Interested in having gourmet ingredients from countries around the world delivered straight to your door? Try the World does just that– each month, they ship out specialty food items from a featured country. This month– Italy! Please Note: Try the World sent me their Italy box in exchange for my honest Try the World Review.
Last summer, the husband and I strapped on our backpacks, got on an airplane, and headed to Italy. Hours later, after running full-speed through a Moscow airport, vowing never to take a budget flight with a too-short layover again, blundering through my un-fluent Italian phrases to find the shuttle from the airport to the train station, and finally collapsing onto the bed in our tiny, non-air-conditioned hotel room, I sighed in happiness. “Now, we eat!” It didn’t take long to find food– we were in Florence, and food was everywhere. If you haven’t eaten your way through Italy– what stood out to me most was the quality of the food. The pasta was fresh, and everything I put in my mouth just exploded with flavor. So, as you can imagine– when Try the World offered to send me their Italy box– I was ecstatic! First of all– I would get to try Italian food again without paying for a plane ticket, (but I’ll be back, Italy– I promise!) and second– I’ve ordered from Try the World before and was incredibly impressed.
What is ‘try the world’?
If you’re not familiar with Try the World— think of them as an online international grocery store. Their most popular item– their mint ‘Signature Box,’ comes filled with seven or eight gourmet food items from a specific country. They choose the items, and send you a ‘cultural guide’ with information on how those ingredients are traditionally used, along with some simple recipe suggestions. They also offer a snack box– which is cheaper and not country specific. Their boxes come as monthly subscriptions (and the more months you pay for at once, the cheaper the boxes are), or individually with no recurring fee.* Try the World also offers an online store where you can buy the food without paying for the full box (or refill your pantry with a food item you fell in love with). I’ve tried the signature boxes, the snack boxes, and ordered from the store, and have found the quality to be fantastic.
inside the Italy box
When the box for my Try the World Review came in the mail, I squealed. (Out loud and everything– my cat was bewildered). The box was gorgeous and full of goodies. This box included two plane tickets to Florence, train tickets from Florence to Rome and Milan, and a huge stack of Euros. No wait, no– it had food. Right. Back to the food. (But if anyone wants to send me the plane tickets, I’ll squeal for that too!) The Italy box was full of Italian deliciousness– a risotto kit, hand-made egg pasta, basil pesto, truffle zest, espresso grounds, balsamic vinegar, hazelnut cream, and amaretti (almond cookies).
cooking with ‘try the world’
Once I’d dug through my box, I decided we would have an ‘Italy Night’ for dinner. We drank chianti while I cooked the egg pasta in salted water. I tossed the cooked pasta in olive oil, spinach, red pepper flakes, tomatoes, minced garlic, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. We topped the pasta with some of the truffle zest— and then I squealed again. (There’s lots of shrieking in this post– you may want to invest in earplugs if you’re a regular reader). The pasta was fantastic– it was flavorful and had texture– it was everything handmade pasta should be. The truffle zest, however, was what made me jump up and down. Guys– truffle oil is fake. It’s chemically flavored– and as far as I can tell, it’s ALL fake. As in, even the really really delicious stuff. However, I looooove it– we had some in Tuscany that I still dream about– but I just have a hard time convincing myself to buy it. Even when I’ve cracked and bought a bottle– it didn’t taste as delicious as the Tuscan oil, and I couldn’t bring myself to use it. This zest, though, actually has real truffle in it, and is the bomb. It’s really, truly, amazing, and I’ll be putting it on everything.
Technically, an Italian meal would have pasta as a course, and I should’ve cooked another course to eat next. However, I wasn’t that ambitious, and we weren’t that hungry. Instead, we moved on to dessert. I followed the recipe on the provided ‘cultural guide’ to make a Hazelnut Zabaglione with egg yolks, sugar, moscato, and the hazelnut cream. It was– wait for it– hazelicious. The next morning, we had espresso and amaretti cookies for breakfast. (If you can’t have cookies for breakfast at least once in awhile, are you really living life to the full?)
I still have the pesto, risotto, and balsamic vinegar to try– so I’m sure there’ll be another ‘Italy Night’ coming up soon. Quite honestly, I was thrilled with every single item in this box. The amaretti cookies were incredible, and as a self-proclaimed balsamic vinegar snob (is that a thing?), I was happy to see that grape must was First on the ingredient list (as it should be), and there was no food coloring in site. I definitely intend to order more coffee and truffle zest from the Try the World store. Have you ordered from Try the World? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
*A Note on Cost: I didn’t list the box prices because Try the World offers so many different subscription options and changing promotions that it would be simpler to just look at their site for more information. As for whether or not it’s worth the cost– I actually tried to price compare before ordering a box (one that I paid for– not the one they sent me for this review). I found that the items were hard to find, and that when I DID find an item, I’d have to pay for shipping. So– I don’t know if you’re paying more per item, because I couldn’t find most of the items. Also, since I don’t live near a well-stocked international grocery store (the closest is a couple hours away), Try the Word was a nice alternative.
Want more Italian inspired food? Try this: