As per usual, I got a little behind on my reviews. Partly from hubby's busy season at work but also I stared Invisalign in August. As of October, my teeth hurt pretty much all the time. Snacks that are too crunchy or chewy are impossible for me to eat so I can't try everything and I want to give as thorough a review as possible. Well, I still have 5 more months to go with Invisalign so I figured I'll do the best I can during that time and get back to detailed descriptions in the summer.
For those who don't know, Universal Yums is a monthly subscription service. For $14/$25 each month, you'll get 6+/12+ snacks from a different country. Check them out here: UNIVERSALYUMS
(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)
NOVEMBER - TURKEY
Here's a little Turkey trivia for you (answer at the end of this section): We have Turkey's diverse climate to thank for bringing about which popular spring flower? A.Easter lilies; B.Daffodils; C.Tuplis; D.Azaleas
First let's look at the stuff I haven't tried:
Today Croissant with Thyme, Basil, and Olive Oil: Interesting fact, without the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey) the croissant never would have existed. The empire planned to attack Vienna in 1683 during the middle of the night using underground tunnels. The bakers in the city could actually hear them coming, since they were already awake and at work. They warned the Austrian army who fought off the attack. No reward wanted, the bakers instead baked bread in the shapes of crescents (the symbol on the Turkish flag) to celebrate the victory. How cool is that? Though I have to say the description on this snack didn't intrigue me and it felt VERY weighty for such a small treat. If the hubs ever eats it, I'll let you know if it's any good.
Clip Sesame Stick: Basically these seem like your basic breadstick completely covered in sesame seeds (they're based on the sesame encrusted bread normally served for breakfast). Crunchy sticks of bread are just too difficult for me but I image these taste pretty good.
Torku Cocoa Helva: I'm pretty sure we've had this type of sweet from half a dozen other countries. It's dry and crumbly but melts in your mouth. This is a sesame paste based sweet. According to the info card we DID get something similar in the Israel box so I just never got around to trying this one.
Miniki Turtacik: This was my favorite treat this month. The cookie was nice and the tangerine jelly was tart and sweet. Don't think I got much flavor from the sprinkles but that's okay. Divine cookie.
Baharatli Ulker Krispi Kraker: I was worried this might be too crunch but it definitely had a texture more like a Ritz, maybe a titch firmer. The flavor was great, too. Nice and salty and the spices were wonderful (onion, parsley, garlic, thyme).
Ibon Yogurt Candy: We got the banana flavor and it was yummy! It could have been chewy but I ended up sucking on it to soften it up and then my teeth could grind it down a bit. Very tasty.
Toffix Mastic: Mastic is made from tree sap and it takes a year to extract! It's a very unique flavor but I really enjoyed it. Tasted a little like bergamot (which is an oil from the bergamot orange peel) but really it's hard to describe the flavor. Did the same thing with the Ibon - I just sucked on this until it got soft (holy hell, really, Peggy?). Another tasty treat.
Miniki Milk Cream Chocolate Bar: This reminded me of a 3 Musketeers so much but a lot sweeter. If that's even possible...Nice soft texture but way too sweet, even for me. Not my favorite.
Torku Sade Mevlana Seker: These candies are nearly identical in texture to a butter mint (if you've never had one of those, you NEED to try them). These are made from sade (bergamot oil). Bergamot is used a lot in perfumes so when I say these things taste like perfume, that's why I mean. But not the alcohol and other additives - just like a slightly sweet and bitter mixture of orange. It's really unique and they are my 2nd favorite treat from Turkey!
TRIVIA: C.Tulips. We credit the Dutch for tulips but they actually originated in Turkey. Tulip bulbs brought to Europe from Istanbul in the 1500s were so intensely popular that by 1634 they had caused "tulipmania" in Holland. Aside from tulips, Turkey is also home to approximately 9,000 other species of plants!
DECEMBER - EVERYWHERE!
To wrap up 2017, the final box for UY contains a variety of snacks from a variety of countries - BUT NO REPEATS. Fucking A, man! Still have some trivia for you! (answer at the end of this post)
TRIVIA: Latvia claims to be the home of the very first_______? A.Christmas tree; B.Christmas stocking; C.Christmas carol; D.Christmas lights
(as of typing this I haven't tried any of these treats yet - I hope that will change over the next day or so)
Garlic Straznicke Bramburky: These garlic chips are from the Czech Republic. Apparently garlic is thought to provide strength and protection and it's put under the chairs of your holiday guests. They're nice and thing chips so they're easy for me to eat. And they taste like garlic butter. Sooooo nice....
Brevas con Arequipe: Colombia includes figs as an essential part of their Christmas dinners. And this fig is stuffed with arequipe, caramelized condensed milk (kinda like dulce de leche). It's a little too sweet, even for me, so I can't say it's a favorite. At least it wasn't sticky!
Golden Flake Dill Pickle Chips: Leave it to America to turn a not-so-popular German Christmas ornament into a best seller. Woolworth's sold German ornaments since the 1880s but the fruit and veggie shapes (particularly the pickle) were not in high demand. So a salesman made up a story about German folks putting a pickle in their trees and the first person to find it would have good fortune in the coming year. How can we be so inventive and so gullable at the same time? And these do taste like straight up dill pickles. Awesome! But I can only eat a few at a time because the briny flavor does get overpowering.
Hillier's Mini Christmas Puddings: In Australia, Christmas pudding is a hold-over tradition from their UK roots. This candy has the traditional fruits, nuts, and spices used in the pudding (sans the bread) and wraps it all in chocolate. Hillier founded the first Aussie chocolate company and was known for his creative chocolate fillings, as well as injecting his candies with booze to sneak it past the local governments!
Jabri Baklava: Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated on the last day of Ramadan and is known as the 'sweet' holiday. This is where you will find baklava during the celebration. Subhi Jabri & Sons is a famous restaurant in Amman, Jordan, where you will find this brand of baklava. If you've never had this confection before, WHAT THE EVER LOVING HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?
Yugwa Candy: South Korea has been making this candy since the year 918. Dayuuum. The making of this treat is regulated by the SK government and it MUST be made by a Korean Food Grand Master. Mr. Kim Kyu-Heun is the master who made the batch for this box. He's been studying the practice of yugwa making for over 20 years. And while I respect the tradition here, the snack itself doesn't really taste like much. Kinda like rice cake air with a little chewy sugar coating.
Mince Pie Candy: This English candy is based on the original mincemeat pie popular during the 12th century, sans the meat. You will find traditional spices of the time (cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg) plus chocolate. I didn't really get the chocolate flavor off it but the spices were wonderful.
TRIVIA ANSWER: A.Christmas tree. Germany is usually given credit for the Christmas tree but the first recorded use was in 1510 in Riga, the vapial of Latvia! Maybe we should be singing, "Ak, Ziemassvetku eglites" instead of "O, Tannenbaum"?
That wraps up 2018! Hope you all stick around for my less in-depth reviews for a while and I promise I'll be back at full strength by summer (barring any horrendous complications!).