The Fare Trade Food Box Review + Coupon– October 2016
The Fare Trade is a monthly subscription box that sends small-batch, American-made gourmet products.
Every box is curated by a different chef who hand-picks the items in the box and writes a collection of recipes that incorporate some of the month’s featured items. Subscribers can also access online video tutorials.
Good to know: you can skip any month (boxes are announced on the 1st of every month, and the skipping window remains open through the 4th) and cancel your subscription through the Fare Trade website.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: The Fare Trade
The Cost: $65 per month (less with longer subscription commitments)
COUPON: Use code MSA15 to save 15% off any subscription!
The Products: Chef-curated products, step-by-step recipes, kitchen hacks, and techniques to help you take your cooking to the next level.
Ships to: US
Keep track of your subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription box list or wishlist!
This month’s featured chef is Eduardo Ruiz, head chef at LA’s Chicas Tacos and Public Beer + Wine Shop. I’m not familiar with Ruiz, but I’m impressed to see that he was a 2014 semi-finalist for the James Beard “Rising Star Chef” award! This booklet provides some info on Ruiz and outlines the items he selected for this box.
Ruiz also created several recipes for this box. (I love the mini clothespin used to secure them!) These recipes all utilize one or more of the items in the box. They are BBQ Portobello, Cubano, Lamb Rib, Confit Chicken, and Tostada.
Now, on to the products!
Temecula Olive Oil Company Reserve Late Harvest Citrus Olive Oil (100 ml.)- Value $5.86?
I say this all the time, but I absolutely love receiving olive oil in subscription boxes. It’s an item that I use daily in my cooking, and I always enjoy sampling new brands and flavors. This citrus oil is really special. The citrus flavor, which reminds me of orange rind, is very mild, and it doesn’t overpower the natural flavor of the oil. I think I’ll likely use this as a salad dressing or a dipping sauce because I’m not sure the subtle flavor would hold up well to cooking. Also, I should point out that I couldn’t find this particular oil for sale online, so I’ve estimated the value based on similarly flavored oils from the same brand.
Pacific Pickle Works Jalabeaños (16 oz.)- Value $9.95
Okay, first of all, how much do I love that these are called “Jalabeaños”? What a cute and clever name! These pickled green beans are the recipient of a 2015 Good Food Award, and I can see why they medaled. The beans have a nice tangy flavor with the perfect punch of heat. They’re crisp, too. I love making Bloody Marys with an obscene number of garnishes (olives and pickled beans, and celery, and bacon…), and I have a feeling that’s how I’ll end up using these.
Tru Roots Organic Sprouted Quinoa Trio (8 oz.)- Value $5.45
I rarely cook with quinoa, but I’m trying to incorporate it into my diet more regularly. I really love the tricolored look of this blend, and I’m excited to give it a try. Chef Ruiz included a delicious-sounding recipe for Lamb Rib in this box that pairs quinoa with blistered tomatoes and goat cheese. I haven’t had a chance to make the Lamb Rib yet (it’s a little fancy and time-consuming for a typical evening meal), but I think it sounds delicious. I might give it a try for my husband’s and my next date night.
Bubba Q Original Recipe Barbeque Sauce (16 oz.)- Value $6.39
Barbecue sauce is another item that I don’t use very often. (Maybe because I don’t grill very regularly?) I really like it, though, and every time I eat bbq I pledge to make it at home more frequently. This tomato-based barbecue sauce has a nice balance of sweet and heat, and I’m definitely going to make a point of grilling with it soon. Maybe I’ll try using it on beer can chicken. I’ve been wanting to try that for awhile!
Bunches & Bunches Red: Dried Chilaca Mole Sauce (15 oz.)- $13.00
This mole sauce is made from a blend of chiles, tomatoes, onions, garlic, pumpkin seeds, almonds, raisins, chocolate, and spices, and it has a rich, subtly sweet flavor with a hint of spice.
I knew that I wanted to try at least one of the recipes in this box, and they all sounded so incredible that it was hard to pick one! Ultimately, I decided to use the Bunches & Bunches Mole Sauce to make Confit Chicken Tacos with Charred Cauliflower, Red Mole, and Cilantro.
I’m a total cooking nerd, and I found all of the recipes in this box really exciting. They’re far more involved and time-intensive than any other recipes I think I’ve ever received in a subscription box, which was both intriguing and a little daunting.
This recipe, for example, included instructions to let the chicken sit overnight with salt and garlic followed by directions to slowly cook the chicken in oil for 12-14 hours— that’s one seriously time-consuming recipe! While I’m often up for a challenging recipe like this when I have a lot of time on my hands (like a rainy weekend), on this occasion I decided to simplify the recipe by roasting the chicken in the oven instead of cooking it confit.
Once the chicken was cooked, I combined it with charred cauliflower, chicken stock, and mole and served it on corn tortillas with some fresh cilantro and walnuts. (Note: the recipe called for pecans, but I subbed in walnuts because I had some on hand.)
There were a couple of issues with this recipe (for example, the ingredient list called for ancho chiles, but they were never mentioned in the actual recipe), but, overall, it was clear and easy to follow. Despite making some changes to the cooking method for the chicken, I was really pleased with how the tacos came out. The mole sauce was layered with flavor, and I liked the combination of chicken and cauliflower.
Verdict: As someone how loves to cook and enjoys trying out new recipes, I had a lot of fun with this box. All of the products are delicious, and I like that the included recipes provide ideas for how to cook with them. I think it’s a lot of fun that every box is curated by a different chef, and I love that the boxes include bespoke recipes. I’m a little concerned that the recipe I tried contained an error, though. It’s always important for recipes to be error-free, but especially important when the recipe is challenging. I look forward to future boxes, so I can find out if this is a one-time issue or an ongoing one. The total value of the items in this box comes to $40.65, which falls significantly short of the $65 cost of the box. For me, though, the curation and chef-designed recipes help make up for the value gap. If you’re interested in subscribing to this box, I’d probably recommend considering a 5-month subscription and using our MSA15 15% off coupon, which brings the per-box cost down to $42.50 per month.
Have you tried The Fare Trade? What do you think of this month’s box?