I participated in the Lean Green Bean food blog’s foodie pen pal program and what a great experience. I made two new foodie friends in Massachusetts and New Jersey, one of which was inspired to participate in a Boston food swap.
The program has been going on for over a year and over 1,000 people from around the world have participated. You can sign up here and you can participate more than once, but you need to participate every other month to give new people a chance to participate. I will definately be doing this again.
The premise is that you spend less than $15 filling your box with foodie stuff. You email your pen pal to see whether they have any allergies or food preferences, and then you send it off. Another person is matched with you and sends you a box.
On the same day, everyone blogs about their boxes of stuff. You can see all the posts at The Lean Green Bean.
Besides just asking about food preferences, I told my pen pals about me and my interests and we have had a great dialogue back and forth. I was matched with Amanda in Massachusetts and Lore in New Jersey.
I sent 2 biscotti from Blue Heron Bakery, a small amount of Batdorf and Bronson coffee, some local honey from the Olympia Farmer’s Market, some Chukar cherries from Seattle, and then homemade stuff. I sent my homemade strawberry syrup, eggplant preserves, preserved lemons, homemade chai tea mix and I think that’s it.
Here is my box from Lore of Ovensports.
I got some Emmy’s chai spice organic macaroons
Which were promptly devoured. I also got Penzeys sweet curry spice and cinnamon
Lore says she makes Mango Chutney Muffins with the curry spice. I need to try the recipe. Here is what Lore says about the curry: Any curry powder would work in them, but I find the sweet curry powder works great in baked goods, as it provides a bright flavor without any unnecessary spiciness.
Taza Mexican chocolate from Massachusetts
Which is so yummy, and after being introduced to it, I found at The Chocolate Box in Seattle.
Lastly, she sent some homemade negative chip chocolate cookies. They are really good. So good, I put them in my freezer so I could enjoy them for awhile. Speaking of which, I am going to go have one.
Here is what Lore says about the cookies:
I’m really glad you enjoyed the cookies! I borrowed the “negative chip” name from a local ice cream parlor that has a flavor with the same name, chocolate ice cream with white chocolate chips. I thought it was a really cute name as an inversion of the regular chocolate chip type of dessert (ice cream, cookie, etc!), so I found it fitting for my cookies too! If you’d like to try making these cookies, the recipe is here on my blog; just use white chocolate chips instead of mint & dark chips.
And here is what Lore says about going to her first food swap:
The food swap I went to on Sunday was great! I am so glad I had you as a penpal and hence discovered the exciting world of food swaps! I brought some mango chutney muffins and miniature loaves of banana bread with dark chocolate, and in exchange I got (among other things) homemade ricotta, mini nutella cheesecakes, preserved limes, summer squash relish, choux pastry, and pear vanilla jam!
If you’re interested in becoming a Foodie Penpal, here are some details. To sign up, visit this page! You must sign up by the 4th of the month.