CrateChef Subscription Box Review + Coupon – April/May 2017
CrateChef is a bi-monthly subscription box curated by top-name chefs and sends artisan foods, recipes, and kitchen supplies.
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: CrateChef
The Cost: $45 a box (plus $6 shipping per box) or you may purchase a one-time gift box for $49 a box (plus $6 shipping)
LIMITED TIME OFFER: BOGO! Now through April 30th, use coupon code SPRINGFEVER to get a FREE bonus CrateChef box when you sign up for a subscription! (Regularly $45 per box)The Products: food products and cooking items from a top-name chef (different chefs curate each box)
COUPON: Use code ADDICTION10 to save 10% off your first box!
Ships to: U.S.
Good to know: As of 4/27, this box is still available! (When you sign up, you can choose which box you want to receive first.)
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
Each CrateChef box comes with a letter from the chef & curator. This month is curated by Chef Jim Smith, the Executive Chef of the state of Alabama!
The letter also outlines all of the products included and where they’re sourced from, with tips and more.
CrateChef also includes some handy recipe cards. This month’s recipes are a little more complex, so there aren’t as many as last month:
I really need to try this recipe – brown sugar shortbread with curry? My brain cannot imagine that flavor so I’m very intrigued!
The back of that card has some helpful tips for brewing tea, in case you’d like to enjoy some with your shortbread. I usually associate the south with sweet iced tea, but in his letter, Chef Jim talks about afternoon tea as a southern tradition too.
This spicy pepper jelly and shrimp appetizer also sounds incredible, but it’s something I’m not likely to make unless I am planning on having company.
Finally, I wouldn’t expect any southern-themed food box to be complete without a recipe for barbecue:
I can’t wait to dig in! I’m really curious about the items that Chef Jim included this month since the recipes seem to cover a lot of various styles and tastes.
As a Pennsylvanian, there’s not a huge barbecue culture here, so I’ve never heard of a white BBQ sauce before! I spent a lot of time looking at this bottle before I looked at the ingredient list. Would it taste like ranch dressing? Was it like sausage gravy, warm and peppery and spicy?
I opened it up and took a little taste – it was tart and a little peppery, and not at all what I expected! White sauce is a vinegar-based sauce. I’ve never tried anything like this before, so I’m excited to test this one out, especially since it was the first place winner at the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce Contest in Kansas City! The included recipe card suggests lightly coating your chicken after cooking.
We used the included recipe card to cook up some chicken thighs!
I plated them with some grits from last month’s box, and a simple green salad. I followed the marinade instructions but ended up with boneless/skinless thighs because that’s all my grocery store had. I also cooked these in a cast iron pan because we don’t have a grill.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but this was really great. I rarely buy chicken thighs, but they’re so juicy and are honestly a pretty forgiving cut of meat. The spicy buttermilk marinade was excellent and the vinegar based sauce was definitely different – I think pairing it with the creamy grits worked well to help balance things out.
Even though this recipe required a little bit of prep work (to marinade the chicken for 4-6 hours first), it was definitely worth it, and the actual meal came together really quickly.
Arabelle Pepper Jelly with Miso and Spices, 8 oz – Value $8.50
Hot pepper jelly! Here’s another item I’ve never tried before, even though I love spicy food. I have seen pepper jelly at Amish markets but (just like those curried shortbread cookies) I couldn’t imagine how it would taste.
This is made with jalapeno as well as sriracha sauce, so you know it’s going to have some heat. Miso seems like such an interesting addition here.
I tasted this plain, just a little at first because I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. It’s definitely sweet and, as I thought, packs a decent amount of heat! I’m not sure if I tasted the miso right away, but I thought it deepened the overall flavor a bit.
Again, this was better than expected. I did go back for more and tried to imagine other ways to use it – honestly, it would be good plain on toast, and I think it would be delicious paired with a ham and cheese sandwich. I plan on trying it with cream cheese soon, which it seems is a bit of a southern tradition (and sounds like a great quick party snack).
Peanut Depot Dry Roasted Salted Peanuts, 8 oz – Value $4?
CrateChef seems to be great at including these kinds of products from small, local producers that are hard to buy online. Peanut Depot has been producing salted roasted peanuts in Birmingham, Alabama since 1907! That’s a lot of peanuts!
Dry-roasted peanuts in the shell are really fun – my husband loves to take them to baseball games and make a big mess snacking on them throughout the game. I haven’t had any since last summer.
When I first pulled these out of the box, I was a little skeptical. Peanuts are definitely not a high-value item and I usually expect items that I can cook with, in CrateChef. But as I shared this bag with my husband, he reminded me that A) the in-shell peanuts can sometimes be tough for us to find locally, and B) these ones, in particular, were really, really good. This old-timey snack definitely got me in the mood for baseball season and left me wanting more.
Front Porch Special Tea, Sample Size – Value $4?
This black tea sample is made with bergamot, jasmine, and spearmint. I like tea, and I’ve definitely never had those flavors together, so I couldn’t wait to try this. This tea also won an Award from Southern Living in 2015: “Piper & Leaf’s Front Porch Special Produces the Perfect Pitcher of Iced Tea”
I love the pretty purple flowers! This bag came with enough for about 4 or 5 cups, more if you rebrew your tea leaves.
This was absolutely delicious – my favorite item to sample from this month’s box. It’s so hard to explain the flavors! The spearmint, jasmine, and bergamot are all there, but subtly enough that they don’t overtake each other. I drank this hot but I can definitely see why it won an award for Best Iced Tea – it has a classic Southern sweet tea flavor. I am definitely picking up some of this so we can keep a pitcher in the fridge this summer!
To ensure you’d be able to brew the tea for a proper southern tea experience, CrateChef included a couple of items for your kitchen:
Stainless Steel Tea Strainer – Value $9? (I couldn’t find this exact one online, but it looks similar to this one on Amazon)
I have a variety of metal mesh tea brewing devices, most of them made with woven wire. This little guy is really nicely made for such a small thing! The holes are tiny, so when I tested it out, no tea leaves escaped into my cup. Plus it was super easy to clean.
It includes a rest, too, so you can pull your strainer out and leave it here for re-brewing.
And – the gem of this month’s box:
Teacup and saucer from Earthborn Pottery – Value $32?
(I couldn’t find this exact piece online, but small mugs from Earthborn without a saucer are $32. Since this doesn’t have a handle but does include a saucer I’m guessing it’s similar in overall value, maybe a little more.)
The colors in this little cup and matching saucer are beautiful, I couldn’t stop turning it over in my hands! I love that Chef Jim selected this local company to produce hand thrown pottery for this box. He notes that Earthborn has produced dishes for many restaurants he’s worked in, which is a great personal touch.
There’s a little spiral design emphasized by the glaze and echoed again in the saucer.
Can I say how much I love that it’s a teacup with a saucer? I own a lot of mugs, but I don’t own any cups with saucers. I’ve been using this every morning for tea or coffee and it makes my trip upstairs to my office SO much easier – any drips land on the saucer instead of on my pants or my stairs.
This mug fits perfectly in my hands, too. It’s a small size perfect for cupping tea and soaking up a little bit of warmth.
Even though I’ve come to expect cooking gadgets in this box, I was really thrilled with this selection. It made me feel like I was actually having a little afternoon tea all to myself and definitely had me feeling the whole spirit of the box.
Verdict: This is my second month reviewing CrateChef and I was again happy with this box! Even though the food items this month were scattered across a lot of different themes, my overall experience was a good one. Value-wise my estimates bring us to around $66 at retail prices total, which is very comfortably over the $45 price of this box.
What do you think of CrateChef?