s sad to see they’re still making silly mistakes. I work in writing/editing, and any decent copy editor would notice most of these omissions or lack of clarity, even if they didn’t understanding cooking enough to know how to fix them…so I wonder if just no one skilled as an editor actually reads these before they go to print.

    • It’s not just that there are omissions; isn’t having correct instructions to go with the unusual spices the whole point of this sub? The recipes aren’t just extras thrown in. I also work in editorial production, and noticing that the cards themselves are on nice stock, with a cohesive design to them, and with food-styled photos, someone was paying attention, just not to the text. Has anyone ever received an explanation from the company?

      • I would love to see someone from the company respond to the monthly mistakes and inattention to detail.

  11. OMG that roast beef sandwich looks delicious!!! Only 9 hours til dinner..crap.

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